Blake Mitchell Suspended After Bar Fight

South Carolina starting quarterback Blake Mitchell was arrested on simple assault charges today, stemming from an incident with a bouncer at a Five Points night club that happened at approximately 1:45 a.m. on September 13.

Kylan Ertzberger, a bouncer for Pavlov's nightclub, told police that Mitchell approached him and asked him if he liked him. Ertzberger stated in the police incident report that he replied to Mitchell that he did not have a problem with him, but he did not like Mitchell entering Pavlov's with underage girls. He stated that he and Mitchell argued about such incidents having happened in the past, and when he went to turn away, that Mitchell punched him in his left eye.

Coach Steve Spurrier said that Mitchell was "suspended from play for right now" when discussing the incident with the media after Wednesday night's practice. "Blake got into a little scuffle last night, and I heard the other guy pressed charges, so we suspended him until it's all cleared up. He's under suspension until all the facts come in. We'll make a decision later on," Spurrier said. When asked how long the suspension would last, Coach Spurrier said, "I have no idea. He'll be out at least this week." He stated later in the press conference, "we'll see if it all gets cleared up next week."

"I don't know exactly what happened. I don't know all the details. He probably wasn't going to play this week anyway." Spurrier said. "He wasn't really in our plans this week; we're going to give some other guys a chance to play quarterback. A little bit of the injury and a little bit of trying to play somebody else. We're sort of stinkin' on offense; it's not all Blake's fault, not all his fault at all. I think he's played so-so, not great, and not terrible. We got a lot of other changes not just the quarterback there could be seven new starters on offense this week."

Spurrier said, "I'm not announcing a starter yet, that's a secret. We're going to hold that until at least tomorrow or so. We'll announce a starter a little later this week." When asked how his team has responded, he said, "I think they all know what happened. That's not going to distract us, I can assure you that. Blake was not scheduled to play much this week, he'll take this week off, and we'll see what the investigation turns up for next week."

When asked if he was disappointed that his quarterback was out in Five Points on a Tuesday after a loss, Spurier said, "I was disappointed that he got in a little fight. If he was out with his girlfriend, or whatever, and he was not drunk or anything that's what college kids do. I went to college once, but we were in before 1:30. Back in our day 12 was a late night. Anyway, I don't think he had any classes this morning. He was just out with some buddies. We'll let all the facts come in before we do anything on a long range basis. He'll be out this week he'll rest up and try to get his legal matters corrected and then we'll see where we are.

When asked if Blake would be allowed on the sidelines for this weekend's game with Wofford, Spurrier said, "If he‘s not in jail, he'll probably have his jersey on and be on the sidelines. He's still part of the team. He's suspended from play for right now. He doesn't need to practice anyway, he won't practice. He'll take this week off. We'll let all the facts come out I don't know exactly what happened. We'll see where it leads."

With Mitchell out, the starting quarterback position will be filled by either true freshman Chris Smelley, who has played in both of the first two games this season after Mitchell sustained minor injuries in those games, or Syvelle Newton, the senior who was the starting quarterback in 2004 under previous Coach Lou Holtz, and has been playing three positions under Spurrier – wide receiver, tailback, and quarterback. The team has been saving a special "Syvelle" package that was installed to fully utilize the multi-talented player.

The team will conclude preparations for Wofford with a practice on Thursday afternoon from 4:15-5:30 p.m.

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