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Aug. 22, 2007

The South Carolina Gamecocks moved inside Williams-Brice Stadium for a closed scrimmage on Wednesday night. The 61-play session was highlighted by five touchdown passes, including three from redshirt freshman quarterback Chris Smelley.

“It was a typical scrimmage for us,” said Head Coach Steve Spurrier. “Nothing too big happened either way. Chris Culliver made a few catches and ran with it after he caught it, so that was encouraging there. Weslye Saunders had a big play – had a touchdown catch. The defense did a lot of good things. The offensive line did some good things here and there. We won’t do too much hitting until the game a week from Saturday. We’ve had pretty good scrimmages and very few injuries so we’re fortunate in that area.”

Smelley finished the night by completing 12-of-16 passes for 169 yards with one interception. He hooked up on a 46-yard touchdown pass to freshman tight end Weslye Saunders, hit freshman wide receiver Chris Culliver on a 35-yard scoring pass and also had a 19-yard touchdown pass to freshman Mark Barnes.

“Watching Chris Culliver make some catches was encouraging,” said Coach Spurrier. “When he gets it in his hands he can go the distance. He reminds me of Syvelle Newton – when he’s got the ball in his hands he’s real fast. He made some progress tonight.”

Senior quarterback Blake Mitchell also had a decent night, completing 8-of-12 passes for 78 yards, including a five-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Larry Freeman. Tommy Beecher hit 4-of-6 passes for 20 yards, including a three-yard scoring strike to fullback Lanard Stafford. Overall, the three quarterbacks completed 24-of-34 passes for 267 yards.

“The quarterbacks played decent,” said Coach Spurrier. “Chris Smelley and Tommy Beecher did some good things. Blake did a few good things here and there. He had a few errant passes but not too many tonight.”

Sixteen different receivers caught passes on the night, with Culliver leading the way with four receptions for 68 yards. Saunders had a pair of catches for 56 yards.

Freshman Brian Maddox led the rushing attack with five carries for 40 yards with a long of 19 yards. Junior Mike Davis added six carries for 23 yards, including a 21-yard burst. Davis was the only injury reported during the scrimmage, as he “dinged up” his shoulder a little bit, according to Coach Spurrier.

With school beginning on Thursday, the Gamecocks will resume their normal afternoon practice time, working out at the Bluff Road practice fields from 4:15 – 6:15 p.m. on both Thursday and Friday, then will practice again on Saturday morning before taking Sunday off.


Weslye Saunders 46-yard pass from Chris Smelley (Ryan Succop kick)

Chris Culliver 35-yard pass from Smelley (Succop kick)

Lanard Stafford 3-yard pass from Tommy Beecher (Succop kick)

Mark Barnes 19-yard pass from Smelley (Hooper kick)

Larry Freeman 5-yard pass from Blake Mitchell (Lanning kick)


Chris Smelley 16-12-1-169; Blake Mitchell 12-8-0-78; Tommy Beecher 6-4-0-20; Kenny McKinley 1-0-0-0. TOTALS: 35-24-1-267.


Brian Maddox 5-40; Mike Davis 6-23; Patrick DiMarco 5-12; Bryan Kingrey 2-12; Tommy Beecher 3-(-4); Chris Smelley 1-(-6); Blake Mitchell 4-(-7). TOTALS: 26-70.


Chris Culliver 4-68; Weslye Saunders 2-56; Taylor Rank 2-23; Larry Freeman 2-13; Clark Gaston 2-7; Matt Clements 2-6; Mark Barnes 1-19; Nick Prochak 1-18; Moe Brown 1-11; Kenny McKinley 1-9; Robert Pavlovic 1-9; Mike Davis 1-8; Paul Haile 1-7; Patrick DiMarco 1-6; Dion Lecorn 1-4; Lanard Stafford 1-3. TOTALS: 24-267.