Clifford impresses at quarterback

semerson@thestate.comMarch 28, 2010 

Redshirt freshman outshines Garcia, Shaw; Holloman, Barnes banged up

Andrew Clifford was pretty up-front about it: He's trying to get noticed in USC's backup quarterback battle.

After the redshirt freshman's play in Saturday's scrimmage, coach Steve Spurrier said Clifford may have done more than that.

Clifford completed 10 of 13 passes for 86 yards and led a scoring drive. He completed his first six passes.

"I was just trying to complete every ball. That's what I've got to do to get noticed," said Clifford, a Tampa, Fla., native. "I was all right. I struggled a little bit in the end but started out good. I've just got to be more consistent and I'll be all right."

Clifford and Zac Brindise (5-for-8 for 72 yards) outplayed starter Stephen Garcia and freshman Connor Shaw. Afterwards, Spurrier was asked if Clifford and Brindise had made waves in the battle to be the top backup.

"They were in contention for the starting job today," Spurrier said. "They were the two best out here today."

While a lot has to happen for Clifford to displace Garcia, he may have earned himself some more practice snaps. Shaw has been getting the most practice snaps after Garcia.

"We just got to be ready to play at all times, because you never know with coach Spurrier, he'll push you in whenever," Clifford said. "It'll be at any random time. So you've just got to stay ready, stay loose on the sidelines."

Injury updates. Spurrier said after last week's scrimmage that it went well because there were no injuries. According to that standard, the second one didn't go very well.

Starting strong safety DeVonte Holloman came out after hurting his left shoulder. He had it iced the rest of the morning.

Receiver Jason Barnes hobbled off after hurting his knee on a catch. Spurrier said Barnes may have a sprain.

Markett markets himself. It was Bryce Sherman last fall. This spring it's Marty Markett, yet another former track athlete making an impression.

Markett had the lone turnover of the scrimmage, an interception of Clifford. It was the third pick in two scrimmages for Markett, who walked on this spring.

Celebrity sightings. Former Gamecocks tight end Jared Cook, now with the Tennessee Titans, was in attendance Saturday. So was future Gamecock Victor Hampton, a cornerback who signed with the team in February.

Receiver Moe Brown and offensive lineman Garrett Anderson, both of whom used up their eligibility after last season, also were on the sideline.

Reach Emerson at (803) 771-8676.

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