New summer rule comes just in time for Gamecocks’ coaches

Brown happy coaches can work with players in June and July

jkendall@thestate.comApril 3, 2014 

When Grady Brown heard about a new NCAA rule that will let college football coaches work with their players in the summer, he thought, “God is good.”

Brown, South Carolina’s secondary coach, needs all the coaching time he can get to prepare for a 2014 season in which he will have two new starting cornerbacks and likely will have at least one freshman starting in his defensive backfield. He plans to take advantage of all eight hours college football teams are now allowed to require their players to work per week in the summer.

He shouldn’t expect to see his boss during that time, though.

“I’m not going to be around that much, that’s for sure,” Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier said.

Spurrier even joked the new rule excluded head coaches, which it does not.

“That’s what I heard,” he said with a laugh. “I am not going to be accused of outworking some of those coaches.”

Summer used to be the sole domain of strength coaches as on-field football coaches were not allowed to have in-person coaching contact or even evaluation until fall camp began. In fact, workouts were not allowed to be called mandatory although they had become virtually that at most major college programs.

Now, teams can have eight hours per week during summer school that can be supervised by a coach. Two of those hours can be used for film review, and that couldn’t come at a better time for Brown, who will welcome five cornerbacks – Wesley Green, Al Harris Jr., Chris Lammons, Darin Smalls and D.J. Smith – during summer school and needs at least one of them to be ready to play by the end of August.

Brown is in close contact with all his incoming recruits this spring, but the conversations don’t center around playbooks just yet, he said.

“Right now, the guys that we have signed, we are just talking to them about making sure they finish well academically so they are eligible and, secondly, doing your running, doing something from the standpoint of maintaining your speed,” Brown said.

As for the quarterback, Spurrier’s area of expertise, he always has relied on his veteran quarterbacks to take charge of the summer teaching, and he will stick with that plan for senior Dylan Thompson this year.

“That’s what we have always tried to do, get the older quarterback to meet with these guys and show them how we try to do things,” Spurrier said. “That’s the best way to do that, I think.”

Thompson is prepared for that role, he said.

“I was trying to talk to coach Spurrier about letting me hang out with him wherever he is going, but, yeah, I am prepared,” he joked. “Coach expects that. It’s always been the old guys go out and do the drills and the young guys follow through. It’s the way it’s been since I have been here and it’s been pretty successful.”

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