Practice report: Smelley to see most action at QB

November 20, 2008 

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USC quarterback Chris Smelley (7) stands under center during the third quarter.

C. ALUKA BERRY/CABERRY@THESTATE.COM — The State

News of the day

It appears that Chris Smelley will start at quarterback against Clemson, while Stephen Garcia is being prepared for next year.

USC football coach Steve Spurrier said Smelley would play “most” of next week’s game at Clemson. For the past two games Smelley, a redshirt sophomore, and Garcia, a redshirt freshman, have alternated almost every play.

But Spurrier indicated after Saturday’s 56-6 loss to Florida that he would abandon the musical-quarterback strategy. After Wednesday’s practice, he made clear that Smelley had once again moved past Garcia on the depth chart.

“Chris Smelley’s probably gonna play most of it,” Spurrier said. “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 or 30. So anyway, we’re gonna see if Chris can’t direct the team in a good manner.”

Spurrier repeated earlier criticisms of Garcia, who the coach feels is too quick to scramble. Garcia relied on his feet a lot in high school, a habit Spurrier hopes he breaks because “it doesn’t work like that in major college ball.”

“He needs a lot of training, a lot of developing as they call it,” Spurrier said. “When a quarterback goes to the NFL they used to say it takes him three to four years to get ready to play. But in college, since you only have four years of eligibility, you should be ready in three, maybe. So we’ll see if we can get him ready for next year.”

Injury report

Cornerback Captain Munnerlyn (turf toe) is taking a few days off. Cornerback Carlos Thomas (sprained knee) missed practice, but Spurrier said the injury was not serious. Tailback Eric Baker (sprained ankle) and tackle Justin Sorensen (hip pointer) also took off practice.

Quote of the day

“I wish our girls good luck tonight. We need to beat those Clemson girls, it’d be a good victory.”

— Spurrier

on the women’s basketball team’s home opener

Extra point

The coaching staff on Wednesday showed the team tape of the 2006 game against Clemson, to illustrate one of the Gamecocks’ best recent offensive showings, Spurrier said on his radio show.

— Seth Emerson

- Seth Emerson

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