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Sept. 21, 2006

The University of South Carolina football squad (2-1) did some fine tuning on Thursday afternoon at the Bluff Road practice fields as they prepare for Saturday night’s contest against Florida Atlantic (0-3). Game time is set for 7 p.m. at Williams-Brice Stadium.

Tailback Cory Boyd continued to wear a boot on his injured right ankle and did not practice. He will not play on Saturday. Linebacker Cody Wells, who suffered a right ankle injury during practice on Monday, did not practice and remains doubtful for the FAU contest. Reserve quarterback Chris Smelley was in a yellow jersey and did not practice on Thursday due to a sore left heel. Wide receiver Mike West (hamstring) and offensive tackle Gurminder Thind (foot) did not practice again on Thursday and will not play on Saturday. Defensive tackle Kenrick Ellis has been cleared by the NCAA and practiced this week, although he is slated to take a redshirt this season.

Following the practice, Head Coach Steve Spurrier addressed the media:

On Saturday’s game: “We’ll see if we can play like a pretty good team – see what happens. We appreciate the fans hanging with us. They haven’t booed this year. They probably could have, but we appreciate that. We’re going to try our best to look like a good team – that’s what we’re going to try to do.”

On the tougher practices this week: “No one has quit. Everyone has accepted it pretty well. Hopefully it will turn into a solid performance Saturday night.”

On the offensive line: “I think we’re going to start Web Brown at left guard. Web has a little fight in him. He cares. Anybody who has a little spark, a little competitive fire and cares has a good chance to play for us. We’re going to try our best to put 11 out there who play and really care. We haven’t found it yet, but we’re going to try to Saturday night.”

On the backfield: “Mike Davis, Taylor Rank and Bobby Wallace are the three slated to play with Mike starting (at tailback). Syvelle (Newton) is the quarterback with Blake (Mitchell) on deck. We’re trying to win the game. We’ll see how Syvelle’s doing.”

On replacing Cody Wells: “Dakota Walker is getting his first start ever. Maybe that will be something good for Dakota. He made a big play at the end of the game last week. He can run and make plays. He’s just got to play his assignment, play a little tougher and he will be a good ballplayer for us.”

On having Kenrick Ellis back at practice: “Kenrick Ellis will eventually be a very good player if he can get down to around 300 pounds. That’s his goal. He’s about 335, so he needs to lose some.”

The Gamecocks will go through a walk-thru on Friday afternoon as their final preparations before Saturday night’s contest.