Jordin Lindsey says he's academically eligible to play for South Carolina.
Steve Spurrier isn't so sure.
The ongoing drama surrounding the senior defensive end continued Monday night when the Mobile, Ala. native told reporters following a two-hour workout in full pads on the Bluff Road practice fields that he's been told by university administrators that he's OK to play this season.
"There were a couple of things we had to clear up and finish up with (second session of summer school) before I could worry about football," Lindsey said. "We've pretty much got it all done now. Now we're ready to roll. It's 100 percent. I had to fix a couple of mistakes on my part."
Lindsey blamed the episode on a "miscommunication" with his professor for the speech class.
"We went through the NCAA thing and then we went through the Dean of (the) English (Department) and we got it cleared up pretty well," Lindsey said. "The class wasn't for my major. It was just me being stupid and staying behind and procrastinating."
Lindsey is majoring in history with a minor in criminal justice.
However, a short time after Lindsey spoke with the media, Spurrier threw cold water on the case when he declined to confirm Lindsey had been totally cleared.
"I'm not sure that he's right," Spurrier said, when told of Lindsey's comments. "I wish I was 100 percent sure that he knows what he's talking about. I think there's a (NCAA) waiver that has to be cleared before that happens. I can't say he's cleared. I'm not sure."
Lindsey started six games at defensive end last season and finished with 37 tackles, including one sack and 4.5 tackles for loss. He was named USC's Outstanding Defensive Player in the Liberty Bowl win over Houston.
Lindsey missed most of the first 18 practices before participating in Monday's workout. He played briefly in Saturday's scrimmage.
"I'm never leaving the stadium. I'm making up for my missed time," Lindsey said. "I'm looking to get back out there. Physically, I'm catching on pretty well. In the (playbook), I'm up to date pretty well."
Lindsey hopes to join freshmen Travian Robertson and Clifton Geathers in the battle for the starting job at defensive end. Eric Norwood holds down the spot on the opposite side with Cliff Matthews behind him.
"I never thought I'd miss being out here in the heat but in the (last) two weeks I did," Lindsey said. "It was torture, believe me. I have to earn my spot back. I don't want anything handed to me. We'll figure out who's starting next Monday."
Twin brother Dustin Lindsey, in the final stages of his recovery from knee ligament surgery, didn't wear a yellow jersey Monday night for the time this fall.
"He still has a couple of weeks before he can actually do full contact," Jordin Lindsey said. "He's doing fine."
PRACTICE REPORT: USC entered the final one-third of its pre-season practice schedule with a humid night-time workout on Monday. It was the Gamecocks' first workout since Saturday's late afternoon scrimmage at Williams-Brice Stadium.
They had been scheduled to practice Sunday night but that workout was cancelled.
The Gamecocks will practice twice Tuesday, the final two-a-day of fall camp, at 9:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. All practices are closed to the public.
"We won't do much tomorrow morning," Spurrier said. "It's supposed to be 97 to 99 (degrees), so we'll go lightly in the morning and practice again (Tuesday) night. A lot of guys are still sort of sluggish and slow. But that's our job as coaches to make players out of them."
USC will scrimmage again Wednesday night.
Many of the same issues present throughout fall camp continue to require fine-tuning, especially on the offensive side of the ball.
All components of the offense have struggled at one or the other this pre-season, Spurrier said. The most consistent position has been running back with senior Cory Boyd and junior Mike Davis.
"I think we've got enough talent here to have a good team," Spurrier said. "But we don't look very good right now. We need to learn how to play a little quicker and faster and smarter. We're not doing that very well right now. We're not very good right now, especially on offense. The ability is there. We just have to get it out."
"Probably the only consistent thing we've had (on offense) is Cory and Mike running the ball. But they're not going to run very far if we can't block. We're not as good as we can be. We were about like this last year."
The race for the backup quarterback job between Chris Smelley and Tommy Beecher is still too close to call after Saturday's scrimmage, Spurrier said.
"One day, one looks pretty good, the next day the other looks better," Spurrier said. "There's not a huge difference right now."
Despite conducting three intra-squad scrimmages thus far, Spurrier is still undecided on who will be the second main receiver in support of Kenny McKinley this fall. "A bunch" of wide receivers were limited by pulled muscles Monday night, Spurrier said.
