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Aug. 18, 2006


The South Carolina Gamecocks worked out twice at the Bluff Road practice fields on Friday, spending over four and a half hours on the gridiron, as they continued their preparations for the season opener at Mississippi State on Thursday, Aug. 31.

Among those who watched from the sidelines were wide receiver Mike West (hamstring), fullback Clark Gaston (shoulder) and safety Nick Prochak (hamstring). In addition, defensive tackle Matt Raysor injured his foot in a non-contact drill in the evening practice.

Following the night session, Head Coach Steve Spurrier met with the media:

“We had a decent practice – a pretty good practice. We did a lot of team stuff and let all of the guys play. All four of the quarterbacks participated. Tommy Beecher got quite a bit of work. He and Chris Smelley, Cade (Thompson) and Blake (Mitchell) also. We got a lot of plays in. Nobody got hurt seriously, so it was a good night.”

On the development of freshman quarterback Chris Smelley: “He’s got a lot to learn. He’s way behind knowledge-wise, but that’s expected. He’s just a freshman. This is all new to him. He got some work tonight. Blake’s the only one who can audible right now. The rest of them go back and let the blitz hit them in the back of the head most of the time. But Chris will learn. He’s a quick learner and he loves to play. He’s on schedule. He’s probably ahead of schedule a little bit. He definitely is going to play this year somewhere.”

On the offensive line: “We still get shoved around too much. But they’re trying. The protection at times is decent. We need to get a little tougher and not get pushed around so much.”

On the wide receivers: “(Moe Brown is) coming around. He’s had a lot of snaps, a lot of reps. Chris Hail is another prospect out there at wide receiver. He does some decent things. Kenny (McKinley) and Sidney (Rice) are better than they were last year. They’re advanced. As long as we stay healthy we’ll be fine there.”

The Gamecocks will return to the practice fields on Saturday, as they are scheduled to work out from 3-5 p.m. All practices are closed.