March 29, 2008
The University of South Carolina football squad held its first scrimmage of the spring on Saturday morning at Williams-Brice Stadium. A crowd estimated at about 800 fans was on hand to watch the scrimmage, which was played in pleasant weather conditions.
“We had a few good plays here and there, but overall it was pretty ragged,” said Head Coach Steve Spurrier following the scrimmage. “We tried a bunch of third down stuff to see if we could get better in that area. We’ll do that the rest of the spring, too.”
The Gamecock offense scored six times during the scrimmage, totaling 30 points. Sophomore quarterback Chris Smelley connected on a pair of touchdown passes with junior tight end Jared Cook, scoring from 20 and from one-yard out. Junior signal-caller Tommy Beecher and Weslye Saunders hooked up on a 12-yard touchdown pass. Senior Ryan Succop connected on all three of his field goal attempts, including a 51-yarder that opened the scoring.
Smelley, who took the majority of the snaps at quarterback, finished the day by completing 15-of-26 passes for 184 yards with the two touchdowns and no interceptions. Beecher was 8-for-20 for 91 yards with one TD and no picks. They were the only two quarterbacks to see any action.
Bobby Wallace was the top ground gainer with two carries for 26 yards. Freshman Eric Baker carried six times for 18 yards while Brian Maddox added eight carries for 12 yards. Senior tailback Mike Davis did not play due to a hamstring injury.
Senior Larry Freeman was the top receiver with four catches for 56 yards. Saunders, a sophomore tight end, had four catches for 49 yards, Joe Hills had four receptions for 41 yards and Cook had three catches for 26 yards.
“Our tight ends are some of our best receivers, but they need to block also, sometimes they forget that,” said Coach Spurrier. “Tight ends are supposed to block as well as catch passes. Our blocking is not very good anywhere right now,” continued Spurrier. “We have a lot to work on as far as running the ball and pass protection. We’re just trying to get (the offensive line) to compete and play their assignments. I think we have enough talent on the o-line but we just haven’t gotten it out of them yet.”
The Gamecocks will return to the practice field on Monday at 7 p.m.
Ryan Succop 51-yard field goal
Ryan Succop 27-yard field goal
Ryan Succop 27-yard field goal
Jared Cook 20-yard pass from Chris Smelley (Nate Spurrier kick)
Jared Cook 1-yard pass from Chris Smelley (Steven Huegel kick)
Weslye Saunders 12-yard pass from Tommy Beecher (Ryan Succop kick)
PASSING: Chris Smelley 26-15-0-184, 2 TD; Tommy Beecher 20-8-0-91, 1 TD. TOTAL: 46-23-0-275; 3 TD.
RUSHING: Bobby Wallace 2-26; Eric Baker 6-18; Brian Maddox 8-12; Taylor Rank 4-5; Moe Brown 1-5; C.C. Whitlock 2-(-2); Dion Lecorn 1-(-7); Chris Smelley 3-(-31); Tommy Beecher 9-(-35). TOTAL: 36-(-9).
RECEIVING: Larry Freeman 4-56; Weslye Saunders 4-49; Joe Hills 4-41; Jared Cook 3-26; Bobby Wallace 3-22; Matt Clements 2-32; Jason Barnes 1-30; Freddie Brown 1-17; Moe Brown 1-2. TOTAL: 23-275; 3 TD.