Garcia to start, McCollum could play Saturday

On another sunny day in Columbia, the Gamecocks were hard at work wrapping up their final preparations for the South Carolina State Bulldogs this weekend. Check inside for an in-depth practice report from USC's Thursday workout, including an update on quarterbacks Stephen Garcia and Reid McCollum.


During the week, Coach Steve Spurrier has been quick to remind reporters that SC State is a very talented team with a deep roster. On Thursday, Spurrier again reiterated the fact that the Bulldogs are a team not only talented, but solid in many areas of the game.

"They're a very good team in the MEAC conference, and they've won it, I think two years in a row," said Spurrier. "Those guys know how to play football. Their special teams are very good also. We were in there talking today; Coach Beamer said they rank above us in every category except punting. I think our punter's been a little bit better than theirs, and that's all. So these guys cover kicks, they run them back, they know what they're doing. They're a very good team. Our guys know that though, and we'll be ready to play well."

Although he injured his ribs against Ole Miss and has been limited in practice this week, Spurrier said that quarterback Stephen Garcia will be ready to play on Saturday. His other quarterback, backup Reid McCollum, has been limited in a different way this week as he battled the flu. However, Spurrier assured fans that both his quarterbacks should be ready to go this weekend.

"Stephen is ready to play, he's okay," noted Spurrier. "He hasn't practiced a whole lot, but he's fine, he'll be ready to play. And Reid is ready to play too. Reid has practiced more this week than any since he's been here. So there's a chance, even if the game is close, at some point we may put Reid in to see if he can do some good."

Although unsure of his offensive line rotation during the game, Spurrier did say they are hoping to play "8 or 9 players throughout the game." He also mentioned that even if he "had to personally put him in," walk-on Garrett Chisolm will get an opportunity to play on Saturday. The junior lineman has taken a long road to the lineup at USC, attending Pikeville College in Kentucky and Trident Tech in Charleston, SC before finding his way to South Carolina.


Notes:

- Right tackle Quintin Richardson is not expected to dress on Saturday after missing two days with the flu and being limited with a shoulder injury. As a result, Spurrier said that Hutch Eckerson will be starting at right tackle in the game, but Chisolm will play right tackle as well.

- Defensive Coordinator Ellis Johnson again said that Antonio Allen and Damario Jeffery are the top two players at the SPUR linebacker position, while Alonzo Winfield will be backing them up.

- Johnson said Winfield has fallen down the depth chart simply because Allen and Jeffery are making more plays in game action.

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