Lindsey Practices, Barnes Shifts To Receiver

The Gamecocks practiced twice on Friday, and they had a pair of intriguing storylines to match, as senior defensive end Jordin Lindsey returned to practice and freshman standout Mark Barnes moved from safety to wide receiver. Read inside for all the details.


After missing the majority of the first two weeks of fall practice, Jordin Lindsey made his much anticipated return on Friday. His eligibility has not been officially confirmed, but Coach Steve Spurrier is optimistic that his senior defensive lineman will be cleared very soon.

"I guess he's eligible to practice," Steve Spurrier said. "Nobody's told me anything official, but it must be good news that he will be eligible. We'll find out in the next day or so. We think he's going to be eligible, but we don't know for sure yet. Either he is or he isn't. We hope he is. He played well last year. Jordin's a good player."

The other move was much more of a surprise. Freshman Mark Barnes had practiced exclusively at safety this fall, but according to Spurrier, the former 4-star recruit spent both practices Friday at wide receiver. During his recruitment, Barnes expressed a preference for playing receiver, but most felt he is a more talented safety. Spurrier said the coaches are giving Barnes a chance to see life at his favored position.

"He originally wanted to play wide receiver," Spurrier said. "So we said, ‘What the heck, let's give him a shot right now.' He was doing fine at safety, but this is the time of year you look at everybody. We normally let everyone try at the position they want to first. That's where he wanted to go, but we thought he could get on the field quicker at safety. Now, we said, ‘Heck, let's see what he looks like at wide receiver.' That's where he wants to play. He looks pretty good at times. He caught a bunch of passes here and there."

Spurrier stressed that the move was not a reflection on the rest of the receiver corps, but was based solely on Barnes' ability.

"We're just concerned about trying to give everyone an opportunity to do their thing," he said. "That's all we try to do, is give everyone a chance to play the position they think they are pretty good at playing."



Mark Barnes, seen above playing in the 2006 Shrine Bowl, was considered one of the top safety prospects in the country coming out of high school last year, but he was also a standout receiver at Richland Northeast High School.


Spurrier later offered some encouraging news on the continued progress of the offensive line, saying the line had performed well during practice.

"The O-Line did pretty well tonight," he said. "We had a little pass protection drill, where the defense was coming full go, and they held them out of there pretty good. We got almost every pass off."


Barnes Confident He Can Make Impact On Offense

Although the switch to wide receiver caught most people off guard, Barnes took the move right in stride. Not only does he think he can be a fit on offense, but he expects to make an immediate impact. Although Spurrier said the move had nothing to do with the play of the other receivers, Barnes saw things differently.

"I feel like [the switch] is for a reason," he said. "They need playmakers on that side of the ball, and I feel like I can do the same thing as the others, but better."

He later added, "They had enough [young receivers], but not enough making plays."

Barnes was asked if he was that kind of playmaker in high school, and he responded, "Just look at the [highlight] clips and you'll see for yourself."

The adjustment to offense figures to be a challenge, but Barnes is not concerned. He is not working at a single receiver position, meaning he has to learn all of the positions in the Spurrier playbook. Barnes admitted some confusion, but insists he is not that far behind the rest of the receivers.

"It's a lot of work," he said, "but you've got to do what you've got to do to get on the field. I'm up to it."

Barnes said that the move to receiver was always an option, and now he hopes to be a two-way player.

"I think I have the potential to do both spots this year. I'm not sure, though, we'll just have to see."


Notes:

- Making progress on his recovery from a torn ACL, linebacker Dustin Lindsey was in pads for the second straight day. However, he is in a yellow no-contact jersey, meaning he does not do any hitting.

- Jasper Brinkley continues to sit out practice to rest his ankle. He was not wearing any sort of brace on the ankle Friday night, and had only a barely perceptible limp. He will rest a few more days.

- Tommy Beecher left practice with a sore shoulder, and will be limited in the scrimmage.

- After the Wednesday scrimmage, Spurrier suggested freshman offensive lineman Quintin Richardson could be asked to play this year, raising some eyebrows. Friday night he reversed course, saying Richardson would redshirt, adding, "You guys pay too much attention to what I say."

- The Gamecocks will scrimmage Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium. The session will begin about 4:00 PM, with the scrimmage starting about 5:00 PM.


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