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USC practice report: Culliver impresses coaches

News of the day

South Carolina will scrimmage on Saturday in front of 5,000 fewer fans than it did Wednesday, which coach Steve Spurrier said that is not his choice. But with the danger of information leaking to opponents, coach Steve Spurrier the coach will close up Williams-Brice Stadium.

Spurrier is worried that plays will end up on the Internet, or spies could show up the old-fashioned way.

“If it was only Gamecock fans we’d leave it open, but when you open it up you’ve got to let everyone in,” Spurrier said. “I’m not convinced that somebody from Raleigh, N.C. or somebody from Nashville (won’t say) ‘Let’s see what them boys are up to.’ That happens everywhere. So we might as well be careful. And we would like to run some plays we’d like to use the first or second week.”

Stock rising

Sophomore Chris Culliver is making a strong case to be on the field when USC opens up the season in less than two weeks. The Gamecocks plan to use a lot of the 4-2-5 formation set-up, which will require an extra safety. Defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson said that Culliver, who played receiver and special teams last season, has a good chance to team with expected starters Emanuel Cook and Darian Stewart.

Stock falling

Sophomore receiver Joe Hills did not please Spurrier with the way he got hurt while scoring a touchdown in Wednesday’s scrimmage. Hills let up a bit at the end of the run and was got tackled by cornerback Akeem Auguste in the end zone, which knocked Hills out for a few days of practice with a sprained toe.

Injury report

Quarterback Stephen Garcia, tailback Taylor Rank and offensive lineman Jamon Meredith were all back at practice “limping around,” according to Spurrier. Tailback Bobby Wallace, Rank and Mike Davis might be available Saturday.

Quote of the day

“Joe (Hills) pulled a Gamecock. I guess we’ll call it a Gamecock when you go into the end zone and you relax. We’ve had Weslye Saunders and Nate Pepper fumbling going in. But (Hills) was across the line, but he didn’t realize Akeem (Auguste) was hustling to try and break it up and fell on (Hills) foot. Hopefully one day our guys will learn just because you cross our goalline or even get near it, the play’s not over.” — Spurrier on Hills.

Extra point

After watching video of Wednesday’s scrimmage, Spurrier believed quarterback Tommy Beecher’s rough night had something to do with the defense: “A couple times Tommy had nowhere to throw. They covered us like a blanket. The defense did well. He just needs to throw it away sometimes or take off and get to the line of scrimmage. A little hesitation. Hopefully we can get him out of that.”

Up next

The Gamecocks hold a morning practice, followed by an evening session at 7:30 p.m. Both are closed to the public.

Seth Emerson