Gamecocks spring football preview: RBs

February 22, 2012 

South Carolina Gamecocks running back Brandon Wilds (22) heads upfield on a run in the second quarter of the Gamecocks game against Florida at Williams-Brice Stadium, Saturday, November 12, 2011.

GERRY MELENDEZ — gmelendez@thestate.com

The glow of the historic 11-win season and another top 20 signing class will shine on South Carolina’s football team for just a while longer. But, in the second week of March, it will be back to business for the Gamecocks as they begin spring practice and work toward the annual Garnet and Black game, which is scheduled for April 14 in Williams-Brice Stadium. That process starts with spring practice. South Carolina lost nine players who started the Capital One Bowl on Jan. 2 so there will be plenty of starting jobs up for grabs this spring.

RUNNING BACKS

New running backs coach Everette Sands may have to take some carries himself this spring because he doesn’t have very many healthy bodies.

Star Marcus Lattimore is not expected to be ready to participate after having reconstructive knee surgery in the fall to repair torn ligaments. Shon Carson, who won the No. 2 job last year, tore his ACL in September so if he’s back it won’t be at full speed.

If Kenny Miles, who as of this month was still contemplating a transfer, doesn’t participate in spring practice, Sands will only have two running backs – Brandon Wilds and Joshua Blue.

Wilds filled in admirably after Lattimore’s injury and had three 100-yard rushing games, but only two healthy tailbacks will make drill work difficult in what are the most physical practices of the year.

The fullbacks won’t be able to provide much help. Matt Coffee, who tore his ACL in the same game as Lattimore, won’t participate in spring practice, leaving walk-ons Connor McLaurin and Jacob Baker as the only fullbacks.

RBs who'll be on campus during spring practice

Marcus Lattimore, Jr. (injured)
Shon Carson, Fr. (injured)
Brandon Wilds, So.
Kenny Miles, Sr.
Joshua Blue, So.
Matt Coffee, Jr. (injured)
Jacob Baker, Sr.
Connor McLaurin, So.

(Signees Mike Davis and Kendric Salley are set to enroll in school this summer.)

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