COLUMBIA, S.C. — On Thursday morning, the South Carolina football team hit the field for their final practice before spring break.
The intensity level ratcheted up another level in the last period that reporters were permitted to watch when the bags were dropped for the Oklahoma drill.
For those unfamiliar with the drill, it pits one offensive lineman against one defensive lineman in a confined space, which is about five yards wide. The objective for the offensive lineman: make room for the ball-carrier. The objective for the defensive lineman: don’t let the ball-carrier score.
Dante Sawyer vs. Malik Young pic.twitter.com/mI44axWW7w
— Hale McGranahan (@Hale_SECcountry) March 2, 2017
Right guard Zack Bailey was among the most vocal players in the drill, challenging guard D.J. Park after he lost a rep to defensive tackle Taylor Stallworth.
Backup left tackle Sadarius Hutcherson had a strong battle with defensive end Shameik Blackshear, but Hutcherson held on — literally — a little too long at the end of the rep
The first-team field goal battery is the same as it was earlier this week: Alex Woznick (kicker), Danny Gordon (holder) and Harrison Freeman (long snapper).
Woznick knocked down several kicks, including one from 47 yards. It was a windy morning and Mother Nature got the best of his final two attempts.
The first-team defense during the “speed ball” period is the same: D.J. Wonnum, Taylor Stallworth, Ulric Jones and Dante Sawyer on the line, Bryson Allen-Williams and T.J. Brunson at linebacker, D.J. Smith and Steven Montac at safety with Rashad Fenton and Jamarcus King at cornerback and Chris Lammons as the nickel.
Rico Dowdle and Ty’Son Williams remained with the first-team at running back. The offensive line, from left to right: Malik Young, Park, Alan Knott, Cory Helms and Bailey.
Several recruits were on hand for the morning workout, including 2018 offensive tackle Ollie Lane, the No. 30 overall guard in the country.
As Lane walked into practice, he was greeted by offensive line coach Eric Wolford and running backs coach Bobby Bentley, the primary recruiter for Gibbs High School in Corryton, Tenn. Along with South Carolina, Tennessee, Duke and Georgia Tech have offered.
Four-star quarterback Dakereon Joyner (North Charleston, S.C.) also made it in for practice. TheBigSpur’s John Whittle spotted him.
A few high school coaches were also spotted, including York (S.C.) Comprehensive High School’s Bobby Carroll and Westside (Anderson, S.C.) High School’s Scott Earley.
Ben Lippen (Columbia, S.C.) High School coach Derek White stopped through with his 2018 quarterback, Trad Beatty.