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Aug. 15, 2007

camera.gif Coach Spurrier Post-Practice Comments

The South Carolina football team worked out twice on Wednesday, culminating the evening practice with a 75-minute, 65-play scrimmage. The defense dominated the bulk of the scrimmage, holding the offense to just one touchdown, before the offense got untracked with three scores when working in the red zone.

“It was actually a pretty lousy scrimmage for the offense,” admitted Head Coach Steve Spurrier. “The offense couldn’t score for about an hour and a half into it. The defense did some good things. Then at the end we put the ball at the 25 and the offense scored about every time. They came back and had a few good plays here and there, but overall it was a pretty sorry scrimmage.”

The offense rotated three quarterbacks on nearly every play, with Blake Mitchell, Chris Smelley and Tommy Beecher splitting time under center. Mitchell finished the night by completing 11-of-15 passes for 111 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Beecher was 8-for-10 for 79 yards with one interception and Smelley was 4-for-10 for 41 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Freshman Stephen Garcia saw action late in the scrimmage and completed 2-of-6 passes for 20 yards and one score.

Freshman Brian Maddox was the workhorse in the running game, carrying nine times for 28 yards and a touchdown. Cory Boyd had just two carries for 15 yards, while Mike Davis carried four times for 11 yards. Chris Culliver actually was the top rusher with three carries for 34 yards, including an impressive 37-yard burst in which he started to the right, switched directions and came all the way back across the field, showing the elusiveness that made him a top recruit.

Freshman tight end Weslye Saunders was the top receiver with four catches for 55 yards and a touchdown, including a game-long 40-yard catch and run from Mitchell. Jared Cook added four catches for 42 yards and a score.

The defense forced four turnovers in the contest, with Darian Stewart, Stoney Woodson and Doug Peterson all picking off passes, while Eric Norwood forced a fumble that was recovered by Casper Brinkley.

We have lineman that don’t know where to block,” noted Coach Spurrier. “We need to find out who can play here after Saturday’s scrimmage. We’ve got to find some guys who can block a little bit. I’m tired of watching Blake and the quarterbacks get hit almost every time they throw the ball. We’ll let all the young guys play a bit on Saturday afternoon, then we’ll start coaching the guys who we think are capable of playing during the season.”

Several players were held out of the scrimmage including Ryan Broadhead (illness), Rodney Paulk (left shoulder sprain), Leon Gamble (left thumb sprain), Jamire Williams (left leg), Jim Hutton (right shoulder sprain), Taylor Rank (right shoulder sprain), Dustin Lindsey (knee), Kyle Nunn (back strain), Joe Hills (right knee sprain), Mark Barnes (left shoulder sprain), Terrence Campbell (illness), Freddie Brown (left leg) and Bobby Wallace (fractured right clavicle). Captain Munnerlyn suffered a right forearm contusion during the scrimmage.

“We’re a long way off,” said Coach Spurrier. “We’d be lucky to be picked fourth in the Eastern Division. We don’t play for two and a half weeks, so hopefully we can make some improvements.”

The Gamecocks return to the practice fields on Thursday, with the workout scheduled for 3-5 p.m. at the Bluff Road practice fields.

SCORING PLAYS: Brian Maddox 1-yard run Jared Cook 17-yard pass from Chris Smelley Weslye Saunders 3-yard pass from Blake Mitchell Patrick DiMarco 16-yard pass from Stephen Garcia

PASSING: Blake Mitchell 15-11-1-111; Tommy Beecher 10-8-1-79; Chris Smelley 10-4-1-41; Stephen Garcia 6-2-0-20. Totals: 41-25-3-251.

RUSHING: Chris Culliver 3-34; Brian Maddox 9-28; Mike Davis 4-11; Cory Boyd 2-11; Stephen Garcia 2-11; Blake Mitchell 2-(-5); Tommy Beecher 2-(-10). Totals: 24-80.

RECEIVING: Weslye Saunders 4-55; Jared Cook 4-42; Brian Maddox 4-30; Mike Davis 3-18; Kenny McKinley 2-32; Cory Boyd 2-29; Bryan Kingrey 2-6; Pat Dimarco 1-16; Nick Prochak 1-13; Matt Clements 1-6; Alex McGrath 1-4. Totals 25-251.