Practice Report: Mitchell Is Clear Number One

The Gamecocks practiced twice on Friday, and Coach Spurrier met with the media following the evening session. He opened by jokingly complaining about how closing practice forces him to explain the practice to reporters. "I missed you guys," he said, "because you guys have questions and I have to halfway explain [practice], and I'm not very good at it."

Spurrier's good mood was likely a result of a strong practice session. "We had a decent practice," he proclaimed. "Let all the guys play. We got a lot of plays in and nobody got hurt seriously so it was a good night for us."

With minor injuries to Clark Gaston and Lanard Stafford, Cody Lucas and Brian Kingrey stepped into the fullback role. Coach Spurrier praised the two walk-on players after practice. "Cody Lucas, a walk-on kid that played down at South Carolina State last year got a lot of reps in there at fullback. He's doing a fine job. Brian Kingrey is ready to play some if we need him. Those guys are filling in very admirably."

Two higher profile players have also drawn Spurrier's attention. Moe Brown has turned heads throughout camp, and he continues to impress the Head Ball Coach. For a while, it seemed certain that the impeccably named Chris Hail would redshirt, but he has improved and may have a chance to play this year. Despite the enthusiasm, Spurrier cautioned against expecting too much from the freshmen. "[Moe] is another freshman that needs to learn how to play a little bit. He's coming around and he's had a lot of snaps. Chris Hail is another prospect out there at wide receiver. He's done some decent things."

In what has become a daily ritual, Spurrier fielded questions about the also impeccably named Chris Smelley. Spurrier seemed like he wanted to squelch any suggestions that Smelley could push Blake Mitchell as the starter. "He's got a lot to learn. He hasn't picked [the playbook] up that well. He's way behind knowledge-wise, but that's expected." Spurrier softened his criticism somewhat, adding, "He's just a freshman. This is all new to him. He's a quick learner, and he loves to play. He's probably ahead of schedule a little bit. He's definitely, I think, going to play this year." Speaking about Mitchell, Spurrier said, "Blake is the only one that can audible right now. The rest of them just go back and let the blitz hit them in the back of the head."

In addition to Stafford and Gaston, Matt Raysor, Brandon Isaac, Nick Prochak, and Andy Boyd missed Friday night's practice.

The Gamecocks next practice is scheduled from 3-5 pm on Saturday afternoon.

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