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South Carolina Gamecocks quarterback Spencer Rattler passes the baton to South Carolina Gamecocks Juju McDowell (21) during the 2022 South Carolina Spring Game at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, SC, on April 16, 2022.

Photo by Jeff Blake

South Carolina ended the spring ball in style on Saturday.

Team Garnet outlasted Team Black 20-13 in the annual Spring Football game, held at night for the first time in recent memory.

And while there have been a handful of standouts in the fray, there are still questions to be answered as head coach Shane Beamer and his team head into the offseason.

Here is an overview of what remains to be fixed:

Who will be the Gamecocks’ RB1?

If anything, it’s a good problem to have.

The seven running backs from South Carolina who received a run Saturday night totaled 195 yards on 38 carries – good for an average of 5.13 yards per touch.

Returning players Juju McDowell (six carries, 57 yards) and MarShawn Lloyd (eight carries, 42 yards) led the pack and should stay in the running game as the fall nears.

Wake Forest transfer Christian Beal-Smith’s production (five carries, 18 yards and a touchdown) wasn’t quite as explosive, but he should still take that into account.

Lloyd took a closer look at the part of the dominant fullback who torched high school defenses en route to becoming one of the nation’s most wanted recruits in the Class of 2020. Lloyd also offered the speed and ability to breakaway that made him so dangerous as a change of pace option last season.

Offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield said he would like to come back with a lead this year after splitting the runs between Kevin Harris, ZaQuandre White, Lloyd and McDowell in 2021. Lloyd should still be the clubhouse leader, but that group should stay in the air until fall camp.

USC still has work to do in pass protection

South Carolina’s offensive line was certainly better on Saturday night’s affair, albeit in a controlled setting.

The Gamecocks were down to just the 195 yards their running backs accounted for in the two-time spring game against FBS competition last year. It was a spring game win.

The biggest problems – if you can even call it that – came in pass protection. Again, it’s a scrum, so there’s little to take away from the overall performance. However, starting quarterback Spencer Rattler had to pass under duress on a handful of his 10 shots from behind the starting offensive line.

Rattler was sacked four times during the day, while Colten Gauthier and Luke Doty were each sacked once. Not all of them fall on the lines, nor did the 31 sacks the Gamecocks surrendered in 13 games last season. But South Carolina is going to have to find a way to keep Rattler on its feet in 2022 to let the offense register on the field.

Who will replace Parker White at the kicker?

Like blocking the ball carrier, it’s a competition that has yet to be settled.

Parker White, who was honored on the court in Saturday’s game, left South Carolina as the school’s all-time leader. It will fall to Alex Herrera and Mitch Jeter to replace him.

Jeter has handled kickoff duties for the better part of the past two seasons and showed off his leg strength with a 47-yard kick on Saturday. He and Herrera – who himself drilled a 40-yarder – both finished the night 2 for 2 on field goals.

Gamecocks don’t need Jeter or Hererra to be white. They just need whoever wins the contest to be accurate. Expect this positional battle to continue into fall camp and, potentially, beyond if things get hairy during the regular season.

Ben Portnoy is the football beat writer for the in-state South Carolina Gamecocks. He is a five-time winner of the Associated Press Sports Editors Award and has been recognized by the Mississippi Press Association and the National Sports Media Association. Portnoy previously covered Mississippi State for the Columbus Commercial Dispatch and Indiana football for the Journal Gazette in Ft. Wayne, Indiana.