Gamecocks work through light scrimmage

The Gamecocks went through a chilly practice Monday night at Williams-Brice Stadium. They participated in a "light" scrimmage. Players were in full pads, ran plays, and kept score, but there was no tackling. One of the main focuses was on getting used to the 40 second play clock, which will replace the old 25 second clock this year.

"We're just trying to get used to the clock: a lot of substitution, getting in and out," explained Steve Spurrier. "We tried to eliminate tackling. We decided to do this type of scrimmage rather than the full go. Hopefully we learned how far we need to go."

The Gamecocks did not handle the play clock well. This season, the 40 second clock will start as soon as the previous play ends, as in the NFL. The old 25 second clock started when the referees marked the ball for play. Spurrier said the problems are not with the new clock, but with confusion and a lack of urgency.

"We had a lot of trouble with the clock," he acknowledged. "A lot of the freshmen don't know where to line up, and we've got to get the plays in a little quicker. The quarterbacks have got to talk faster. It was some good work to understand you've got to get moving. We didn't move very quickly on offense, so it wasn't real efficient. It's just typical of a whole bunch of guys in there who don't know what they're doing real well."

Spurrier was generally pleased with the scrimmage, though. It may have helped that the offense had unlimited timeouts at their disposal to avoid delay of game penalties. There were some of the usual problems however. The offensive line continued to struggle to open running lanes, and the receivers had trouble catching the ball at times.

"That [the clock] was just part of our problems," Spurrier said. "The receivers dropped a whole bunch of passes early. We didn't have many holes trying to run the ball. We had a few penalties here and there. It was practice, so hopefully we learned something."

Despite the dropped passes, Spurrier thought several receivers played well.

"Dion [Lecorn]can catch, he's doing fine," he said. "Matt Clements made a couple nice catches. Moe Brown dropped a few early but came back and caught some. We had more drops than usual tonight."

Spurrier noted several times after the scrimmage that it was good the players made some mistakes. He wanted the team to know what they have to work on to get better. He wants to see some improvement during the spring game, but he also wants to give the Gamecocks something to think about over the summer. For the Garnet and Black spring game, the defensive rules will be adjusted to allow the offense more time to make plays. Spurrier wants to be able to evaluate what he has on offense.

"We've got a lot of work to do," he said. "In Saturday's spring game we're going to try to help the offense a little bit and try to create some kind of way where the quarterbacks can get passes off and see if the receivers can get open and catch it. Obviously the pass rush is too good for our linemen right now. We've got to do something to give the quarterbacks and receivers a chance to show if they can play or not."


- Wide receiver Jason Barnes sprained his ankle going for a catch. The injury is not believed to be serious.

- Defensive lineman Jonathan Williams hit his funny bone making a tackle, and missed a few plays before returning.

- The Gamecocks will not practice Wednesday. They will practice Friday afternoon, when they will work on some preparations for the Spring Game.

- Running back Bobby Wallace and defensive back Chris Hail both practiced. The two "weekend warriors," who had been only allowed to practice on the weekend because of academic concerns, were given a "reprieve" by Spurrier since there is no practice on Wednesday.

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