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Aug. 16, 2007

The South Carolina football team returned to the Bluff Road practice fields for a rare afternoon session on Thursday, one day after they held a scrimmage at Williams-Brice Stadium. The squad worked out from 3-5 p.m. before heading to the Strom Thurmond Center for a team pool party.

“I watched the film today (from last night’s scrimmage) and it wasn’t as bad as I thought,” said Head Coach Steve Spurrier. “They’re usually not as bad as you think. Sometimes they’re not as good as you think also. Our tight ends and backs caught most of the passes last night. The defense did a good job of playing some good solid zones and forcing us to throw underneath a lot. The defense had a good night as far as dropping in their zones.”

Jasper Brinkley sat out Thursday’s practice after spraining his ankle on Wednesday prior to the scrimmage. “Jasper sort of twisted his ankle a little bit,” said Coach Spurrier. “I think somebody fell into him in inside drill. He actually scrimmaged a little bit (last night), but it was hurting today. We’ll hold him out two to three days. He actually scrimmaged 10-12 plays before he went out last night, so it shouldn’t be too severe.”

The Gamecocks have reached the halfway point of their drills leading up to the season opener against Louisiana-Lafayette on September 1. Chris Smelley and Tommy Beecher have been the most pleasant surprises so far according to Coach Spurrier. “They’re ready to play,” he said. “If Blake (Mitchell) goes bad, which I don’t expect him to do, they’re ready to play. I have confidence Tommy Beecher and Chris Smelley can both go in there and play and play very well.”

“We’ve got the players here,” continued Coach Spurrier. “I’m convinced Kevin Young can play football. He’s just not playing very well right now. These guys are very similar to the guys we had at Florida. In fact, these guys are probably stronger. We didn’t have a whole bunch of NFL guys. Our players are physically just as good. We should play better. We’re just not playing very well. Hopefully it’s just repetition that our guys will understand what we’re trying to do. The guys that learn from their mistakes are the guys that end up playing.”

The Gamecocks are scheduled to practice twice again on Friday, then hold a scrimmage that will be open to the public on Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium. That session will get underway at 4 p.m. with the scrimmage set to begin between 4:30 and 5.