College Sports

Spurrier high on Lanning Spencer ... uh ... Spencer Lanning

COLUMBIA -- Rock Hill native Spencer Lanning has impressed South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier with his work ethic and performance.

Just think what might be in store if Spurrier could get his name right.

"Lanning Spencer," Spurrier replied Tuesday when asked about the probable backup for starting place-kicker/punter Ryan Succop. "Spencer Lanning is his real name. Everyone calls him 'Lanning.' The guy with two last names."

Spurrier credited Lanning for improving enough to be second-string behind Succop for both positions, and said he wouldn't be suprised if Lanning got on the field a good bit this year. Although he redshirted 2006, his first year with the team, Lanning traveled and dressed for every game and earned the coaching staff's kudos for practicing hard every day.

"When Ryan's gone, he's got a wonderful chance to do both of them," Spurrier said. "He was with us last year, walk-on kid, does a super job out there."

• REDSHIRT?: Stephen Garcia came to USC with a bold declaration of not intending to redshirt. He may not have a choice.

Spurrier said this week he was planning to redshirt Garcia, even with the quarterback situation in its current state. With Chris Smelley and Tommy Beecher set to split time under center during Saturday's season-opener and Blake Mitchell aiming to be off suspension next week, there's probably not going to be any room for Garcia on the field this year.

Of course, anything could happen. Redshirting's just a plan until the year passes and it actually gets granted.

"We really feel like we're going to have three quarterbacks ready to play," Spurrier said. "But like I told Stephen the other day, I said, 'We hope to hold you out this year and next year you'll have a chance to be the starter.'"

Fellow freshman Brian Maddox might escape the redshirt route after the tailback situation was mixed up during camp. Maddox, a freshman from Anderson, has impressed in the scrimmages in the absence of Bobby Wallace, who broke his collarbone and is probably headed for a redshirt.

The injury left Cory Boyd and Mike Davis on top of the depth chart but not much behind. Only Taylor Rank has extensive experience outside of the starters, and that was limited to one career start against Florida Atlantic last year, where he rushed for 101 yards.

"Brian's a good back," Boyd said. "He's shown some real good moves out there."

• LEAD BLOCKER: The Gamecocks' fullback situation could also be changing.

Lanard Stafford is entrenched as the starter but freshman Patrick DiMarco has charged into the picture. DiMarco, who switched from defensive back during camp, should see some time with veteran Bryan Kingrey if Stafford needs a rest.

Kingrey earned a scholarship this year after practicing with the team for three years, playing in five games with one start. Spurrier said each is a capable backup for Stafford, who has become one of the team's strongest players.

• I REMEMBER YOU: There'll be a familiar face on the other sideline Saturday.

Louisiana-Lafayette coach Rickey Bustle was a Clemson wide receiver from 1973-76 and served 1977 as a graduate assistant coach with the Tigers. He bounced around the ranks before landing at USC as the quarterbacks coach/offensive coordinator in 1994, coach Brad Scott's first year.

Bustle helped the Gamecocks win their first bowl game, the 1995 Carquest Bowl, and left for Virginia Tech. He stayed there until 2000 and then left for his first head coaching position at ULL, where he's compiled a 23-35 record.

• LINDSEY UPDATE: The saga of defensive end Jordin Lindsey is set to add another chapter this weekend. Specifically, will he be eligible by the time kickoff rolls around Saturday?

Lindsey, the defensive MVP of last year's Liberty Bowl and expected to be one of the Gamecocks' two starting ends, missed the first two weeks of camp with academic issues. He was cleared to practice but is still trying to get his NCAA eligibility resolved.

Lindsey might not have enough credit hours to play and is attempting to get it cleared up before Saturday. He was set to have a meeting with USC's NCAA Compliance officer and a USC professor Wednesday to see if he could get it straightened out.

Lindsey is listed as the backup behind freshman Travian Robertson while sophomore Eric Norwood is on the other side. Freshman Cliff Matthews is backing up Norwood while Clifton Geathers and Jonathan Williams are waiting in the wings.