November 14, 2007

Younger players getting long look this week

With no game to prepare for, South Carolina's younger players have had their chance to impress the coaches in practice this week.

One of those players - freshman quarterback Stephen Garcia has made the most of his opportunity. Garcia, one of the top prep quarterbacks in the nation last fall, is expected to redshirt this season before battling for the starting job in spring practice.

"We've worked the young guys a little bit," head coach Steve Spurrier said late Wednesday afternoon. "Garcia got some extra work tonight. He pitched it around pretty well. We're working with the younger guys as well as the other guys. We haven't done a whole lot of hitting this week."

Garcia, who threw for over 8,000 yards in high school, has been working mainly as the scout team QB for most of the season along with walk-on Zac Brindise.

USC will start working on the Clemson game plan "a little bit" on Thursday before preparations begin in earnest next Monday when the players return from the weekend away, Spurrier said.

The Gamecocks and Tigers kickoff the annual Palmetto State showdown on Nov. 24 at 7 p.m. at Williams-Brice Stadium. ESPN2 will televise the game to a national audience.

USC will practice one more time on Thursday before the players head home for the weekend.

Spurrier hopes his club plays much better against Clemson than they did against Arkansas and Florida the past two weeks. The defense has surrendered 99 points, while the offense has been inconsistent and failed to connect on several potential big plays.

"We haven't played very well and haven't coached very well," Spurrier said. "We're getting record-breaking performances by the opponents' offense. That's not good for our team. Hopefully, we can regroup and give Clemson a good ballgame next week when we play them."

Clemson faces Boston College on Saturday night in the Upstate with the winner advancing to the ACC Championship game in Jacksonville on Sat. Dec. 1.

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