<
>

South Carolina Gamecocks position battles

South Carolina is revamping its defense under new co-coordinator Jon Hoke, but two of the team's top three position battles come on the offensive side of the ball.

Quarterback: And then there were three. Or at least that's what Steve Spurrier hinted at after Saturday's scrimmage. Spurrier praised freshman Lorenzo Nunez and said he will play, but as for running the offense? “He's not ready for all that,” Spurrier said. Take that for what you will, but it sounds like Nunez isn't ready to be the starter just yet. However, none of the other three competitors -- Connor Mitch, Perry Orth and Michael Scarnecchia -- played particularly well either on Saturday. Mitch looked the best in the spring game and seemed to have a leg up on the competition heading into the fall, but he's yet to be named the starter. At this point, it's still a three-man race with Nunez expected to still contribute and provide a different look.

Running back: This is a good problem to have. The fact is that both Brandon Wilds and David Williams are capable of starting and being a feature back in the SEC. Now it's up to the coaches to decide which one gets the first crack, though both should see plenty of carries this season. Wilds got more reps last year as the primary backup to Mike Davis and finished with 570 yards and four touchdowns. The senior has patiently waited his turn. But after sitting out his first year, Williams emerged last season despite not seeing as many carries. Even Shon Carson, the third back on the depth chart, drew praise from Spurrier after Saturday's scrimmage. It will likely come down to either Wilds or Williams, with the coaches riding the hot hand.

Defensive line: The first depth chart released by South Carolina this offseason featured Gerald Dixon, Phillip Dukes, Gerald Dixon Jr. and junior college transfer Marquavius Lewis. Dixon Jr. and Lewis started the scrimmage Saturday but were joined up front by fellow juco transfer Dante Sawyer and Cedrick Cooper. Note that Dixon was injured and unavailable. You throw in Darius English, Ulric Jones and Taylor Stallworth, and there's a surplus of linemen on this defense. Again, after the struggles up front last year, that's not a bad problem to have. The likely scenario will be a rotation up front that will keep everybody fresh. But when the game is on the line, which players will be on the field? That's what they are all battling for in fall camp.