South Carolina football: 5 biggest takeaways from the Garnet and Black Game
All eyes were on Spencer Rattler, but South Carolina showed several flashes of talent, including a MarShawn Lloyd spin move, as the crowd of 20,671 had plenty to enjoy on Saturday night.
At a time when the Gamecocks handed out their player awards for the spring, Rattler received the Offensive Player of the Spring, and the Defensive Player of the Spring was split between Cam Smith and Zacch Pickens. Mo Kaba took home the Special Teams Player of the Spring, and received the Most Improved Award on defense.
A nice bonus was the emergence of sixth-year LB Sherrod Greene, who was injured early last season, but who led the team with 3 solo tackles in the first quarter. However, the main defensive highlight was walk-on Joseph Burns making 2 interceptions in the game.
Here are 5 biggest takeaways from the spring game:
Some of the biggest questions for the Gamecocks coming into the spring game was how Rattler would run the offense from a rhythm and continuity standpoint. By all indications, it’s been about a smooth a transition as any Gamecock faithful could want. Rattler also appears to have some chemistry with FCS transfer Antwane “Juice” Wells, and added a highlight-reel throw near the end of the first half. Rattler hit a deep out, as he backpedaled under pressure and delivered the ball right where it needed to be. Rattler also showed off his arm talent with an early play-action pass to Xavier Leggette that went for 30 yards. In the first half alone, Rattler was 8-for-11 for 83 yards.
Rattler also showed off some leadership in the second half as he cheered on the backups and walk-ons down the stretch as the Gamecocks look to bolster some chemistry in Beamer’s second season.
A year ago in the Garnet and Black game, it was ZaQuandre White who was a breath of fresh air out of the backfield, and this year it was Christian Beal-Smith, commonly called CBS. Beal-Smith opened the game next to Rattler in the starting lineup. He had 5 carries for 18 yards and a touchdown in the first half. The Wake Forest transfer has plenty of experience, and could easily contribute to the backfield after he appeared in 43 games over the past 4 seasons, including 22 starts. He led the Demon Deacons in rushing each of the past two seasons, and has 1,871 career rushing yards with 14 touchdowns.
Beal-Smith with the touchdown!
— Vizor Sports (@VizorSportsSC) April 17, 2022
Exciting wide receivers
Josh Vann is a known commodity for the Gamecocks, but the spring game offered a reminder that the Gamecocks have plenty of exciting options on the outside, including Wells, Corey Rucker and Dakereon Joyner. One of the bonus pass catchers was Chad Terrell, who has dealt with multiple knee injuries in his career, but made a touchdown catch on a nifty crossing route, and had 50 yards on his first 3 catches. Beamer noted on the SEC Network+ stream that Terrell took a move from wide receiver to tight end in stride. Then late in the scrimmage, Payton Mangrum caught a beautiful pass from walk-on QB Jake Helfrich, who wore No. 28.
Colten Gauthier and Braden Davis looked very much like inexperienced quarterbacks between an interception and multiple penalties. Davis flashed with a touchdown drive for the Garnet team when he found TE Traevon Kenion in the end zone for a touchdown. The Black team and Gauthier had a last-minute scenario with 48 seconds from his own 35-yard line. Gauthier, who is known for his arm strength, went for too much and was burned with an interception by walk-on Joseph Burns, who made his second interception of the night with 8 seconds remaining.
Beamer showed plenty of energy down the stretch as the game came down to a one-score situation, and he told Ryan McGee on the SEC Network+ stream that the Gamecocks would go for 2 if the Black team tied it. Beamer tried to send the message that the same energy on the field at the end of the game is what has fueled the Gamecocks to develop the momentum they have coming off a bowl win and 7-win season.