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Odds and ends with South Carolina

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

A couple of thoughts on South Carolina as the Gamecocks bear down on the midway point of their spring:

  • It's just the spring and there's still a long ways to go, but the South Carolina staff is pleased with the way sophomore quarterback Stephen Garcia has thrown the ball. In particular, he's managing the offense better and just looks more comfortable. New quarterbacks coach G.A. Mangus has obviously been a good influence on him. Garcia knows it's his show, and he's playing that way.

  • Don't be surprised if the Gamecocks have a true freshman starter at cornerback next season. Stephon Gilmore has been that impressive to this point. He plays with great awareness and toughness. He's exactly what the Gamecocks thought he was when they signed him out of Rock Hill, S.C. His former high school teammate and fellow true freshman, DeVonte Holloman, is getting plenty of work at the strong safety position. Right now, senior Darian Stewart is the starter there. But there's a chance that Stewart would move back to the hybrid "spur" safety position if sophomore Alonzo Winfield doesn't solidify that spot. If that happens, Hollomon could be the starter at strong safety.

  • The wild card in the Gamecocks' secondary remains sophomore cornerback C.C. Whitlock. He's one of best all-around athletes on the team, but his focus simply hasn't been what it needs to be. He missed Tuesday's practice after failing to show up for several things, including class and a morning punishment run. Whitlock had shown some signs of progress, but he's running out of chances.

  • Some of the best competition this spring and in the fall will be at the running back position. Junior Brian Maddox, sophomore Eric Baker and redshirt freshman Kenny Miles are trying to hold off true freshman Jarvis Giles, who's shown the kind of burst this spring the Gamecocks lacked last season at running back. Giles needs to get stronger and tougher, though. He was hit hard by a defensive lineman in Tuesday's practice and fumbled.

  • It sounds like the door is open for defensive tackle Ladi Ajiboye to return to the team if he does everything that's been required of him. Ajiboye was indefinitely suspended last week. He was arrested in February and charged with marijuana possession after narcotics investigators said they observed him taking part in a drug deal.