Will Muschamp is back as a head coach in college football, and Saturday marks his first game as South Carolina's head coach.
Well, it's a spring game, but Muschamp plans on treating it like a real game. He's even said that he plans to play his "starters" for all four quarters.
Here are some things to keep an eye on:
1. What will the quarterbacks look like?
At the beginning of spring practice, Muschamp was trying to figure out how to rotate five quarterbacks during practice. But after spring-ending injuries to Perry Orth and Lorenzo Nunez, that number is down to three. On Saturday, Connor Mitch, Brandon McIlwain and Michael Scarnecchia will get their chance to grab some sort of edge heading into the offseason. Right now, McIlwain, a highly-touted freshman, appears to be the favorite to take the first few snaps Saturday. He might be a better fit for co-coordinator/quarterbacks coach Kurt Roper's spread offense with his running ability, but Mitch does have some experience on his side. He started two games last season before shoulder and hip injuries cost him the rest of the season. It isn't much experience, but it's more live work than McIlwain has received. Scarnecchia isn't out of the race, but a good showing Saturday could give him a big boost heading into the offseason.
2. What will the secondary and receivers look like?
As the quarterback competition inches closer to a conclusion, who knows what the guys catching the ball or trying to defend the ball will look like? There isn't much proven talent coming back at receiver. Deebo Samuel has a lot of upside with his size and athleticism, but he caught just 12 passes last season. Freshman Bryan Edwards could really be a star, but he just needs time in Roper's offense. But fans want to see him really take off in live situations, so all eyes will be on Edwards, who fans also hope creates even more chemistry with McIlwain. Matrick Belton is the only other receiver who caught more than five passes last season, and Jamari Smith moved from running back to receiver this spring and has turned some heads at times. Then, there's the secondary, which Muschamp has been tough on all spring. There is experience at cornerback with starters Chris Lammons and Rico McWilliams, but Muschamp and his staff still don't feel comfortable playing their cornerbacks in press-coverage, a staple of Muschamp's defenses. Cornerback Rashad Fenton has bounced around, playing outside and in the slot, so will he do that Saturday? Safety is even more of a concern, especially with D.J. Smith out. Defensive coordinator Travaris Robinson wants this group to be more physical. Yes, this is a spring game, but will we see some attitude from a group that is really lagging?
3. The play up front -- on both sides
Top pass-rusher Darius English is out, and defensive end Marquavius Lewis is miles away from living up to the hype that followed him to Columbia last year. Will there be a pass rush on Saturday? Well, considering that the offensive line is a major work in progress, there probably will be. But will the coaches be satisfied with what they see on tape? The Buck position lost English for the weekend, but freshman Keir Thomas has impressed at times, and Boosie Whitlow should also get work there. Also, could linebacker Bryson Allen-Williams get work at the Buck? He has played end before and has the speed the coaches would really like to use there. Keep an eye on the defensive line's rotation in general. Muschamp wants eight or 10 guys to play there during the season. As for the offensive line, two starters return -- Mason Zandi and Alan Knott -- but there has a been a lot of healthy rotation along the line. How much of that rotation will affect the continuity of play on Saturday?