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March 17, 2006

The University of South Carolina football squad wrapped up its first week of spring drills by moving from the “Proving Grounds” of the Bluff Road practice fields into Williams-Brice Stadium for a 30-minute scrimmage at the end of the two-hour session on Friday.

The USC offense scored a pair of touchdowns on back-to-back plays, as redshirt freshman Taylor Rank ran a draw play up the middle for a 20-yard score. Redshirt freshman quarterback Cade Thompson hooked up with a wide open Noah Whiteside on the ensuing play for another 20-yard score. Placekickers Ryan Succup and Thomas Hooper each connected on field goal attempts, with Succop’s coming from 35 yards out, while Hooper hit from 37 to complete the scoring.

Thompson took the most snaps at quarterback, completing 4-of-9 passes for 63 yards and a touchdown. Sophomore Bobby Wallace was the workhorse out of the backfield, carrying eight times for 47 yards. Redshirt freshman tight end Jared Cook caught two passes for 39 yards, including a 32-yard completion from Thompson.

The Gamecocks will not practice again until next Tuesday, when they return to the Bluff Road practice fields at 4:15 p.m. All practices remain open to the public.

Following today’s session, Coach Spurrier addressed the media:

“I think we had a pretty good first week. Nobody got hurt. We got a lot of snaps – a lot of repetitions. We made a lot of mistakes and that’s what you do in spring practice – learn from your mistakes and not repeat them and go from there. I think we had a productive week.”

“A lot of guys showed some flashes of making plays. We still have to tackle better on defense and block a little better. Overall it was ok.”

About the defense: “It’s too early to tell (how much they’ve progressed). They’re coming around. We have a lot of new players. We have a lot of new guys who haven’t played much before so we have a lot of coaching to do this spring. We’ve got to be a better tackling team. That’s one area where we’re not very good and need to get a lot better.”

PASSING: Cade Thompson 9-4-0-63; Tommy Beecher 2-0-0-0; Blake Mitchell 1-0-0-0.

RUSHING: Bobby Wallace 8-47; Taylor Rank 4-35; Cory Boyd 1-8; Mike Davis 2-7; Mike West 1-2; Cade Thompson 2-0; Tommy Beecher 1-(-6).

RECEIVING: Jared Cook 2-39; Noah Whiteside 1-20; Taylor Rank 1-4.