August 29, 2007

Smelley confident about first career start

Chris Smelley has been on the South Carolina campus for barely more than a year.

So, his big chance to impress Steve Spurrier and the 82,000 Gamecock fans set to pack Williams-Brice Stadium Saturday night shouldn't have arrived this quickly.

But it's here.

With starter Blake Mitchell suspended for missing too many classes, Smelley will make his first career start for USC in the season opener against Louisiana-Lafayette in three days.

"I feel really excited," Smelley said. "It's a good opportunity to get out on the field for the first time and show everybody what I've got. I'm confident I can go out there and put the team in a position to win."

While Mitchell, a fifth-year senior with 17 career starts, will be missed from an experience standpoint, Smelley believes he's won the confidence of USC's veteran players with a solid showing in practice over the last four weeks.

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