Young Receivers Are Making Strides

With kickoff only five days away, Coach Spurrier put the Gamecocks through their paces again on Saturday afternoon. Afterward, he took some time to talk with the media about the continued preparation for the season opening contest against Mississippi State on Thursday evening.

"Just another practice day; nothing exciting one way or the other," Spurrier said. There were, however, several notable occurrences during practice. Spurrier praised several players who stood out. After struggling early in camp, O.J. Murdock has been making strides recently. "He's caught our eye a little bit lately," said Spurrier. He also singled out Freddie Brown, for "doing some decent things." Brian Kingrey has also stood out, and seems to have locked down the backup fullback job. "Kingrey's done a pretty good job for us," Spurrier noted. "He's a candidate for a scholarship next year." Kingrey seems to be following in the steps of starter and fellow walk-on Lanard Stafford, who earned a scholarship last year.

Unfortunately, it was an injury to Clark Gaston that cleared the way for Kingrey. After missing time with a shoulder problem, Gaston is now sporting a cast on his left hand. "He cracked his hand somehow, and he's got a bad shoulder. He looks like he's destined for a redshirt."

Spurrier identified three other players who will be redshirting: Brandon Isaac, Terrance Campbell, and Kenrick Ellis. Campbell injured his knee during the week, and the injury will keep him out for the year. "He's having surgery tomorrow," Spurrier said. "He's got a knee that slipped out here in practice; no contact, just running around doing an agility drill." Ellis, who has still not been cleared to practice, is another freshman who will redshirt. "We're going to redshirt Kenrick," said Spurrier. "He should be fine. He's just got some paperwork he's gotta get circulated. He's doing fine. He's trying. He loves it up here, as I think all of our freshmen do." The problem involves a grade from one of Ellis' high school classes that he took before transferring to the high school for which he graduated. Isaac continues to be bothered by his shoulder, and he plans to have surgery that will also end his season. "He's going to have some surgery on his shoulder. I think he wants to redshirt. He has to miss three games because of an academic issue that wasn't his fault, so he may just redshirt and play them all next year."

One freshman that will not be redshirting is Captain Munnerlyn. The talented cornerback returned to practice today, courtesy of a waiver from the Clearinghouse. Spurrier said he has never had to ask for a waiver before. "Our compliance people basically tried to encourage them to hurry up and meet on him. [The Clearinghouse] felt like he would be cleared when they met on Monday. They gave him clearance to practice."

Quarterback Chris Smelley, who was initially expected to redshirt, but has impressed in camp, is still on the bubble. Spurrier said that if Blake Mitchell gets injured, Smelley would come in. However, Smelley will not play unless Mitchell gets hurt, suggesting Spurrier wants to keep open the option of redshirting Smelley.

With Isaac likely to redshirt, the Gamecocks will be very young in the secondary. Coach Spurrier is not worried though. "We've got plenty of players [in the secondary]. They're just unknown players. We believe they're going to play well. Until they go do it, we're unknown.

Sidney Rice participated in practice again, wearing a garnet jersey. However, he is still being held out of some of the contact drills. "Sidney is still limited a little bit," said Spurrier, "but he should be fine. He's stayed out of some of the team stuff, but he's catching balls." When asked when he expected Rice back at full strength, Spurrier said, "Thursday night." Asked to elaborate, Spurrier said, "He'd be in the game [today]."

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