Spurrier pleased with Tuesday practice

On Monday night the Gamecock defense, and eventually the entire team, was kicked off the practice fields following a hard hit. On Tuesday night Carolina returned to the scene of the crime. Fortunately for everyone involved, everything went smoothly, and by the end of the night players and coaches were able to laugh off the previous nights' fireworks.


Although the original practice schedule had the Gamecocks working in full pads for the first time on Tuesday, they came out in just shorts and shoulder pads instead. Steve Spurrier explained the simple reason for the change in plans.

"We tried to do last night's practice," he said. "We didn't get to do it last night, so we did last night's, and we'll catch up on the pads."

Spurrier was pleased with how practice went; suggesting that maybe the incident had helped to bring the team together. He praised the offensive line for a solid night, as well as almost every other unit on the field.

"We practiced like a team," said Spurrier. "We got a lot out of it, and we did a little bumping around and so forth."

He tempered his praise in some areas, however. He noted that without pads, it is difficult to tell how far along the offensive line is. Spurrier also said that this was not the first time he had seen the defense look good in practice.

"There's been many a practice out here where the offense couldn't do a dang thing," he said, "but the key is carrying it over into the stadium when it really counts."

One of the bright spots on the defense was linebacker Marvin Sapp. The senior linebacker normally wears number 53, but for an unknown reason he donned number 20 on Tuesday. Spurrier wondered aloud if the new number made Sapp better, suggesting it may have to be a full time switch.

"He looked faster in 20, didn't he?" Spurrier joked. "He did look different, didn't he? Maybe we ought to leave him in 20. He was all over the place making some plays."

The Gamecocks will have their first scrimmage of the fall Wednesday night. The scrimmage will be mostly for younger players "who have not played here much." However, the top three quarterbacks - Tommy Beecher, Chris Smelley, and Stephen Garcia - will all see time.

"They're all young guys," Spurrier chuckled.


Monday's incident put in the past

Wide receiver Moe Brown and linebacker Eric Norwood, the principals in the Monday night incident, spoke to the media on Tuesday. Both downplayed the exchange, saying it was nothing important. The two have not spoken since the incident, and see no reason to.

"It's just football, it ain't nothing serious," said Brown. "We're cool. All we're doing is playing football."

Norwood understood why Spurrier was upset, but emphasized there was no malice involved.

"It was just a pure accident," he said. "I was going to the ball. I understand [why Spurrier was upset]. We're a team; you can't have guys getting hurt. He made a move, and I don't think he saw me right there."


D. Lindsey hoping to finish career on solid note

Linebacker Dustin Lindsey is entering his fifth year with the Gamecocks. Along with his twin brother Jordin, Lindsey has seen almost everything there is for a player to see. He was on Lou Holtz's final team and has been arrested in Five Points. He missed one season when he was ruled academically eligible and missed almost all of last season with a knee injury. But Lindsey has battled back, rehabbed his knee, posted a GPA of over 3.0 for three straight semesters as a criminal justice major, and become a leader on the team, all because he wants to be a Gamecock.

"If I didn't want to be here, if I didn't love the Gamecocks, I wouldn't have stuck around," he said. "I made some bad choices, and I had some bad breaks, but I want to be here. I love the Gamecocks, and I want to win here."

At times, one had to wonder if Lindsey would ever get to play for a winner. He was a freshman on Holtz's final team. That squad struggled to a 6-5 record and was involved in the infamous brawl with Clemson. The following year, Lindsey played in all 12 games and became a key contributor. However, after the season he flunked out of school and had his scholarship revoked. He worked his way back to the team, only to injure his knee. This year, it appears health and academics will finally align, and Lindsey will return to the field.

"I've been here a long time; I'm getting old," Lindsey joked. "I've been through a lot of stuff since I've been here, and I'm ready to win. I was never a giggler, but I must have bullcrapped a lot my freshman and sophomore years, that's what got me in trouble. We all make mistakes."

Lindsey says he has matured over the years. That maturity is important because the attitude of the team has matured as well. Steve Spurrier has emphasized character in his recruiting, and Lindsey sees the difference. Gone are the immature and self-oriented players of the past. In their place are hard workers dedicated toward winning, something Lindsey has become.

"It's a lot different than when Holtz was here," he said. "With Spurrier here, he's a winner. He wants to stay here until we win. We've got a lot of guys wanting to be leaders and a lot of the little gigglers are starting to leave. We're starting to get a lot of serious guys who want to win here. I love seeing it. Even if I don't start, as long as we're out there whoopin' butt, I'll come in and do my thing when I can. Every position is backed up by another guy with great talent that could easily start. This is my fifth year, and I ain't never seen this kind of mentality from our defense. I'm excited."

On Monday night, that mentality was not a good thing, as it led to the skirmish between the offense and defense, and eventually an early end to practice. Lindsey downplayed the incident, however, saying "it's probably going to happen a few more" times.

"Things happen," Lindsey said. "We need to learn how to pull up a little bit more. We want to hit people, and it sucks we can't get a practice squad out here that we can hit on."

He was not surprised that Spurrier was upset to see one of his receivers get hit.

"He loves his wide receivers," Lindsey laughed. "He's a quarterbacks-wide receivers guy, especially a guy with some talent like Moe Brown."


Notes:

- Cornerback Captain Munnerlyn left practice with a foot injury, but is expected to return Wednesday night. It is believed he stepped on someone else's foot.

- Freshman wide receiver C.C. Whitlock missed practice due to "academic woes." Spurrier did not elaborate, but said Whitlock would return Wednesday.

- Defensive tackle Ladi Ajiboye, out with a broken hand (and a neon green cast that can be seen from miles away), is one to two weeks away from returning to full speed.

- Tight end Jared Cook (toe) is expected to return next week.

- Quarterback Zac Brindise is doing his best Brett Favre impression. After deciding to transfer on Monday, he was back at practice on Tuesday. "He retired a couple of days ago, and he decided to come on back," Spurrier said. "He realized he made a mistake and wants to be a Gamecock."

- The team will practice for about an hour Wednesday night at the Bluff Road practice fields before moving over to Williams-Brice Stadium for the scrimmage. It is most likely the last practice that will be open to the public.


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