August 14, 2006

Freshmen stepping to the fore for USC

Quarterback Chris Smelley isn't the only true freshman making a significant impact for the Gamecocks in pre-season practice.

While Smelley continued to work as the No. 2 quarterback in Monday night's two-hour session in full pads on the Bluff Road Practice Fields, the Gamecocks' first-team defense featured three true freshman on the field - Rodney Paulk, Emanuel Cook and Captain Munnerlyn.

Paulk has displaced - for the time being, at least - sophomore Marvin Sapp at outside linebacker, while Cook and Munnerlyn continue to impress the USC defensive staff with the quality of their play in the defensive backfield.

Smelley completed 5-of-7 passes during the 11-on-11 period, which stretched to 23 plays. He hit a wide-open David Laggis down the field before connecting with talented walk-on Marquise Brown on a pair of passes.

"(Smelley) and Cade (Thompson) rotate with the second group. He's done pretty well for a true freshman," Spurrier said. "He knows (the offense) pretty well, not completely of course, but decent enough that he could play if needed."

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