COLUMBIA, S.C. — Daniel Fennell doesn’t have to look very far to find out why he played in only six games for South Carolina as a redshirt freshman.
Coming out of spring practice a year ago, Fennell was listed atop the Gamecocks’ depth chart at the Buck position. Snaps were few and far between once the season kicked off against Vanderbilt.
“Last spring was an intense spring camp and then fall camp, coach said, and I can see it myself, that I fell back with my intensity. I just need to bring it more consistently throughout the whole year,” Fennell said. “I understand that now.”
As a result, he had just a single tackle in 2016.
“I’ve learned, in football, honesty is going to come, whether you want it or not,” Fennell said. “You’ve got to embrace it. I appreciate it now, so I know what I’ve got to work on.”
Before redshirt freshman defensive end Griffin Gentry was moved to the position, the Buck spot included only one other player on the spring roster, sophomore D.J. Wonnum. The group will be joined by a host of first-year players later this spring, including 4-star recruit Brad Johnson.
“This fall, I just want to provide and do what the team needs, special teams, defense or whatever,” Fennell said. “I just want to be there for the team.”
Tempo will be an important part of the Gamecocks’ attack under second-year offensive coordinator Kurt Roper, but quarterback Jake Bentley said it’s not going to be their identity.
Not every offensive snap in 2017 will be hurry-up, no-huddle.
“I think it will be a way to change the pace of the game for us,” Bentley said. “I don’t think we’ll use it all the time, but I definitely think it’s something we can use to give defenses a different look, to really help us.”
According to the sophomore quarterback, there are pros and cons with going hurry-up, no-huddle.
“You don’t get to see as much, but then again, the defense can’t do as much when we go fast,” Bentley said. “So you’re not really getting all of the exotic blitzes or anything like that, but you get some coverages tells and you get enough information to execute the play.
“But, when we go faster, it puts stress on me, but it also puts stress on the defense.”
More on Woznick
If it wasn’t for Elliott Fry, there’s a chance that redshirt freshman Alex Woznick wouldn’t be at South Carolina, sitting in the driver’s seat for Fry’s old job.
After the two kickers got to know one another through Chris Sailer’s kicking camps, Fry recommended Woznick to South Carolina special teams coordinator Coleman Hutzler. Woznick committed to the Gamecocks during his senior year at Eastside High School (Taylors, S.C.) while he was on campus for last year’s spring game.
A year later, Woznick enters the South Carolina spring game as the Gamecocks’ starting place kicker. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s his job when the regular season opens against NC State at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C.
“It’s always open,” Woznick said. “Me, Mike (Almond) and Parker (White), it’s a competition. I don’t have it, I’ll say that. It’s open to anyone. Anyone can come in. I know a guy just committed as a preferred walk-on here. Once he gets here in the summer, it’s definitely up for grabs.”