Murdock Off Team, Beecher Shines In Scrimmage

The Gamecocks participated in a light scrimmage Monday evening as they continued preparations for their December 29 match up against Houston in the Liberty Bowl. The scrimmage was limited mainly to the younger players, as the rest of the squad cheered them on.

The team practiced Monday morning, and then went through a light workout just prior to the scrimmage. The scrimmage gave younger players a chance to take meaningful practice snaps. It also provided an exciting, high-energy break for stars like Sidney Rice, Jasper Brinkley, and Fred Bennett. "We try to make it as much fun as possible," Coach Steve Spurrier explained. "[Bowl practice] is supposed to be a reward for them."

The defense won the scrimmage by a single point, courtesy of several sacks worth two points each. Dakota Walker was responsible for several of those sacks. As a reward, the defense got to hit the showers while the offense ran post-practice wind sprints. Matt Raysor also drew raves for the defense when he forced a fumble from Chris Smelley and returned it for a touchdown.

The fumble was just one of many struggles Smelley had on the evening. Wearing the number 7 jersey of departed Cade Thompson, he had trouble with the snap, and threw a bad pass straight into a defender's hands, though it was dropped. He also took several sacks, and looked confused at times. Conversely, Tommy Beecher efficiently drove the offense down the field for a touchdown. Beecher made solid decisions and threw several nice balls, including several to Freddie Brown, who also stood out. Moe Brown and Mike West scored both touchdowns for the offense off of wide receiver reverses. Brown got in the end zone from about 10 yards out, and West raced 50 yards down the sideline, shedding tacklers along the way. "Maybe we ought to put those in," Spurrier said of the reverses.

The biggest news of the day was that wide receiver OJ Murdock has decided to leave the team. Murdock will join the track team for the spring semester. Beyond that, his future is in doubt. Spurrier said that Murdock may choose to transfer to another school to play football, or could give up football to focus on track. "Football's not for everyone," Spurrier said. "There's a lot involved," he added, suggesting Murdock might be better suited to a sport with fewer demands on his time. "We wish OJ the best."

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