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March 24, 2008

The South Carolina Gamecock football team practiced for a little over two hours in cool temperatures Monday night at the Bluff Road “Proving Grounds.” It was the third of 15 spring practice sessions for the Gamecocks and the first time they went in full pads.

“It was probably one of the coldest spring practices that I can remember,” said head coach Steve Spurrier following the drills. “We had a spirited practice. We did some one-on-one and some full-speed blocking. The offense had some good plays and the defense had a lot of good plays. It was fairly encouraging.”

Coach Spurrier was asked about redshirt freshman quarterback Stephen Garcia, who experienced some off-the-field troubles over the weekend. “Stephen Garcia’s fate is in the hands of the University of South Carolina. He may be out here (again) or he may not be out here. If they say he’s here, he’ll be here. It’s out of my hands. Chris Smelley and Tommy Beecher had some real good throws here tonight. Those two guys are very capable of leading our team next year. I’ll accept whatever they say (about Garcia). He’s had a lot of chances here and we’ll see what happens. We’ve got Tommy Beecher and Chris Smelley and we know they’re always going to be here. They do everything we ask. They’re wonderful kids and they can throw the ball. They can play. We’ll worry about Stephen if he comes back out here. If they say he’s back, we’ll bring him back. If the university wants him to be here, we’ll give him another shot.”

In other news, redshirt freshman Mark Barnes from Columbia’s Richland Northeast High School, made the switch from wide receiver to safety, a similar move that Chris Culliver made on Saturday.

The Gamecocks will return to the practice fields Wednesday night at 7 p.m. They are also scheduled to work out on Friday (4:15 p.m.) leading up to their first scrimmage of the spring next Saturday (10 a.m.). All spring practices are open to the public.