Spurrier Addresses Murdock Suspension
Coach Steve Spurrier did not talk about the details of the incident involving Murdock. However, he did explain Murdock's position with the team. "OJ had a little problem over the weekend down in Tampa, so he's indefinitely suspended. We'll figure out his status once everything comes out. He's not suiting up [against Vanderbilt]." However, Spurrier said that Murdock is in Columbia, and with the team. "We'll let him practice with the scout team and see where his legal status is a little later on. He may be finished or not, we'll just have to see what the legal outcome is."
Murdock's arrest comes only a month after quarterback Blake Mitchell was arrested following a fight at a bar in Five Points. These arrests followed a season in which several players were arrested or kicked off the team. However, Spurrier said he does not feel like the team has a recurring problem. "I don't think it has happened over and over," he said, pointing out that the charges against Mitchell were dropped. "I don't know if these [charges] are going to be dropped. [Murdock] did something he's got to answer for." Spurrier added that there is only so much he can do to control his players. "I can't baby-sit them all the time. We deal with them after they get in trouble."
Coming off a bye, the Gamecocks have had two weeks to prepare for the Commodores. Unfortunately, Spurrier worries that the time off will cause Carolina to play with less intensity. "We should be ready to play as well as we can," Spurrier said. "I've always said that the break doesn't matter one way or the other. I think we are anxious and ready to play. If you are playing well and you have a week off, you lose a little bit. We weren't playing all that well, but we did win our game before. Every game stands on its own merit."
The bye week did allow the Gamecocks time to heal several injuries. They are probably as healthy as they have been all year. Mike West is "pretty healthy," and expected to play. "He's going to try to play some," Spurrier said. "We'll wait and see if we can really go full speed." Andy Boyd has been practicing, and Spurrier said that Boyd "will probably start." Web Brown has been practicing, and will be available. On the defensive side, safety Emanuel Cook is also expected to return to the lineup after missing several games. Carlos Thomas is the biggest question mark. Thomas strained his knee in practice. However, Spurrier reports good news for Thomas. "I think he's going to try to play. He says he'll be able to play."
Cook and Thomas will be needed as Carolina faces perhaps the finest sophomore receiver in the SEC not named Sidney Rice. Earl Bennett burned the Gamecocks for sixteen receptions a year ago. "He had a field day on us," Spurrier chuckled. "He caught sixteen passes. Hopefully he doesn't catch quite that many [this year]. The main thing is to win the game. I didn't realize he was catching all that until the game was over and looked at the stats." Perhaps the best news for USC is that Bennett no longer has Jay Cutler throwing the ball to him. Not that Cutler will not be at the stadium: Saturday is Jay Cutler Bobblehead Night at Vanderbilt Stadium.
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