Smelley likely to start against Clemson

The Gamecocks went through a chilly practice at Williams-Brice Stadium Wednesday afternoon. The team practiced for a little over an hour before calling it a day, and will practice again Thursday before they break for the bye weekend. After practice, Steve Spurrier elaborated on his comments that quarterback Stephen Garcia could lead him to an early retirement.

"Stephen's got a ways to go," Spurrier said, "but sometimes we've got to understand he's just a freshman. You revert back to your old habits, and his old habits are not very good. In high school, he just ran all over the place; every play was a scramble play. It doesn't work like that in major college ball."

He went on to say that realistically most quarterbacks are not fully ready to play until their third year. Garcia is in his second year at Carolina, but due to his off-the-field transgressions, his learning basically started this past August. Spurrier compared the athletic Garcia to another athletic quarterback he coached while at Florida.

"Rex Grossman, his third year was when he was really good," he said. "His second year was pretty good, but the third year was when he was at his best."

Spurrier also confirmed what he had hinted at Tuesday night, that Chris Smelley would get the start against the Tigers. Still, when asked what he expected out of Smelley, Spurrier was not sure.

"What am I expecting or what am I hoping for?" he smiled. "We've played decent at times and not very well at times. Chris Smelley's going to play most of it. Stephen's just not ready, but maybe there's a spot for him. Maybe he's better with about 8-10 plays instead of 25-30. We're going to see if Chris can't direct the team in a good manner."

With little else to talk about, a television reporter asked Spurrier if the Gamecocks were going to beat the Tigers.

"Where are you from?" Spurrier wondered. "I don't go around talking about we're going to beat anybody. I wouldn't say we're going to beat Wofford."

Lindsey understands significance of rivalry

Senior defensive end Jordin Lindsey came to the Gamecocks from Mobile, Alabama, where the annual Iron Bowl between Auburn and Alabama captured everyone's attention. After five years in Columbia, the only rivalry Lindsey cares about is the rivalry between Carolina and Clemson.

"It means a lot more to people around here," he said, "and I've actually become a person around here, so it hits me just as hard."

He does not have to think twice about his favorite memory of the rivalry, either.

"The missed kick, man, at their place," he said. "It was fun just being at their place and being able to do that, and having our fans actually on the field with us."

He was of course referring to the 2006 game when Clemson kicker Jad Dean missed a field goal at the end of the game that gave the Gamecocks the win. That is the only win over the Tigers Lindsey has been a part of, something he hopes to change in two weeks. In the meantime, he and the rest of the Gamecocks have to deal with the aftermath of a 56-6 blowout at the hands of Florida.

"It's in the past and we're not worried about that anymore," said Lindsey. "We're worried about Clemson and getting back in our groove. We got knocked off our ship a little bit, but we'll jump back on there and we'll be fine."

Players usually say they would rather play the next game than have a bye week, but Lindsey said that is especially true this week. Nobody wants a blowout loss to linger, and the easiest way to get rid of the bad taste is to go out and play well. Unfortunately, Carolina has to wait an extra week to wash the bad taste away.

"I'm ready to go out there now," Lindsey said. "It ain't like we need any rest time. It's just something we can learn from. We need to redeem ourselves a little bit. It's nothing I want to dwell on."

He said the goal for the defense this week is to "come together and regroup" so they can be fully focused on Clemson. Although the Tigers have struggled to a disappointing season, they still have some talented playmakers on offense in James Davis, C.J. Spiller, Aaron Kelly and Jacoby Ford. Carolina had trouble with giving up big plays against Florida's playmakers, so the defense has to correct some problems.

"They're all good backs, and we're going to have a game plan for them too," said Lindsey. "We know what we've got to do."

What would it mean for Lindsey to beat the Tigers next weekend?

"It would be great," he said. "It means a lot to me now and I'm ready to go."

Injury notes:

Several players have minor injuries, but should be ready to play against Clemson. Among the wounded are Akeem Auguste (leg), Captain Munnerlyn (turf toe), Carlos Thomas (knee sprain), and Justin Sorensen (ribs).

To discuss this article, visit The Cockpit, our free forum, or The Golden Spur, our premium forum.

Gamecock Anthem Top Stories