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Gamecocks' Aug. 7 after-practice report

First off, Thursday’s rain-soaked outing was marred by the left shoulder injury of starting running back Mike Davis. He fell awkwardly on the shoulder during an early drill, giving way to Brian Maddox, Eric Baker and Taylor Rank.

His status was unknown Thursday night.

As for the rest of the evening, the scrimmage that was, then wasn’t, then was, then wasn’t … well … finally was on.

With primarily the youngest players manning the skill positions on the soggy evening, the Gamecocks’ first line ‘em up and hit ‘em went off without a hitch.

Of course, that doesn’t mean it was pretty.

Quarterbacks Stephen Garcia, Aramis Hillary and Reid McCollum took turns under center with Garcia getting the most snaps.

Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier summed up their performances as being what he expected from young quarterbacks. In other words, some good, some bad and some things you’ll just have to forget about.

Breaking down each:

STEPHEN GARCIA

Garcia completed 3 of 13 passes. Sure, that sounds bad, but he can’t shoulder all the blame. He completed his first attempt – a little dump screen to running back Eric Baker – then missed on his next nine attempts. Five of those could be directly attributed to mistakes or drops by receivers, including an offensive pass interference whistle on Joe Hills.

He completed two of his final three passes, including a nifty toss to C.C. Whitlock while on the run.

He also scrambled for a first down during a third-and-long situation.

ARAMIS HILLARY

Hillary completed 2 of 5 passes. Of the three misses, one was a bad throw, one was dropped by freshman tight end Andrew Power and one was batted down on a heads-up play by sophomore defensive end Darantzy Brunson.

He also teamed up with Hills on the biggest gainer of the day – a flare at the line of scrimmage that Hills nearly took to the house until the sloppy turf reached up and grabbed him.

REID McCOLLUM

McCollum didn’t really get a chance to show his stuff. He completed 2 of 3 passes with the muff coming when freshman receiver D.L. Moore slipped during a route.

He nailed Hills on a nice crossing pattern, but Chris Culliver made Hills pay for it with a teeth-rattling hit that shook up Hills for a short spell.

McCollum’s final pass was a sharp throw to Jason Barnes down near the turf where only Barnes could nab it.

Also of note from the scrimmage:

- The running of Baker. At one point while running near the sideline, he put Clifton Gathers on his backside.

- The offensive line. Whether the offensive line was struggling or the defensive line was just playing better was hard to tell, but there were many incursions into the Gamecock backfield. Slightly disturbing is the fact plenty of veterans were rotating into the scrimmage.

- Speaking of veterans, senior Mike Newton looked good at cornerback. He’s the one who drew Hills into committing pass interference. In general, he played a physical brand of ball throughout the night.

Prior to Thursday’s scrimmage, the team went through the paces with the usual skel drills. Tommy Beecher and Chris Smelley seemed to hit their marks most of the time while most of the receivers not named Kenny McKinley either struggled to get open, quit on a route or flat-out let the ball go through their hands. Not pretty. Then again, some of it could be chalked up to the secondary, in particular the safeties who did a superb job of rolling over the top of any long routes and the corners who on occasion made acrobatic leaps to bat the ball away.

Friday night’s practice is closed. Sorry, but that’s all for now, folks.

Reach Obley at (803) 771-8473.

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