Will Muschamp and Thomas Brown haven’t been shy about saying they want more consistency from their backfield this season, and it seems like right now they’re getting what they asked for at the expense of the passing game.
The Gamecocks held their first scrimmage of preseason camp Monday afternoon at Williams-Brice Stadium and afterward Muschamp said the run game is ahead of the passing attack right now 10 practices into camp.
“We need to throw the ball better,” Muschamp said. “I thought we ran the ball pretty successfully in camp but we’re not as consistent in the throwing game whether that from a protection standpoint or throwing and catching it. we had a couple explosive plays: Jake (Bentley) hit Shi (Smith) on a big touchdown and then hit Mon (Denson) in a one-minute situation to put us in field goal range to win. That was positive, but we need to be more consistent throwing the football.”
No stats from Monday’s scrimmage were made available but Muschamp said he saw good things from two senior leaders on the team.
Denson helped set up a game-winning field goal after an explosive play and the coaching staff is seeing a good Rico Dowdle on the ground through the start of camp, tapping into some of the potential he’s shown through his first three seasons in Columbia.
“I think Rico and Mon did some nice things,” Muschamp said. “I think both of those guys had a good camp. Rico’s been in the best shape he’s been in, and I like what I saw from those guys running the ball.”
One running back who was noticeably absent and unable to participate in the team’s scrimmage was graduate transfer Tavien Feaster, who is still waiting to be cleared for full contact.
Players have to go through a five-day of acclimation period before being able to go full pads and do contact drills, something Feaster hasn’t reached yet.
He arrived and has gone through a few days of helmets and shorts and shells—helmet and shoulder pads—but an infected tooth that needed to get pulled delayed him being able to put pads on and go full bore.
“The first two days you had to go in helmet and then the tooth issue popped up on us so he’s not been in contact yet,” Muschamp said.
That will come in Wednesday’s practice, after the Gamecocks’ scheduled off day Tuesday, and the coaches are excited to see what Feaster can add to the room once fully cleared.
He’ll be inserted immediately into the team’s competition for their top two backs along with a handful of other players that include Dowdle and Denson along with Kevin Harris and Deshaun Fenwick.
While he hasn’t been able to fully participate in contact drills, Feaster’s been impressing his coaches with his ability to grasp concepts and the offense quickly.
“I’ve been very pleased with him. He’s extremely intelligent. He’s done a really nice job coming in and the guys really bought into him as far as moving forward. There’s been nothing but positives and I look forward to seeing him in some contact situations.”