COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina special teams coordinator Coleman Hutzler continues to drive home the same message to the players vying for kickoff and punt return jobs.
Take care of the football.
“We’ve got some guys, from old to young, that really have a chance to be explosive players for us, and so we’ve been harping on those guys about making good decisions, being great communicators,” Hutzler said, “But, also, at the end of the play, we want to have the ball.”
On the eve of the Gamecocks first preseason camp scrimmage, no decisions have been made on the returners. Wide receivers coach Bryan McClendon hopes Saturday’s scrimmage in Williams-Brice Stadium will help the staff wade through the pool of candidates.
“Just putting those guys in those situations to where they’ve got a live coverage team coming down on them and seeing how guys are going to react that way,” McClendon said, “Because it is a little different than catching one off the jugs than catching one off the foot when you’ve got somebody barreling down on you.”
Coach Will Muschamp identified the players competing to field kicks and punts.
“Rashad (Fenton) and A.J. (Turner), Jamari Smith is a young man that’s done a nice job. Chris Lammons fields the ball extremely well. Deebo Samuel has done some nice things for us,” Muschamp said. “Randrecous Davis and Korey Banks are two young players we’re excited about.”
Most of the kicking jobs have already been decided. Elliott Fry will continue to handle field goals and extra-points and Sean Kelly is still the punter.
Kickoffs are up for grabs. At the start of camp, Muschamp told reporters he wanted redshirt freshman Joseph Charlton to win the job.
“He’s done some good things. He’s working on his consistency and he’s done well. He’s healthy, which is great,” Hutzler said. “But we haven’t set the depth chart in any way.”
Elliott is also in the mix, along with freshmen Michael Almond and Alexander Woznick.
“They’re all kind of getting reps and competing and we’re charting those things, each day looking at that and keeping track of it,” Hutzler said. “There’s plenty of names in the pot.”