Junior Marcus Lattimore doesn’t have anything to hide. Stepping up to the press conference podium after the 17-13 victory over Vanderbilt last week, he said he was nervous about the first hit. Consequently, he fumbled and gave the Commodores the ball in good field position.
Marcus Lattimore was the SEC Offensive Player of the Week after rushing for 110 yards on 23 carries and two touchdowns in South Carolina's 17-13 win at Vanderbilt.
Lattimore, however, rebounded and put forth an SEC Offensive Player of the Week performance rushing for 110 yards on 23 carries. He scored the only two touchdowns of the night for the Gamecocks (1-0, 1-0) and also caught three passes for 21 yards.
While Lattimore didn’t speak to the media on Wednesday, running backs coach Everette Sands said that the Heisman hopeful was a bit sore on Friday, the day after the game, but is doing “fine” now as the team prepares to take on East Carolina this Saturday at 12:21 p.m. on the SEC Network.
“He started off really, really slow,” Sands said, laughing. “I was not really happy with his first carry but after that, he did come back in and pick it up so if I take the first carry out of it he graded out pretty good.”
As the game went along last week, Lattimore began to settle in. He had a couple of long runs and critical first down receptions. He made some nifty cuts when he needed to, plowed through a tackle or two, and also showed the vision he’s become known for nationally.
By game’s end, Lattimore looked like his pre-injury self.
“You could see as the game went along that he got more confident so I think that he is in a good mindset right now,” Sands said.
Lattimore and the Gamecocks return to the practice field on Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m. Practices are closed to the public.
Q&A with Sands
What did you think of Marcus Lattimore’s night?
He started off really, really slow. (Laughs) I was not really happy with his first carry but after that, he did come back in and pick it up so if I take the first carry out of it he graded out pretty good.
Where you pleased to see him showing the strength in his legs late in the game when people were trying to tackle to him?
This game right here was the pinnacle to the scrimmages because with the scrimmages, he became more and more confident but he still only got about six or seven carries. Now after being tackled time and time again, you could see as the game went along that he got more confident so I think that he is in a good mindset right now.
How was he the day after and moving forward?
On Friday, he was a little sore but as the week has gone on, he has been fine.
How is Kenny Miles and will he be back?
Kenny is doing OK. He will play. It was just a bruise.
And Brandon (Wilds)?
Brandon is OK. He ran around a little bit today with the trainer. He is day to day and we hope to get him back soon.
Are you pleased with the production of Qua Gilchrest at fullback?
Fairly pleased, the one thing there is he is getting it done but the think I want to see is the consistency. He was a linebacker until March so he is still learning the position but getting that consistency and then just seeing him exploding through people the way he can. It is coming.
With Mike playing now, do you really move him into the rotation or do you work to get him more prepared?
You will see him appearing a little bit more. We will get him ready on special teams some and in the rotation.
How is Mike Davis after last week?
He is third string right now. He saw last week that he has to get his mind right after last week. I think he sort of got caught by surprise a little. He was thinking that he is the third guy and that he may not get in and then all of a sudden he had to get in and I am not sure he was as prepared mentality as he could have been.
Do you think he is more prepared for this week?
He is much more focused than he was. His situation is a little different because three weeks ago he had Brandon Wilds and Shon Carson in front of him and he was thinking he was going to get redshirted this year. Then a couple things happened and he was third string and now traveling and then the reality really hit, “Whoa, I’m on a couple plays away from playing,” but his focus has been a lot better this week.
Do you think the offense was a little surprised at how physical or how fast the Vanderbilt defense was?
I don’t know if we took them lightly but we didn’t execute as well as we could have. Not to take away anything from Vanderbilt, but I know we did not execute as well as we could have.