S. Carolinas' Beecher out with injury...
August 31, 2008
Beecher sits out Saturday's practice because of injury
By Rick Scoppe ê
COLUMBIA -- With opening game starter Tommy Beecher hurt, Chris Smelley looks like a good bet to regain the starting job he lost after throwing five interceptions in the spring game April 19.
"I'm not sure how long Tommy will be out . . .," Smelley said Saturday. "I just come out here and prepare to be the guy. . . . That's been my goal since I got up here. So nothing's changed."
But plenty has changed since Spurrier said this summer Beecher would start the opener. Beecher did, and he threw four interceptions in a 34-0 victory over North Carolina State.
Beecher also suffered what Spurrier initially called a "head injury" after being hit. Beecher, a right-hander, also hurt his left shoulder.
"He got hit on his left shoulder a little bit more than the head actually," Spurrier said. "He was just battered and bruised."
Beecher, wearing a no-contact jersey, didn't practice Saturday and may not today. But he "should definitely be ready to play" Thursday night at Vanderbilt, Spurrier said, although he wouldn't say if Beecher's absence made Smelley a shoo-in to start.
"We'll just wait and see," Spurrier said. "We don't have to make that decision (now)."
Smelley ran the first unit Saturday, and redshirt freshman Stephen Garcia also took "a bunch of snaps," Spurrier said. "It was interesting seeing him out there pitching it around a little bit."
Spurrier said Garcia "looked decent at times," adding while he's got some talent he's "not the smartest quarterback in the world yet."
Smelley came on in the fourth quarter after Beecher, in his first start, was hurt. USC was up 13-0 and had just 161 yards total offense when Smelley came on and led the Gamecocks to 21 points and 208 yards.
"Some things started coming together," said Smelley, who was 5-for-5 for 92 yards and two touchdowns. "I felt the O-line kind of picked up a little bit. ... I don't know if (N.C. State's defenders) were tired or if we were just more into it or what. But we were able to do our thing in the fourth quarter."
While Spurrier wouldn't say who'd start at quarterback, he did say junior college transfer Jarriel King would make start at left offensive tackle ahead of Hutch Eckerson, who was called for two of the line's four false starts against N.C. State.
King, who'd been expected to play defensive end but was moved to offense in preseason camp, came on at the start of the second quarter and played most of the rest of the game.
"I call myself an overachiever," King said. "I didn't expect to come in here and be the savior of the offensive line, but I expected ... to come in and do what I could to get the starting position."
Also, Spurrier said Kyle Nunn was getting a look at left offensive guard. Lemuel Jeanpierre started the opener.
In other news, Spurrier said freshman place-kicker and punter Ryan Doerr has left team and gone home to Katy, Texas. Doerr didn't play against N.C. State.
"I think he's got a girlfriend, a little homesickness," Spurrier said.
Doerr's leaving freed up a scholarship, which Spurrier said would go to sophomore deep snapper Charles Turner of Roebuck in January.
"When one goes, he's replaced," Spurrier said. "Charles Turner, C.D. we call him, is a valuable part of our team."
Re: S. Carolinas' Beecher out with injury...
I hope Smelley takes this and runs with it....He was 4-2 last year as a freshman starter in the SEC, with a bad shoulder. Not many freshman are successful in the SEC. He is only a sophmore this year...he needs to be our starter, he has a chance to be a really good qb...