Scrimmage report: Mike Davis stands out for USC offense

Jadeveon Clowney sits with minor injury

jkendall@thestate.comApril 6, 2013 

Sophomore running back Mike Davis had the best day among offensive players during Saturday’s scrimmage at Williams-Brice Stadium. Davis had four carries for 54 yards, including a 25-yard run during which he hurdled one of his defensive teammates.

“He was the best running back today,” Steve Spurrier said. “Brandon Wilds has run very well this spring also, but today Mike Davis was exceptional on some runs. He was quick and hitting the holes and following his blocking.”

Davis and Wilds will share carries this fall as the Gamecocks' top two running backs, Spurrier said. Davis, 5-foot-9, 215 pounds, had 275 yards on 52 carries last year. Wilds, 6-2, 218 pounds, had 486 yards on 107 carries in 2011 before missing the 2012 season due to an ankle injury.

“They are both going to play. I see both of them going in and out, in and out,” Spurrier said.

Sidelined star

Junior defensive end Jadeveon Clowney sat out the scrimmage due to a neck injury suffered in Friday’s practice. Clowney and fellow defensive linemen J.T. Surratt ran into each other on what defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward called “a freak” play and both were hurt. Surratt injured his back and also missed Saturday’s practice.

Clowney might return to practice next week, but Ward spoke Saturday as if he would hold out his All-American just to be safe.

“We will evaluate him. We feel like we know what J.D. can do so if he’s back next week, we’ll be happy. If not, we will keep getting those young guys some reps,” Ward said.

Putting it on the ground

Sophomore wide receiver Shaq Roland dropped at least four passes during the scrimmage, but Spurrier called the performance an aberration and said he is not concerned about Roland’s hands.

“He has caught most of them all spring. He just couldn’t quite find the handle today,” Spurrier said.

Defensive back Victor Hampton chided Roland more than once for his inability to hang onto the ball.

"When we drop passes, it's not just coaches getting on us,” redshirt freshman Kwinton Smith said. “The players get on you. You heard Vic getting on some people today for dropping passes. They want to see us succeed because they know it will help the team out."

Still on the sideline

Defensive back Ronnie Martin enrolled at South Carolina in January in hopes of getting ahead of the game by participating in spring practice. Instead, Martin has mostly watched his new Gamecock teammates since suffering a hamstring injury early in spring practice.

Martin – who “probably” won’t be able to return to the field next week, according to Ward – missed most of the 2012 season at Georgia Military College after an injury to his other hamstring.

“You can’t ever fault a kid for getting injured because it’s not his fault, but he obviously has something going on with his hamstring,” Ward said.

Ball security

Freshman quarterback Connor Mitch is not securing shotgun snaps as well as his coaches would like.

“We have to teach Connor Mitch you have to catch with two hands,” Spurrier said. “Just like in basketball, you have to catch with both hands. He tries to catch that snap with one hand, and he drops it about every time.”

Spurrier is expecting redshirt freshman Brendan Nosovitch to win the team’s third-string job behind Connor Shaw and Dylan Thompson in the fall.

“We know we’ve got two that can play,” Spurrier said. “We don’t know about the others yet. Connor Mitch should not be ready right now. He’s just a high school kid. He’s got plenty of time to get ready. Brendan Nosovitch, hopefully he’ll come around a little bit better next week and have a good summer and be ready to be the third guy.”

Scrimmage recap

DID NOT PARTICIPATE: Jadeveon Clowney (neck), Connor Shaw (foot), J.T. Surratt (ribs), K.J. Brent (shoulder), Cody Gibson (knee), Ronnie Martin (hamstring), Mike Matulis (shoulder), T.J. Gurley (knee), Rico McWilliams (knee), Cedrick Cooper (knee) and Kane Whitehurst (shoulder).

SCORING PLAYS:

... Landon Ard 45-yard field goal

... Brandon Wilds 9-yard run (Ard kick)

... Kwinton Smith 23-yard pass from Perry Orth (Nick St. Germain kick)

PASSING: Perry Orth 5-6-1-60, 1 TD; Connor Mitch 3-5-0-38; Brendan Nosovitch 1-5-0-12; Dylan Thompson 1-4-0-5. TOTALS: 10-20-1-115, 1 TD.

RUSHING: Mike Davis 4-54; Perry Orth 1-25; Brandon Wilds 4-20, 1 TD; Kendric Salley 4-5; Dylan Thompson 1-5; Devin Potter 2-2; Brendan Nosovitch 3-(-1); Connor Mitch 2-(-4). TOTALS: 21-106, 1 TD.

RECEIVING: Carlton Heard 2-15; Devin Potter 2-7; Shamier Jeffery 1-28; Kwinton Smith 1-25, 1 TD; David Wilkins 1-20; Kendric Salley 1-12; Ty Sutherland 1-5; Brandon Wilds 1-5. TOTALS: 10-115, 1 TD.

Steve Spurrier

Scrimmage sights, sounds

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