All-America defensive end Jadeveon Clowney put on a show and quarterback Connor Shaw made it back on the field as South Carolina opened football practice Friday night.
With expectations higher than ever, the Gamecocks were loose as they started drills. Several hundred people turned out, cheering loudly when Clowney stepped on the field yelling and jumping around. They cheered again when he flipped over a blocking sled.
The Gamecocks have been picked to win the Southeastern Conference Eastern Division and are coming off a pair of 11-2 seasons. Along with Clowney, they return Shaw, who started for most of the season, and quarterback Dylan Thompson, who helped out when Shaw was injured and impressed coach Steve Spurrier enough to be promised a significant number of snaps this season. They return four offensive linemen, too.
Spurrier was a pretty happy guy talking in July before practice began. But he was a little more pragmatic after the opening practice.
''Practice was just so-so....