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Wolford tires of loafing linemen

USC offensive line coach Eric Wolford works with some of his players during the Gamecocks' practice, Tuesday, March 31, 2009.
USC offensive line coach Eric Wolford works with some of his players during the Gamecocks' practice, Tuesday, March 31, 2009.

Rest now and pay later — that was the message new USC offensive line coach Eric Wolford delivered after counting 26 lack-of-effort plays by his linemen during the Gamecocks’ 65-play scrimmage Friday.

Wolford, hired from Illinois to jump-start USC’s SEC-worst running game, kept his linemen after practice Tuesday for an extra 15 to 20 minutes of running.

“I shouldn’t have to coach effort,” Wolford said. “That was the first time it really showed its head a little bit, and hopefully we learned our lesson from that.”

Wolford said he would be the judge of what USC coach Steve Spurrier refers to as “loafs” —plays in which a lineman fails to finish a block or loses his defender late.

Wolford said the lack of effort was not totally unexpected, adding he also dealt with the problem when he took over at Illinois.

“I think that’s why you have to nip it in the bud early. I think tonight we probably sent the message to the group,” Wolford said. “I would expect next scrimmage, we better have that number (of loafs) down in single digits, or it’ll be a real long night.”

Entering his fifth season, Spurrier expressed frustration with the overall work ethic, threatening to pull scholarships from players who do not pick up the pace.

“We’ve got a lot of guys that want it, want to be the best as we can be. I’m not sure we’ve got a high percentage, yet. Haven’t shown up since I’ve been here, yet. ... It’s not bad, it’s just not where we need to be to beat LSU, Alabama, Georgia and those guys.”

Jeanpierre out again. Lemuel Jeanpierre will miss the rest of spring practice with a knee injury that will require arthroscopic surgery. Spurrier said it is not the same injury that sidelined Jeanpierre for the final four games last season.

“He popped a little cartilage or something in there, so he’s out the rest of the spring,” Spurrier said.

Jeanpierre, an Orlando, Fla., native entering his fifth season, started five games at guard last season and began the spring as the starter at left guard.

Jeffery drops by. Incoming receiving Alshon Jeffery, the highly touted recruit from Calhoun County, visited Tuesday’s practice with teammate Eric Mack, a junior who has offers from the Gamecocks and a dozen other schools.

USC receivers coach Steve Spurrier Jr. mentioned Jeffery after saying he thought two or three of the Gamecocks’ incoming receivers could play in the fall.

“One of them’s Alshon Jeffery, I’ll tell you that,” Spurrier Jr. said. “But I don’t want to hurt the other guys’ feelings.”

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