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Steve Spurrier: Marcus Lattimore may not play vs. Gators, Kenny Miles to start

By Jerry Hinnen | College Football Writer

Unless Steve Spurrier is taking midweek gamesmanship against his old team to a whole new level, his South Carolina backfield may be sevely shorthanded come Saturday's visit to the Swamp.

From the Twitter feed of The State reporter Josh Kendall:

The State had already reported that Lattimore had not practiced Tuesday. The junior is one of many key Gamecocks -- including Jadeveon Clowney, who is nursing a foot injury, and defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles -- dealing with health issues.

But at this stage it's Lattimore who seems to be in the most danger of missing the Gamecocks' critical SEC on CBS matchup against Florida, one that could put them firmly in the driver's seat in the SEC East. Spurrier added that he "didn't know how to list" Lattimore's status, with running backs coach Everette Sands saying he believes Lattimore can help as a backup to Miles.

South Carolina's chances will obviously take a sizable hit if Lattimore is anything other than the bellcow runner he's been for nearly every game of his three-season career when healthy. In 2012, Lattimore has more than tripled the number of carries of his two backups, Miles and freshman Mike Davis, and easily doubled their yardage.

Miles has not found much success in his limited action, averaging only 3.7 yards per attempt with one touchdown. The senior and longtime Lattimore understudy has not averaged more than 4 yards per carry since his freshman season in 2009.

Which means that if Lattimore doesn't play, is forced into a limited role, or even "loses a step" -- as Florida safety Josh Evans proclaimed he already had Tuesday -- the Gamecocks could find a ground game very hard to come by in Gainesville. Even with Lattimore (who finished with only 35 yards on 13 carries), the Gamecocks rushing attack in their loss to LSU was virtually nonexistent, totaling only 34 yards on 25 attempts.

In short: Lattimore might have been the one Gamecock (other than quarterback Connor Shaw) Spurrier could least afford to lose. The next two days of his tailback's recovery could prove to be the difference between a divisional title or another season that falls agonizingly short.

 
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