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Good feelings return at USC practice

A night after a scuffle led to a short practice, the USC football team went a full session, leaving coach Steve Spurrier in better spirits.

“We practiced like a team," Spurrier said. "We got a lot out of it. We had a little bumping around and so forth. It was a pretty good practice.”

The only holdover from Monday, when Spurrier ripped into the defense and skipped 11-on-11 drills, was that the Gamecocks didn't go full pads, despite it being the first day the NCAA allowed it. Spurrier said they were still playing catch-up from not finishing Monday.

Walk-on quarterback Zac Brindise was back with the team a day after it was announced he intended to transfer. Brindise said he had a "change of heart," and Spurrier seemed to accept him with open arms.

“Zac, he retired a couple days ago and decided to come back," Spurrier said. "He realized he made a mistake. He wants to be a Gamecock.”

Not at practice was receiver C.C. Whitlock. The true freshman had some "academic woes" to take care of, acccording to Spurrier, who said Whitlock spent the evening with an academic counselor. Whitlock enrolled early, and was at USC for the spring semester.

Injury-wise, starting cornerback Captain Munnerlyn left practice after an apparent ankle injury. It didn't appear serious. Defensive tackles Ladi Ajiboye (broken right hand) and Melvin Ingram (foot) are both still out, but were at practice doing conditioning.

Tight end Jared Cook (toe injury) apparently won't be back until next week.

The Gamecocks will hold their first scrimmage Wednesday night at Williams-Brice Stadium. Spurrier said the team will practice for about an hour at the Bluff Road facility, then go to the stadium for another hour of scrimmaging. It's billed as being for younger players, but the first three quarterbacks - Tommy Beecher, Chris Smelley and Stephen Garcia - apparently will all play.

"They're all young guys," Spurrier said.

A few observations from 11-on-11 drills:

- Garcia did a little better than previous practices. He had a few good passes, showing good touch on an out pass to Dion LeCorn, who couldn't quite hold on. However on another play Garcia was picked off by a safety.

- Clifton Geathers had a good knock-down of a pass at the line.

- Nate Pepper slipped into the backfield and picked off an intended screen pass. If it were a real game it would've been an easy pick-6.

- Walk-on cornerback Mike Newton had good coverage on a deep pass to Joe Hills. (Smelley wanted a pass interference call.)

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