Notebook: Bruised hip will limit Lattimore in practice

USC looks to shore up run defense after loss

jkendall@thestate.comOctober 14, 2012 

Junior running back Marcus Lattimore will miss “two or three days” of practice this week due to a bruised hip, coach Steve Spurrier said Sunday.

Lattimore rushed 13 times for 35 yards Saturday in a 23-21 loss to LSU and, like many of his teammates, took a physical beating for his trouble. The Gamecocks play at No. 3 Florida on Saturday.

“He should be ready,” Spurrier said. “Marcus is bruised up a little bit, but overall we came out without any out-for-two-or-three-week type injuries.”

Lattimore is sixth in the SEC in rushing with 83.4 yards per game.

Defensive tackles Kelcy Quarles (shoulder) and J.T. Surratt (ankle) are questionable after being injured against the Tigers.

Bowled over

South Carolina’s opponents were averaging 10.5 points per game before Saturday night. LSU more than doubled that total, and it’s because the Gamecocks could not hold up against the Tigers’ power running attack.

LSU rushed for 258 yards, which is 34 percent of the total South Carolina has surrendered in seven games.

“We talked about it going into the game, if we stopped the run, we felt like we had a chance to win,” defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward said. “If we didn’t, we knew it was going to be a long night.”

The Tigers rolled over USC in waves. Five LSU backs carried the ball, and Jeremy Hill delivered the decisive blow with a 50-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

“We had some players in position, and we didn’t make the plays we needed to make,” Ward said. “It’s my job as the defensive coordinator to get them better, so we’ll definitely go back to work (today) and see if we can correct the mistakes.”

No. 3 Florida, which South Carolina plays Saturday, also is paced by its power running game. The Gators, who are led on the ground by tailback Mike Gillislee and quarterback Jeff Driskel, are second in the SEC in rushing with 233 yards per game.

“We always want to be able to learn whether we win or lose in a ball game,” Ward said. “Our job as coaches is to correct the mistakes. We have good players, and they’ll come to work on Monday. We’ll bounce back.”

Ward did not blame fatigue for his defense’s performance. LSU ran 78 offensive plays while South Carolina ran 60.

“When the defense is on the field, it’s our fault,” Ward said. “We weren’t very good on third down. We have to get off the field on third down. We want to eliminate the plays we played on defense, we have to get off the field.”

More bend than break

The Gamecocks continued their stout red zone defense, allowing LSU one touchdown and three field goals from inside the 20-yard line. It was the lone bright spot in a disappointing night for Ward.

“We try to make sure that we really raise our level when we are in the red zone,” he said. “We got down there too many times, but I thought they did well when we were down there.”

South Carolina is second in the SEC in red zone defense.

Extra points

Steve Spurrier rose to second in games coached at South Carolina (97). He broke a tie with Paul Dietzel, who was recognized during the first half at LSU on Saturday night. Dietzel coached the Gamecocks and Tigers. … Center T.J. Johnson, who has started every game the past four seasons, will set the school record for career starts with 48 next week. He is tied with Cliff Matthews (47). … Cornerback Jimmy Legree has returned his two interceptions a combined 104 yards this season. He scored one touchdown and advanced the other to the 1-yard line.

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