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March 16, 2005

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina head football coach Steve Spurrier met with media Wednesday afternoon to discuss the beginning of Gamecock Spring Practice. Coach Spurrier also announced that the Garnet and Black Spring Game on April 16 will be televised on ESPN2 and ESPNU.

Coach Spurrier’s comments to the media: “Spring practice will begin this Saturday. We have decided to do half of the practice on the practice field and the other half in the stadium. Fans can come and watch at 10:45 and we will be in the stadium around 11 a.m. to do team workouts. Practices will be open to the public.”

On live coverage: “Our Spring Game will be carried live on ESPN 2 and ESPN U on April 16. This is great exposure for our school. I think we are the only school in the nation that they are televising. It is a nice honor that ESPN wants to put us on and we appreciate that.”

On Troy Williamson: “We had our pro timing day today and from what I understand, Troy Williamson had an excellent workout and he is a projected first rounder. We are very proud of Troy.”

On actions concerning David Smith: “David Smith is facing some issues and in all likelihood will not return to our team. He is another player that chose to do his own thing rather then play football for the University of South Carolina. Basically, that is what all of the other players and issues have been about about. They chose to do what they like to do or whatever and they chose not to play for us. Sometimes you have a few guys that don’t want to follow the few rules and don’t want to get with the program.”

On Syvelle at split end: “We are excited about spring ball coming up. We are excited about getting out to practice. One interesting story is that Syvelle Newton is our number one split end right now. He will line up as the first split end and Noah Whiteside will be on the other side. We are looking forward to watching Syvelle play wide receiver. He also has the ability to shift and maybe play shotgun quarterback some.”

On quarterbacks: “Blake Mitchell will probably take the first snap on Saturday. We still don’t know if Mike Rathe will be eligible. We hope to know by Saturday morning. He is eligible to practice because he is in school and his case is under appeal. Blake Mitchell, Antonio Hefner, Mike Rathe and Bret Nichols are the quarterbacks. We have four on the roster and hopefully we will still have four come Saturday.”

On what the purpose of spring practice: “Spring practice to me has always been about trying to learn what to do and find the players that want to play and that are coachable. You want to find those players that improve day to day and by the end of the spring, are the players you can count on to go play. We will try and go Monday, Wednesday and Fridays most weeks and we will have a couple of Saturday practices before the spring game and those will also be open to the public.”