College Sports

Another signee fails to qualify

COLUMBIA -- Defensive back Akeem Auguste became the third South Carolina football signee to fall short of qualifying academically, but coach Steve Spurrier hopes Auguste and the other two will eventually end up in Columbia.

Auguste, of Hollywood, Fla., will enroll at Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy, where he will join the other two signees -- running back Eric Allen and defensive back Antonio Allen.

The three players can use their time at prep school to reach NCAA minimum standards. They can then re-sign with the Gamecocks and have all of their eligibility remaining, which Spurrier wants to happen.

"Hopefully, all three players that did not quite qualify can qualify after a year at prep school," Spurrier said.

The Gamecocks have 26 true freshmen on scholarship, one short of the maximum allowed by NCAA rules.

Auguste becomes the sixth member of the signing class not to end up with the team; two others qualified but were not admitted to USC and tight end Mat Williams left the team after briefly attending summer school.

• TWEAKING GARCIA: The true freshman under the biggest microscope remains Stephen Garcia -- especially from coaches, who are working on the quarterback's mechanics.

"He's got sort of a big old windup," Spurrier said. "The ball slips out of his hands about one every five throws. So we have to change it a little bit."

• HEATING UP: Even practicing at night, the late-summer heat wave is already affecting the Gamecocks. There have been no reports of heat-related injuries, but the players are losing some extra pounds.

"I'm just hot all over," junior linebacker Marvin Sapp said after Monday's practice ended a little after 10 p.m. "It's real hard to keep cool, so we just encourage guys to drink a lot of water, don't eat crazy foods, especially greasy food, because you're going to die out here."

The team's first three practices have gone longer than normal, about two hours. But Sapp said the extra work was necessary because the players are enrolled in summer school and have less time during the day to study the playbook.

• MORE TICKETS FOR S.C. STATE: S.C. State has been allotted an extra 1,700 tickets for its Sept. 15 visit to USC, the Orangeburg school announced. S.C. State originally received 2,600 tickets but had its request for an additional 8,000 denied.

The matchup will be the first between the schools, which are located about 40 miles apart.

• SLOPPY: Spurrier criticized the offense Tuesday, saying the defense was constantly winning the small battles in the early going.

"Most of the offensive linemen don't know whether to go right or left," he said. "The defensive guys always play faster than the offensive guys in shorts. Nothing has changed about that.

"Hopefully we can run right through Georgia, Tennessee, Florida and all them other schools the way we run through our line right now."

• INJURIES: Sophomore offensive lineman Garrett Anderson was held out practice with a cracked bone in his hand. It's not expected to be a serious injury.

Freshman receiver Joseph Hills (right knee sprain) and Leon Gamble (hamstring) were also out.

• SWITCHING AGAIN: Mike West, who recently went back to linebacker after a season at wide receiver, played cornerback Tuesday. Spurrier complimented the senior on his performance and said it's a possibility he could stick.

• IN FOR THE LONG HALL: Defensive tackle Marque Hall is making progress in his return from knee surgery. Hall, a starter before tearing his ACL against Georgia last season, is wearing a brace on his left knee and working on sudden movements.

"I'm very close to 100 percent," said Hall, a redshirt junior from Wingate, N.C. "(The first) night was just a test for me to see if I can still move and stop and change direction on my leg."

Hall said he would not feel comfortable until his first series against Louisiana-Lafayette.