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Gamecocks QB race has Tampa flavor

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Andrew Clifford was pretty up front about it: He's trying to get noticed in South Carolina's backup quarterback battle.

But after his play in Saturday's scrimmage, coach Steve Spurrier said the redshirt freshman from Tampa's Wharton High might be challenging starter and redshirt junior Stephen Garcia — from Tampa's Jefferson High.

Clifford completed his first six passes, finished 10-of-13 for 86 yards and led a scoring drive.

"I was just trying to complete every ball. That's what I've got to do to get noticed," Clifford said. "I was all right. I struggled a little bit in the end but started out good.

"I've just got to be more consistent, and I'll be all right."

Clifford and redshirt junior Zac Brindise (5-of-8 for 72 yards) outplayed Garcia and freshman Connor Shaw. Afterward, Spurrier was asked if Clifford and Brindise, the brother of former Florida quarterback Noah Brindise, made waves in the battle to be the top backup.

"They were in contention for the starting job," Spurrier said. "They were the two best out here."

While a lot has to happen for Clifford to displace Garcia, he might have earned himself more practice snaps. Shaw has been getting the majority after Garcia.

"We've just got to be ready to play at all times because you never know with Coach Spurrier. He'll push you in whenever," Clifford said. "It'll be at any random time. So you've just got to stay ready, stay loose on the sidelines."

UCF suspends nine

ORLANDO — UCF coach George O'Leary suspended nine players indefinitely for missing classes. They included juniors Kamar Aiken and A.J. Guyton, who led the Knights in receiving last season with 610 and 572 yards, respectively.

Also missing Saturday's scrimmage were three freshmen: receiver Nico Flores, running back Jonathan Davis and defensive back A.J. Bouye. The other four players were not disclosed.

"They've got to obey the rules," said O'Leary, who did not set a timeline for the players' return. "They're suspended indefinitely until they start doing the things they're supposed to do."

UConn: Daneisha Freeman, the girlfriend of slain cornerback Jasper Howard, gave birth to their daughter, Ja'Miya Tia Howard, on Saturday night in Miami. John Lomax III awaits a murder trial for allegedly stabbing Howard in October.

Gamecocks QB race has Tampa flavor 03/28/10 [Last modified: Sunday, March 28, 2010 9:37pm]
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