As one of the prized offensive jewels in South Carolina’s signing day class, running back Jarvis Giles is quickly adapting to life in college. But most importantly, he’s trying to help give the USC running game a much needed boost. For more details, read below.
For the first time this spring, the South Carolina football team hit the field in full pads for their third practice session leading up to the Garnet and Black Spring Game on April 11.
And for the first time since arriving in Columbia, true freshman running back Jarvis Giles realized he might not be in as good a shape as he thought he was.
“The first day with pads on we’re a little tired, a little blowed, a little winded,” Giles said. “We’ve got to get back in shape get use to the pads and stuff. Other than that I think it’s good.”
After graduating early from Gaither high school in Tampa, Fla, Giles joined his new teammates on campus and is trying to get a head start on the Gamecock playbook this spring. He admits that on day one of practice he felt lost and at times he felt like he could do no wrong. Day two, he was worried about looking foolish and not making the plays despite his in-depth studies of the playbook. But for one of the nation’s top multi-purpose high school running backs, a lot of his miscues are related to the transition from the high school game to a major D-I program.
“It’s a lot more tempo. The main thing I noticed was the tempo,” Giles said. “Everything, the speed of the whole practice, the game everything. Everything is up beat. That’s like a big transition for me is the tempo.”
While his friends and teammates were out and about over the 12 day spring break layoff, Giles said he was in Columbia reviewing the playbook, studying film, lifting weights and delving into the offensive system with running backs coach Jay Graham.
His hope is that all the extra time and effort will help him rise on the USC running back depth chart. Now that seniors Mike Davis and Bobby Wallace have graduated, the only two players left with any game experience are Eric Baker and Brian Maddox.
But for an offense that averaged less than 95 yards rushing per game last fall, no position is safe in spring practice and it’s that situation that Giles said made him want to come to South Carolina.
“That’s how I like it. Everybody’s competing for the same job,” Giles said. “Coach Graham’s already told us, we’ve got four running backs right now who are going to compete for this whole week and after that they’re going to cut down, cut a running back and pretty much get the ball into the three running backs that want to get ready for the spring.”
Though competition is name of the game on the field, Giles says that the family environment off the field was also the other big draw when he decided to become a Gamecock. When he arrived in Columbia, his new teammates eagerly stretched out a helping hand offering anything from advice on food to helping him study the playbook.
In his dorm room, roommates Devonte Holloman, Stephon Gilmore and Eric Baker are all friends but are still willing to throw around some offense-defense trash talk every now and again just to keep things lively.
Although the talk is friendly, Giles already knows that the key to turning South Carolina into an SEC Championship is attitudes that focus on improvement and foster that friendly competition.
“I think everybody’s adjusted well. I think we’ve just got to bust our butt a little more,” Giles said. “They looking good out there, but I think everybody’s just got to take it up just a little bit now, turn it up just a little bit more every day.”
While he fights for a high spot on the depth chart, Giles believes that the best decision he made was coming to campus ahead of a normal football player’s schedule. His hope is that extra time put in will help him become a player ready to help the Gamecocks quicker.
“Truthfully, I think that’s the best idea I came up with,” Giles said “I’ve been here, learning the plays right now. I’m going to look a lot better when it comes to the summer so I think that’s a good job for me.”