The 2013 South Carolina Gamecock football team will have a different look than the one of 2012. Gone is star running back Marcus Lattimore, who has entered this year’s NFL Draft. Lattimore has fortunately recovered from an ACL tear in his left knee he suffered last season in late October against Tennessee. South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier had high praise for the former Gamecock star.
The two running backs who will take over for the loss of Lattimore are sophomore Mike Davis and redshirt sophomore Brandon Wilds. Davis had 52 carries for 275 yards as a freshman last season, while Wilds took over on Lattimore’s first knee injury in 2011 and finished the year with three rushing touchdowns and even caught 15 passes averaging nine yards per reception.
Also gone are the starting linebackers for USC. Included in that group is Shaq Williams, who had 45 total tackles in 2012, and Reginald Bowers who had an impressive 11 total tackles against Florida last season. Spurrier says that this gave young players a chance to step up during the spring.
One very positive note for the Gamecocks is the return of defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. Clowney did not participate in spring practice or the spring game for South Carolina due to a neck injury, but he should be on track in time to play in fall camp. Clowney had an impressive campaign in 2012, racking up a school-record 13 sacks on the season, and was the first sophomore to win the Hendricks Award, given to the nation’s most outstanding defensive end. Clowney had arguably the most exciting play during bowl season last year, with a monster hit to Michigan running back Vincent Smith in last season’s Outback Bowl.
South Carolina’s quarterback situation has seemingly been uncertain under Spurrier; last season senior Connor Shaw was the usual starter for USC, but his backup Dylan Thompson got frequent reps throughout games. Shaw was injured for two games last year, in which Thompson started and did well, throwing for over 300 yards in both games. Spurrier says that he is used to using two guys under center, even citing his use of two QBs in his years coaching at Florida.
While spring football games for any team is exciting for the fans, who get a glimpse of what their team will look like in the upcoming season, Spurrier downplays the event. He says that for him it’s not a huge deal mainly because he missed most of his spring games in his years as a quarterback at Florida.
South Carolina begins its season in just about four months on August 29th against the UNC Tar Heels.
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