Practice report: Spurrier keeps close watch on backup QBs

Damiere Byrd returns to practice in limited role

jkendall@thestate.comMarch 27, 2014 

South Carolina’s backup quarterback depth chart is constantly in flux, and this week has not been a good one for sophomore Brendan Nosovitch and freshman Connor Mitch.

Mitch and walk-on Perry Orth are South Carolina’s co-Nos. 2 quarterbacks, head coach Steve Spurrier said after Thursday’s practice. Nosovitch, a former PARADE All-American, is losing ground.

“Brendan struggles throwing the ball some, but he’s an excellent runner,” Spurrier said. “Don’t tell anybody, but he might be our running quarterback.”

Mitch, a former four-star prospect who redshirted last year, hadn’t fared much better until Thursday’s practice.

“Connor Mitch did a lot better than he has done today,” Spurrier said. “He got the ball out of his hands. Maybe he is coming around. He’s young. He’s been here a year though, so he should be coming around a little quicker.”

Orth, a 6-foot-1, 212-pound sophomore from Ponte Vedra, Fla., is going through his second spring practice with the Gamecocks.

“Perry throws a spiral. There are not a lot of spirals out here,” Spurrier said. “He’s doing pretty well for a walk-on kid.”

Practice report

The Gamecocks held their seventh practice of the spring Thursday. They plan to return to practice fields Friday afternoon and then hold a 10 a.m. scrimmage at Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturday.

Senior wide receiver Damiere Byrd returned to the practice field for the first time this spring albeit in a limited capacity. Byrd, who suffered a knee injury in December, wore a yellow, no-contact drill and ran a few pass routes. He tried to join the team in one-on-one drills, but the coaches pulled him out to avoid the risk of re-injury, Spurrier said.

Wide receivers Jody Fuller (knee) and Kane Whitehurst (foot) and defensive end Devin Washington (hand) sat out the practice.

Mr. Sunshine

Junior Cedrick Cooper is learning a lot of things in his move from linebacker to defensive end, not the least of which is how to handle defensive line coach Deke Adams’ style.

“He’s not really a positive guy that much like (linebackers coach Kirk) Botkin,” Cooper said. “He’s not that much of a happy guy so that’s something I have to get used to.”

Big man

Six-foot-eight junior walk-on Matthew Harvey has gotten plenty of work at wide receiver this spring. Whether that will carry over to the fall is yet to be seen.

“He’s a big target as you know,” Spurrier said. “He’s done fine. A lot of them are doing fine.”

Fellow walk-on wide receiver Carlton Heard also has seen a lot of work.

“He must have run 25 deep routes today,” Spurrier said. “He can run all day, and I think he caught a few of them.”

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