SOUTH CAROLINA: The Gamecocks will hold their final practice open to the public tonight with a full-contact session at Williams-Brice Stadium.
Coach Brad Scott said the players "seemed to respond well to the first day of full pads. I was impressed with the competition I'm seeing at the running back position.
"Boo Williams will give Troy Hambrick all he wants, and I like what I saw out of the true freshman, Antione Nesmith, at fullback," Scott said.
GEORGIA SOUTHERN: The Eagles completed their first workout in pads Friday morning before finishing the day with a rain-shortened one-hour session in shorts, shoulder pads and helmets.
Junior starter Greg Hill and redshirt freshman J.R. Revere have seen the most work at quarterback.
Coach Paul Johnson plans two-a-day practices through Thursday heading toward the season opener on Sept. 5 against Elon.
OHIO STATE: Three of Ohio State's top players -- including Lombardi and Butkus Award winner Andy Katzenmoyer -- have yet to meet academic requirements and could be ineligible this season.
"It's a main concern for whoever's a sports fan or a Buckeye fan, but I'm going to take care of business and be out there Sept. 5," Katzenmoyer said.
He must meet a 2.0 grade-point average by passing summer classes in music, golf and AIDS awareness.
Katzenmoyer, a first-team All-American linebacker, All-Big Ten safety Damon Moore and second-team all-conference offensive guard Rob Murphy probably will miss some of Ohio State's workouts for its Sept. 5 opener at West Virginia.
"I'm obviously not happy about it," Ohio State coach John Cooper said Friday. "I'm not happy whenever we have some players who miss practice."
If the three, all sociology majors, are unable to play, it will be a blow to a Buckeye team that returns almost all its starters from last year's 10-3 squad and figures to be one of the best this season.
AUBURN: Even before preseason practice begins today, coach Terry Bowden has announced that sophomore tailback Demontray Carter has been demoted to No. 2 on the depth chart. It's because Carter has a lot to prove in the classroom, Bowden said.
Junior Cencade Pennington will start preseason practice as the No. 1 tailback and unless Carter's attitude improved, it would stay that way, Bowden said.
McNEESE STATE: Junior running back Cecil Collins, kicked off LSU's team after he was accused of pushing into a female student's apartment and fondling a woman who objected, will play for McNeese State this year.
Since McNeese State is in Division II-A and LSU is in Division I, Collins can play immediately.
Cowboys coach Bobby Keesler said he expects to take some heat for his decision to give Collins another chance. But, he said, he can help Collins get his life back in order, and Collins is innocent until proven guilty.
Collins, who rushed for 7,833 yards and 99 touchdowns at Leesville (La.) High, said the decision to play at McNeese was easy because it's close to home.
MARYLAND: As the University of Maryland football team opens preseason practice today, head coach Ron Vanderlinden knows the Terrapins will need to work hard to combat the daunting problems of inexperience and lack of depth.
Luckily, they've gotten a head start.
Speaking at the team's annual media day, Vanderlinden said that 61 players spent most of the summer working out on campus, and that about 95 percent are expected to pass his rigorous fitness test, which includes running and weight lifting. Last year, that number was below 50 percent.
After going 2-9 last season, they are picked to finish last in the Atlantic Coast Conference, and haven't posted a winning ACC record since 1990, also the last year they played in a bowl game.
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