Marcus Lattimore is expected to be at full strength on Saturday, and he might be a very busy man.
Saturdays opponent, Tennessee, is 12th in the SEC in rushing defense (allowing more than 186 yards per game), and South Carolina is eager to get its running game out of slow motion. The Gamecocks have rushed for 70 yards, 48 of it from Lattimore, in the last two games.
Lattimore was limited to three carries and 13 yards against Florida due to a bruised hip and lower back. The injury was first reported as a hip bruise, but Lattimore said after the game that his back was the main problem.
It was a bruise in the upper hip area, butt, lower back, Spurrier said. I think it was a little bit of everything in there according to our trainer, but hell be fine.
If Lattimore is able to practice this week, which he said Saturday night he would be, he will start against the Volunteers, Spurrier said. Lattimore could have played more against the Gators, but there was no need because Florida built a lead so quickly, Spurrier said.
When the score got out of hand there, 28-6 or something, we just felt like it would be stupid to get him hurt, Spurrier said. Our running game wasnt going very far and our passing game wasnt going far. It just seemed smart to save him until the Tennessee game so thats what we decided to do.
The injury news was not as good for freshman defensive back T.J. Gurley. Spurrier confirmed Sunday that Gurley tore a knee ligament while covering a punt and will miss the rest of the season. Since filling in for a suspended D.J. Swearinger against Missouri, Gurley has been used mainly on special teams this season.
Very unfortunate, promising young player, but hell be back next year, hopefully bigger and stronger and ready to play, Spurrier said.
It was not bad luck that caused the Gamecocks to fumble four times, losing three of those, against Florida, Spurrier said.
I noticed some of those Florida guys said our return guys hold it loosely in one hand, Spurrier said. Give Florida credit, they made some good, clean hits, slapped at the ball, perfectly legal, and we couldnt hold on. Hopefully, we can learn from it and hold onto the ball a lot better as go through the season.
As coaches we better teach the players how to hold onto it.
Offensive line shakeup
Spurrier was uncertain Sunday if there would be more shuffling along the offensive line this week, saying the decision would be made solely by offensive line coach Shawn Elliott.
Elliott replaced regular starters A.J. Cann (guard) and Brandon Shell (tackle) with Kyle Harris and Mike Matulis to start the Florida game, but Shell and Cann returned in the lineup in the first half and played most of the second half at their normal spots.
That was just based on performance the week before, Spurrier said. I like giving guys opportunity. If the first guy is not doing it, give somebody else a chance. Well see how it goes in practice this week.
There are a lot of teams out there that would like to be 6-2. We dont need to feel sorry for ourselves, it was just embarrassing to lay the ball on the ground down in The Swamp yesterday. -- Spurrier