Gamecocks ready for Bayou Bengals

The Gamecocks went through their final practice session on a cool, misty Thursday afternoon. The conditions are probably not the best preparation for the forecasted weather in Baton Rouge this Saturday. It is expected to be hot and humid, with a tropical storm threatening to make Death Valley seem less like its desert namesake and more like Congaree Swamp.

"Hopefully the weather will be nice in Louisiana," said Steve Spurrier following Thursday's workout, "but if not, we'll play in whatever kind of weather we've got."

A trio of injured players are expected to return to action this Saturday. Wide receiver Chris Culliver should play. Spurrier said of Culliver, "He's going [on the trip]. He may play a little bit, who knows." However, Culliver has been declared probable for the game.

Safety Brandon Isaac is also likely to play, though Spurrier again minimized his chances to contribute.

"He's going on the trip," Spurrier said. "I don't know how much he can play, but he's going."

Backup quarterback Chris Smelley will also suit up Saturday for the first time since the season opener. Spurrier was coy when asked if Smelley had any designed plays in relief of starter Blake Mitchell, the way Tommy Beecher had against S.C. State.

"It's a secret. We don't want to give away all our offensive passing secrets, we've been so good throwing it," Spurrier said sarcastically. "Blake is starting and Smelley is second in line."

As he has done all week, Spurrier continued trying to lower expectations about this weekend. When informed that one writer had picked LSU to win by as many as four touchdowns, Spurrier smirked.

"I don't blame him the way we've looked," he said. "It could be seven [touchdowns]."

"Who knows what's going to happen? We'll be ready to play. Our guys are going to be ready to play. We've got a lot of ball left this year. We're not putting all our eggs in one game. That's all I'm trying to say."

As he walked off the field, Spurrier turned around and smiled at reporters, who thought he was just badmouthing his team.

"I don't talk like maybe some of y'all's former coaches," Spurrier said jokingly.


- Spurrier announced on his call-in show that freshman wide receiver Jason Barnes will start ahead of Moe Brown in an attempt to jump start the passing game.

- As has been suspected since he was injured against S.C. State, offensive lineman Gurminder Thind will miss the LSU game with a high ankle sprain.

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