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Aug. 4, 2009

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The 2009 edition of the University of South Carolina football team took the field for the first time this fall on Tuesday night at the Bluff Road “Proving Grounds.” The squad went through a two-hour workout wearing helmets and shorts in front of a crowd estimated at a couple thousand of partisan Gamecock fans.

“I think we had a nice spirited workout tonight,” said head coach Steve Spurrier following the practice session. “Guys seemed to be a little quicker and a little faster than normal. I think we’ve had an excellent summer conditioning-wise. Other than that it was just a normal practice and we’re looking forward to doing it tomorrow night. We appreciate all the fans coming out. We had a big crowd here tonight.”

Junior running back Brian Maddox received some praise from the HBC. “Brian Maddox is a lot quicker. I watched him going one-on-one with linebackers and he looks like a different athlete than he was last year.”

Coach Spurrier announced that freshman Matt Coffee would take a redshirt season this year. Coffee is coming off a knee injury he suffered in high school. Others who did not participate in Tuesday’s practice were cornerback Akeem Auguste (groin), cornerback Jay Spearman (shoulder), wide receiver Kevin White (hamstring) and wide receiver Dion Lecorn (ankle).

“It went pretty well for the first day,” said quarterback Stephen Garcia. “Not all bad and not all good, but it went pretty well I think. It will probably take two or three days for everybody to shake off the rust, but there’s not too much on there. I’ve learned so much from (quarterbacks coach G.A. Mangus), not just on the field but also off the field,” continued Garcia. “He’s been a real good friend to me and I’m really fortunate to have him – I think all the quarterbacks here – are pretty fortunate to have him here. He’s taught me a whole lot.”

The Gamecocks will return to the Bluff Road practice fields on Wednesday with practice scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. That practice and all practices through the remainder of the week will be open to the public.