COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Will Muschamp had a welcome start to South Carolina’s first scrimmage of summer drills — a three-and-out by his defense. For Muschamp, there were few better indicators that the challenge he’s laid down for his defenders since last season ended had been taken up by the Gamecocks.
“I do think that those guys have responded to our challenge to improve,” Muschamp said a short time after his team concluded a 140-snap scrimmage on a sticky, hot summer Saturday.
Muschamp has been seeking a better showing from his pass rushers and linebackers in year two than in his first South Carolina season, where the team ended next to last in stopping the run. It was only a couple of weeks ago before camp began that Muschamp was exhorting uncommitted high school players who could rush the passer to take a look at the Gamecocks.
But Muschamp said they’ve used speedy linebacker Bryson Allen-Williams, a fast, 230-pound senior, at defensive end at times to pump up the pass rush. Experienced linemen like Dante Sawyer and Taylor Stallworth, both seniors, have combined with sophomore D.J. Wonnum to make an impression on Muschamp two weeks into camp.
Defensive line coach Lance Thompson said Stallworth and Sawyer have stepped up their games and made an impact in practices. Stallworth, Thompson said, is a 6-foot-2, 305-pounder who’s got strength and speed to show out in the Southeastern Conference.
“We’re a year into the program. They understand the expectations, they understand the way we want to do things, we’ve just got to continue to develop everybody and get better every day,” Thompson said.