COLUMBIA -- Eric Norwood stresses that he's not best buds with Clemson running back C.J. Spiller, but the South Carolina linebacker did say he admires Spiller's game.
"I root for him when we're not playing against them," the Butkus Award semifinalist linebacker said. "I'm cool with Spiller. We're cool. I like to watch him play. I just don't want him to have a big game against us."
The Tigers senior will get his shot this week when his team visits Williams-Brice Stadium.
In three years against the Gamecocks, Spiller has rushed 42 times for 352 yards (8.4 yards a carry). Here's an odd Spiller stat: In each of the past two meetings, both Clemson victories, he's rushed 16 times for 88 yards. (It forced a journalist's double-take.)
He ran 10 times for 155 yards against USC as a freshman, in South Carolina's lone victory against him.
Norwood said that was the day the players first bumped heads.
"We talk a lot during the game," he said. "We talk trash."
Since then, they've bonded to some level. Norwood said they worked a camp together once.
What's Norwood think of Spiller's Heisman chances?
"I think if their record was a little better, he'd probably have it," Norwood said.
Reid on mend again
Former walk-on Zac Brindise got second-team snaps at practice Monday night.
"He actually threw the ball around pretty well," head coach Steve Spurrier said.
Typical reserve Reid McCollum missed practice because he has some sort of a virus. McCollum wasn't available for the Ole Miss game, back on Sept. 24, because he had the flu.
"Yeah, he's been sickly this year," Spurrier said of McCollum, the Summerville native. "He's been sick more so than some of the other guys. We need to get him tested."
Junior right tackle Hutch Eckerson (shoulder) was in a non-contact jersey and was limited at practice Monday.
If he can't go, Quintin Richardson would get the start there. Richardson, a redshirt sophomore, started the first four games of the season before being overtaken by Eckerson.
Also related to the line, position coach Eric Wolford said last week (and again Monday) that he expects Pierre Andrews, Seaver Brown and Kevin Young -- all fourth-year juniors -- to be honored Saturday with senior day festivities.
The Gamecocks have several incoming line prospects that will need scholarships.
Norwood said he could see a difference in the energy level at practice Monday after the Gamecocks finally had their open date.
"A lot of guys, you could see they had their legs back under them," he said.
Spurrier said he'd still like to see that bye week come earlier in the fall, as it will next season.
Cliff Matthews was probably a Gamecock that needed the open week. He dislocated his shoulder Oct. 31 at Tennessee, returning two weeks ago against Florida in a limited role.
"He should be very close to 100 percent," Spurrier said.
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