Offense edges out defense in first scrimmage
"We had one of our typical scrimmages except we had a few touchdowns, which was different," Spurrier said of the 90 minute scrimmage. "I thought the defense looked pretty good most of the day. We let the quarterback run out a few times though. [Stephen] Garcia and [Tommy] Beecher can run out of there and make some scramble plays, which we haven't seen by a South Carolina quarterback since Syvelle Newton was here. The defense had a lot of good plays here and there, but they have got to get better, our offense has to get better, our special teams have to get better. We all have to get better."
A person cannot ask for much more from a scrimmage than to have the offense score five touchdowns and a field goal and then have the coach say the defense looked "pretty good." When the first team offense and defense faced each other, the defense got the upper hand. When the second and third teams were on the field, the offense did better.
"We had an overtime period thing where the offense ended up scoring two, but not the first offense," said Spurrier. "The first offense went backwards on their attempt against the first defense."
The biggest and probably best surprise of the day was that Spurrier had praise for the offensive line. It may have been the first time since Spurrier came to Columbia that he came away from a scrimmage pleased with the blocking.
"Our protection was pretty decent most of the day," he said, "but we missed a bunch of open guys and we dropped a bunch of passes, too. I think both Chris [Smelley] and Tommy did pretty decent.
On Friday, three Gamecocks suffered ankle injuries during non-contact drills. Apparently the switch to full contact worked well, as there were no injuries during the scrimmage. Captain Munnerlyn, who was one of the players injured Friday night, returned to practice and notched the only interception for the defense. However, Jamon Meredith did not, and was on crutches and will be out at least another week. Jasper Brinkley, the last of the injured players, missed the scrimmage to attend a funeral.
"I feel like [the offense] is going to be pretty good this year," Munnerlyn said after the scrimmage. "Darian Stewart dropped [an interception] on Beecher that would have been a touchdown. [However] I see a whole lot of improvement from Beecher and Smelley. They were more confident throwing the ball, so I like it."
Beecher went 9-13 passing for 123 yards. He also tossed a pair of touchdown strikes to tight end Weslye Saunders. Smelley also had 2 touchdowns on 9-18 passing for 114 yards. His two touchdowns were to Jason Barnes and Joe Hills. Garcia rounded out the passing day by going 6-8 for 67 yards, with a touchdown pass to Bobby Wallace and the interception to Munnerlyn.
The Gamecocks were less impressive on the ground. Brian Maddox, who worked with the first team, ran four times for just 13 yards, and Eric Baker got 18 yards on four carries. Garcia was actually the leading rusher during the scrimmage, picking up 21 yards on 3 attempts.
- 16-yard pass from Tommy Beecher to Weslye Saunders (Succop kick)
- 12-yard pass from Tommy Beecher to Weslye Saunders (Lanning kick)
- 10-yard pass from Chris Smelley to Jason Barnes (Lanning kick)
- 13-yard pass from Chris Smelley to Joe Hills (Lanning kick)
- 25-yard pass from Stephen Garcia to Bobby Wallace (no attempt)
Tommy Beecher 9-13-0-123-2 TD; Chris Smelley 9-18-0-114-2 TD; Stephen Garcia 6-8-1-67, 1 TD.
Stephen Garcia 3-21; Eric Baker 4-18; Brian Maddox 4-13; Kenny Miles 3-7; Tommy Beecher 1-7; Taylor Rank 3-5; Bobby Wallace 2-(-3); Dion LeCorn 2-(-4); Chris Smelley 3-(-18).
Weslye Saunders 3-36; Brian Maddox 3-35; Kenny McKinley 2-38; Freddie Brown 2-36; Jason Barnes 2-22; Nick Prochak 2-19; Taylor Rank 2-12; Foxy Foxworth 1-28; Bobby Wallace 1-25; Matt Clements 1-17; Joe Hills 1-13; Scott Spurrier 1-8; Eric Baker 1-5; Dion LeCorn 1-5; Bryan Kingrey 1-5.
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