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Weather postpones team scrimmage

University of South Carolina practices on Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2008 at the Bluff Rd. practice field.
University of South Carolina practices on Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2008 at the Bluff Rd. practice field. The State

The hope on Wednesday had been to hold a scrimmage for the young guys and for the fans. USC coach Steve Spurrier had chosen freshmen Reid McCollum and Aramis Hillary to see their first action in Williams-Brice as Gamecocks.

But for the second time in three nights, the Gamecocks had to cut things short.

Bad weather forced Spurrier to call off the team’s first scrimmage, which was rescheduled for today at about 3 p.m. It will also be open to the public, likely the last time “for a while,” according to Spurrier.

“Lightning won tonight,” Spurrier said. “We certainly don’t want to tear up the field, we don’t want anyone getting hurt, slipping and sliding out there.”

The Gamecocks had about an hour of regular practice before lightning forced them to head for shelter. After lingering about a half-hour in the locker room, Spurrier decided to call it off.

Two nights before, Spurrier cut practice short after a minor scuffle between the offense and defense. Still, he said he wasn’t worried about falling behind schedule.

“We play three weeks from (today). We’ve got plenty of time,” Spurrier said. “We’ve got plenty of time. We’ll do a little extra conditioning.”

The change in plans also means USC will scrimmage twice in three days. A closed scrimmage will be held Saturday.

Shaq shrinks his number. Freshman linebacker Shaq Wilson has decided to switch uniform numbers, going from 46 to 16.

“He likes a smaller number. He’s a small linebacker so he needs a smaller number,” Spurrier said.

Around camp. Freshman receiver C.C. Whitlock was back at practice after missing Tuesday’s workout because of what Spurrier called “academic woes.” ... Cornerback Captain Munnerlyn returned after limping off the field during Tuesday’s practice. ... Tight end Jared Cook (broken right toe) was walking without a boot or cast, but he is not expected to practice until next week.

Norwood honored. Junior linebacker Eric Norwood was among 73 college football players who were nominated for a national community involvement award. The honor is being sponsored by Allstate and the American Football Coaches Association.

Norwood was cited for a number of off-field activities, including serving as a field day volunteer at St. Andrews Middle School; volunteering to read at an elementary school; working in a pen pal youth monitoring program and helping out on several USC on-campus activities.

Sticking up for Smelley. Spurrier defended backup quarterback Chris Smelley, who, according to this newspaper, made a bad throw in Sunday’s practice.

“I told Chris that’s a good throw,” Spurrier said. “Our receiver just didn’t get in there quick enough. That’s why you practice.”

Reach Emerson at (803) 771-8676.

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