Gray discusses DB room, wants guys to develop 'certain swagger'
Coming into spring practice, Torrian Gray knew what he was working with in South Carolina’s defensive backfield.
He understood it was, as he called it, a “green” group with only a select few having actually game experience.
And so far through five practices he’s seen a young group on the field but young players who are ready to learn.
“Every practice is a new adventure. Everything is something new those guys haven’t seen. That’s OK,” Gray said. “We have nine more practices to see ourselves and get better. Then we get the spring game. It’s exciting as long as everyone makes progression each practice which I believe we’re going to do that.”
The Gamecocks only have a handful of players who have logged meaningful snaps in their careers, headlined by RJ Roderick, Cam Smith, Jaylin Dickerson and Jaylan Foster. The only one of those four who has played snaps at cornerback is Smith.
Because of that, Gray is working on developing a certain confidence about the group and building up from there.
“We need to have a certain swagger, which we don’t have just cause we’re so green to have a swagger as a group right now. A lot of guys are still learning how to play football at this level and what it takes in meeting rooms, what it takes in individual period and what it takes in a certain technique,” he said. “We have a lot to gain from those deals. If we can finish spring ball and have a toughness about ourselves and a swagger about ourselves I’d say we accomplished something.”
What Gray does have is a host of newcomers to his room and more on the way this summer who could potentially help or add depth once the season rolls around.
Georgia Southern transfer David Spaulding and junior college corner Marcellas Dial are both on campus now for the spring with transfers Isaiah Norris and Carlins Platel and freshman La’Dareyen Craig set to enroll sometime before preseason camp.
Spaulding and Dial have been working with Gray and the defensive staff now for a few months and getting to show the coaches what they can do over the first few practices.
“You see they have length, they have size and they have potential. Each practice we get and each individual period we get is a chance for those guys to get better. This is only Spaulding’s second practice. He’s a guy who in meetings seems like he knows it pretty good,” Gray said.
“Once you get out there and start playing and things start moving there are a lot of mistakes we have to correct. He’s going to get better because it’s important to him. Marcellas Dial is the same way. He’s very green but he’s going to get better each practice because it’s important to him. I’m excited because those guys have length and those guys have ability. The game’s important to them. They’ll get better over these next nine practices.”
In reality, Gray and the rest of the defensive backfield have a long way to go before the season starts in early September and will likely improve as spring and summer continue.
A big measuring point comes this weekend for the Gamecocks as they have their first scrimmage of the spring (close to the public) where Gray will get a chance to see what his group has in game-like situations.
“Football IQ and the understanding of the game,” Gray said of what he wants to see improve. “We scrimmage for the first time on Saturday and I’d like to see us have a physical toughness about ourselves.”