"We've got a lot of freshmen running around, trying to teach them what to do," Spurrier said. "We're trying to teach Mark Barnes what to do in three or four days. We've got a lot of teaching left. But we have some time."
USC has struggled offensively in both season openers (Central Florida and Mississippi State) under Spurrier since he took over as head coach from Lou Holtz following the 2004 season.
"We'll probably struggle against Louisiana-Lafayette," Spurrier said. "Heck, we're struggling throwing against the air right now. Hopefully, our defense will play and we'll block a punt or run a kick back. There are other ways to win besides offense. I've seen those coaches at Alabama do it for a long time. Play defense and the kicking game. Maybe that's the kind of team we'll be."
With 11 practices remaining, Spurrier said his primary goals for duration of fall camp include finding the best players at each position and teaching the freshman receivers "how to run around."
ERIC NORWOOD NOT SATISFIED: Defensive end Eric Norwood emerged last season out of Atlanta to earn Freshman All-America honors after finishing with 30 tackles and tying for the team high in sacks with seven.
It was a nice start but Norwood says he isn't feeling any pressure from anyone other than himself to better his numbers from last season.
While the 2006 season represented a solid start to his college career, Norwood isn't satisfied.
"There's no pressure at all," Norwood said. "I put the pressure on myself to do better. All that (Freshman) All-America stuff was last year. Hopefully, I'll be on another All-America list by the end of this year. I know the fans think I had a pretty successful year, but in my eyes I know I can do better."
Norwood started fall camp as the starter at bandit end, and has remained steadfast in that position through the first 19 practices. True Freshman Cliff Matthews of Cheraw, S.C. is backing him up.
Norwood enrolled at USC last summer a virtual unknown by most casual USC fans. He graduated from North Cobb High School as one of the top defensive end prospects in the state. He was named Cobb County Defensive Player of the Week six times in his high school career.
"I think I've progressed a whole lot," Norwood said. "Last year, when I came in, I couldn't play fast. I had to think. I had to stand up high and look in the backfield. Now I play with a low pad level and play fast. When I came in, I knew what I could do."
Defensive line coach Brad Lawing quickly recognized Norwood's potential in last season's fall camp and worked with him fervently to prepare him for the ordeal ahead.
"Coach Lawing coached me hard, he pushed me to the limit," Norwood said. "I never broke down. He's helped me a lot. He's a real good coach."
Norwood was mainly utilized as a high-energy, pass-rushing specialist last season. This year, he hopes to play every down at defensive end.
"Pass rushing is cool, getting sacks is cool, but if we don't win the game (it means nothing)," Norwood said. "I know (playing every down) will help my team the most. Take a lot of pride in being a guy who plays with a lot of energy. Guys feed off that and they'll follow it."
Norwood is part of a rapidly improving defensive line that's substantially bigger and stronger than last season. Four true freshmen, including Matthews, and JUCO transfer Jonathan Williams will provide a much-needed boost to the line's depth, joining holdovers like Marque Hall (played just 2 games in 2006), Nathan Pepper, Joel Reaves and possibly Jordin Lindsey, whose eligibility is still pending.
"The depth is pretty good, especially at that tackle spot," Norwood said. "They're going to be able to keep rotating guys in and hopefully they'll flush the quarterbacks out to the ends."
2007 FALL PRACTICE COUNTDOWN
Practices Held - 19
Practices Left - 11
Next Practice - Tue., Aug. 21, 9:30 a.m. (Closed)
-- Jasper Brinkley returned to practice Monday night after sitting out three practices and a scrimmage since suffering an ankle injury last Wednesday night in an inside drill prior to the start of a closed scrimmage.
-- Spurrier said "everybody" on the offensive line played in Saturday's scrimmage. He said the offensive line is about at the same spot it was last year at this time. The three interior spots are still wide open, while Jamon Meredith and Justin Sorensen are the likely starters at tackle, he said.
-- Garrett Anderson and Kevin Young are working at left guard. Anderson is also the third-team center.
-- Spurrier's old friend Ric Flair is in Columbia for WWE Smackdown Tuesday night at The Colonial Center. Spurrier said he had not met with Flair yet. "I've got other things on my mind like trying to make a first down," he said.
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