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When South Carolina finished Thursday's practice, it marked a week since the Gamecocks began training camp.

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Here's what we learned from the first week:

AJ Turner's role

With the official addition of Tavien Feaster last week, the Gamecocks' plan for do-it-all AJ Turner is somewhat more defined now.

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The former three-star running back is taking the majority of his snaps at defensive back to start fall camp and it looks like he'll spend the bulk of his time there this season with a senior-laden running backs room compared to a relatively thin secondary.

Head coach Will Muschamp said they'll have a role for Turner on offense, although that's still being fleshed out, and Turner will be a key piece on every special teams unit.

Defensive line depth

It's never good when a player goes down for potentially the season like Devontae Davis, who's dealing with a foot sprain, did this week, but Muschamp's response was interesting.

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Yes, he's not happy about losing a player for the next three months, but he mentioned they might decide to redshirt him anyway because the Gamecocks are that happy with their defensive line depth.

Entering the year, they have four players — three seniors in Keir Thomas, Kobe Smith and Javon Kinlaw and sophomore Rick Sandidge — who have played key snaps over their careers mixed with guys like Jabari Ellis, Zacch Pickens and Joe Anderson, all of whom can have impact.

Muschamp was very clear through the first week of practice that this is the deepest team he's had, and it's shown through.

Lot of cleaning up to do

Coming into training camp, there were two key areas offensively Muschamp wanted fixed -- turnovers and red zone inefficiencies -- and so far the Gamecocks aren't taking care of the ball.

Muschamp lamented that fact in his Tuesday media availability, mentioning the backup quarterbacks Ryan Hilinski and Dakereon Joyner are holding onto the ball too long.

That'll continue to be a big focal point as camp moves into week two, along with red zone work, which the Gamecocks began installing during Thursday's morning practice.

Pickens and freshmen

Fall camp is always the time when freshmen define their roles for the season, and this year is no different.

Five-star defensive lineman Zacch Pickens is already getting rave reviews with offensive lineman Eric Douglas calling him an "animal." Offensive lineman Jaylen Nichols is also looking like a good backup at this point while running backs coach Thomas Brown talked some about how close Kevin Harris is to mastering the playbook.

Muschamp has talked about every freshman corner — Cam Smith, Shilo Sanders, Jammie Robinson and Johnny Dixon. All are physically capable of playing in the SEC, but now it's about retaining information and learning the scheme.

There's still a lot of time left before the season opener, 17 practices after Thursday, but the Gamecocks already have a few young guys who could be in their position's rotation come Aug. 31.

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Collyn Taylor reports for www.GamecockCentral.com, a www.Rivals.com affiliate devoted to USC athletics.


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