USC works through first two-a-day

The Gamecocks doubled their pleasure on Monday, holding the first of four scheduled two-a-days. The sessions were relatively light, but the team got in some work on goal line situations and special teams. Read inside for a full report on Monday's opening two-a-day of the fall.

"We had a little bit of hitting tonight," Steve Spurrier said. "We got a couple of pretty decent practices, we think."

Spurrier thinks he sees improvement in the special teams, but he is not ready to proclaim the unit a strength.

"We've certainly emphasized it [in practice]," he said, "but what you do in ballgames is really all that matters. I think we'll be better on special teams, but I think I've said that every year. We can block [punts] out here on the practice field, but we haven't blocked one since I've been here. We need to get some cheap scores, and we haven't had many yet."

The monotony of fall practice sometimes makes players and coaches do odd things to liven things up. On Monday, Spurrier used his post-practice session with the media to discuss the showering habits of his freshmen.

"You don't shower in high school anymore," he began. "They get a towel and they wipe the sweat off and put their clothes on and go. They come to college and think that's what you're supposed to do. We've had to emphasize, ‘Everybody get in the showers.' I'm sure all over the country coaches have to do that. I don't think they shower much in any sport in high school. They say they go back in the dorm and shower, but we don't trust all that."

Cook Primed For Strong Sophomore Campaign

Free safety Brandon Isaac has been singled out during the fall as someone who is expected to have a big impact this season. With all the attention, sophomore Emanuel Cook, his partner at strong safety, has sometimes been overlooked. Cook started five games as a true freshman last season, and is expecting to have an even bigger role this year. He is battling with senior Chris Hampton for the starting spot, and has held the upper hand so far.

"It's looking pretty good for me right now," he said. "I know the plays more."

With Isaac the rangy, playmaking safety, others frequently describe Cook as a "headhunter" in the backfield. Cook laughs at the description, but he is willing to try to live up to the reputation.

"Every defender has to put fear in somebody," he said.

The knock on Cook last season was his pass coverage. Used to playing near the line of scrimmage, he was often a step slow in coverage. With that in mind, Cook has worked hard on improving.

"I'm feeling more comfortable," he said. "I'm getting good at my backpedal and covering, and everything is coming along well."


- There is still no ruling on the eligibility of Jordin Lindsey. The senior defensive end did not attend practice, and Spurrier said afterward, "Jordin is still working on his situation, so we'll see what happens."

- There were a handful of minor injuries to report. Running backs Taylor Rank and Bobby Wallace both have right shoulder sprains. They are day-to-day. Defensive back Jamire Williams has a bad hamstring and was limping slightly after practice. Center Jeremy Burgess sat out his second day of practice with a mild concussion.

- Spurrier noted that he now has a surplus of scholarships, and will likely reward some walk-ons with the extra scholarships. He discussed a few candidates, including fullback Bryan Kingrey, but did not seem anywhere near making the decision.

- Former Gamecock Matt Raysor was not accepted at S.C. State and is now trying to get into Alabama State or Benedict.

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