The University of South Carolina football team held its sixth practice of the spring on Thursday afternoon. The team wore full pads on another gorgeous spring day in Columbia.

Offensive line coach Shawn Elliott understands that his unit should be ahead of the defense right now, as it’s the only position group that did not experience a coaching change during the offseason.

“For us as an offensive line group to go in and not really have to re-teach or re-think was very beneficial for us going into the spring,” said Elliott. “Fundamentally, we’re trying to get better individually right now,” he noted.

Elliott has an idea of who the starters are right now, but is still working several combinations. “We’re working with a first group, we certainly are,” admitted Elliott. “But I’m just trying to get some reactions out of some players that I feel like can be giving a better effort and playing a little better and getting a response out of them, and also trying to find guys that are better suited for a left tackle position than a right tackle. It’s spring practice. You throw everything out the window and throw everything in and see what comes out. So we’re working a lot of combinations.”

Elliott praised the offseason conditioning of the squad. “The offseason we had is really benefitting those guys,” he said. “Just the mindset to fight through things, fight through some adversity. Our offseason conditioning was a real, real struggle. When I say struggle, I mean mentally and physically it was as tough as nails. They had to grow up even more so than last season and last fall, and it was very beneficial for us.”

The Gamecocks will return to the practice fields on Friday afternoon and are scheduled to scrimmage in Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturday. Both of those practices are closed to the public. Next week’s practices on Tuesday, March 29, and Thursday, March 31, will be open to the public.

The annual Garnet & Black Spring game will take place in Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturday, April 9, beginning at noon. The game will be televised live on SEC Network with Bob Wischusen and Mack Brown in the booth and Shannon Spake working the sidelines.

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Allen is a die-hard football fan who has covered the NFL since 2007 and has written for numerous sites online covering football, MMA and pro wrestling. Allen is based out of Nashville and has a sales background as well as a career managing fighters in the UFC, Bellator and Strikeforce.

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