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March 6, 2014

Quick practice recap

South Carolina's football team held its first spring practice Thursday afternoon. The practice was held indoors because of rain, but Gamecock Central caught up with a few coaches at Williams-Brice Stadium after it ended.

The highlights:

Despite the departures of Victor Hampton, Jimmy Legree, Ahmad Christian and Ronnie Martin, defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward said he thinks he will have enough manpower at the cornerback position to make it through spring practice.

Rico McWilliams, Jamari Smith and Sidney Rhodes are the only scholarship cornerbacks available, as redshirt freshman Ali Groves will miss the spring after undergoing labrum surgery. Senior safety Brison Williams is expected to shift over at times during the spring to fill gaps at the position.

Ward also said linebackers Marcquis Roberts and Jonathan Walton will each train at the Will and Mike positions this spring. Roberts split time with Skai Moore at the Will position last fall, while Walton primarily played on special teams.

Defensive line coach Deke Adams says he anticipates working some with a 3-4 defensive front this season. Adams said South Carolina will still primarily have a 4-2-5 defense, but that a 3-4 front might make more sense at times this season given the Gamecocks' strengths.

Wide receivers coach Steve Spurrier Jr. said Thursday's practice was mostly meant to shake off any rust that had accumulated over the offseason, but that the quarterbacks and wide receivers spent some quality time running through routes during and after practice.

Spurrier Jr. says he expects Nick Jones and Pharoh Cooper to recognize the opportunity they have to step up with Bruce Ellington gone this season.

Spurrier Jr. said Damiere Byrd's recovery from meniscus surgery is going well. He said he expects Byrd, as well as junior wide receiver Shaq Roland, to have a big season this fall.

INJURY REPORT: No injuries were reported Thursday.

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