SPARTANBURG, S.C. — Wednesday marked the hottest practice of camp so far, and the tempers flared as you might expect.
But if anything was clear after the third straight day of practice in pads, it's that the Panthers' defense appears to be ahead of their offensive counterparts.
Wednesday's practice saw a number of turnovers, lots of balls on the ground. From Frankie Luvu punching one out, to Chris Westry scooping up a fumble and taking it to the end zone.
Panthers head coach Matt Rhule has emphasized creating turnovers all camp, and they've been recording them in the team meeting room so everyone can see it, taking a page from former General Electric CEO Jack Welch.
"Yeah, I think they want to get the board," Rhule said. "Jack Welch said what gets measured and rewarded gets done. So we try to measure it, we try to reward it in some small ways. Guys want to get on that board."
Of course, Rhule's also coaching the whole team, and not just the defense, so there's a fine line for him.
"As much as anything else, it's a fine line for me, I'm really upset we're putting the ball on the ground, really excited we're punching it out. I think in 7-on-7 we had three come out, and that's all got to change."
– Terrace Marshall Jr. continued to build upon a consistent and productive camp Wednesday, snatching another nice touchdown on a fade route from Baker Mayfieldduring a 7-on-7 period.
Marshall, the Panthers' second-round pick in the 2021 draft, has been a flashy receiver throughout the offseason but has pieced together good days and good plays more consistently since arriving at Wofford.
– In Wednesday's quarterback contest, Mayfield and Sam Darnoldboth took reps with the first team offense Wednesday. After Darnold ran with the first group Monday and Mayfield on Tuesday, Rhule said there would be more of a mix for the seventh day of camp.
– Running back Christian McCaffrey and defensive lineman Matt Ioannidis took rest days for the hottest day of camp.
Rhule said McCaffrey likely wouldn't go three days in a row of padded practices, and the Panthers' star running back had a solid day Tuesday.
—Keith Taylor Jr. was in a red jersey for the second day in a row Wednesday as he works through a lower hamstring strain. Rhule said on Tuesday that Taylor would be out for one or two weeks, depending on his recovery. Cornerback Duke Dawson was also in red Wednesday, leaving them thin at the position and likely in need for reinforcements, since Jaycee Horn is still limited to individual work as he comes back from some foot soreness last week.
– Jeremy Chinn delivered a tough shot to Robbie Anderson in the second day of padded practices, and Chinn left the field for a play afterward.
Rhule said he instructed Chinn on where to hit during camp – not in the back – before Chinn rejoined the practice.
After camp, Anderson didn't seem too caught up with the play. He said Chinn was an "intense" player and that he knew it wasn't intentional, but that he also knew teammates needed to look after each other in practice.
View photos from Wednesday's training camp practice from Wofford on Aug. 3.