Tag:Marcus Lattimore
Posted on: November 22, 2010 6:04 pm
Edited on: November 22, 2010 7:06 pm

2010 Doak Walker finalists announced

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Here are your three finalists for the 2010 Doak Walker Award, given annually to the nation's top running back:

  • John Clay, Wisconsin: 172 carries, 929 yards, 13 TDs
  • Kendall Hunter, Oklahoma State: 248 carries, 1461 yards, 16 TDs
  • LaMichael James, Oregon: 225 carries, 1422 yards, 17 TDs

This process seems to be little more than a formality, as James is currently the nation's top yards-per-game rusher leading the nation's top-scoring offense on the nation's top-ranked team. If he doesn't win this award, there should be an immediate federal investigation. I am only mostly kidding.

The big question, of course, is what in the world is Clay doing on this list? Yes, he has missed two games, so his overall totals are going to be a bit underwhelming. But even taking that into account, Clay is only 19th in the nation (17th among running backs) in rushing yards per game; he's outperformed by Marcus Lattimore, Mikel LeShoure, and many other tailbacks. Clay's barely even the most productive running back on his own team; freshman teammate James White has 34 fewer yards on 44 fewer carries, and just as many rushing touchdowns. And teammate Montee Ball is currently outperforming both of them; in the three November games played thus far, Ball has rushed for 467 yards and nine scores.

Yes, Wisconsin's rushing game is a thing of terrible beauty at times, and it warrants praise and recognition, but this isn't a team award. And even if it's a deadbolt lock that LaMichael James takes this trophy home in December, it still would have been nice of the committee to offer up three actually worthy candidates.

Posted on: November 20, 2010 11:42 pm

What I Learned from the SEC (Nov. 20)

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

1. South Carolina learned its lesson. The last time Carolina won a game as big as last week's SEC East-clinching victory over Florida , they had downed No. 1 Alabama before going out the following week and laying their biggest egg of the season against Kentucky . Now, sure, the Gamecocks got a lot of help early on from a Troy team that for some reason played like a nervous team with lots to lose rather than the massive underdog with nothing to lose they were. But the previously-hapless Gamecock secondary held a statistically potent Trojan passing attack entirely in check, the Marcus Lattimore -led offense ruthlessly punished every Troy mistake, and by halftime it was already 56-7, 'Cocks . Not only did Carolina avoid the letdown, but they looked ready to give Auburn all they want and more when the SEC championship game rolls around in two weeks.

2. It's time to put the defense-first image of the SEC to bed for good. Maybe the SEC really is home to better athletes, maybe they really do hire better coaches, maybe they take defense more seriously than some other conferences ... but none of that, even if true, is making a lick of difference on the field at the moment. This week gave us only four games between SEC teams and FBS competition, and those four games produced 268 total points (in regulation) and as average score of 42-25. And that 's with Tennessee and Vanderbilt battling to a low-fi 24-10 Volunteer win, and the conference's best offense and ninth-ranked defense at Auburn taking the week off.

You get the point: very few teams in this league are playing defense. When even the consensus best unit in the league -- LSU's entered the weekend No. 1 in total defense at 274 yards per-game -- is getting gashed for 36 points and 420 yards at home against the conference's No. 5 offense, the SEC's image as a collection of grind-it-out attacks and impregnable defenses is officially as current as Bob Dole . If SEC fans want to argue their conference is superior, fine. If they want to argue their conference is superior because of the SEC's brand of defense, they need to acquire a clue.

3. LSU should be an underdog going to Arkansas. Full kudos to Les Miles for exorcising his clock management demons , but it's the Hogs who appear to be playing the better football at the moment after surviving what might have been Mississippi State 's best performance of the season on the road in Starkville while the previously stout LSU defense was busy getting gashed by the up-and-down Rebels. If Masoli and Co. can do that in Baton Rouge, what can Ryan Mallett and the suddenly scorching-hot Knile Davis do in Fayetteville?

(And while we're playing the transitive property game, the latest compelling evidence of how much stronger the West is than the East? The Razorbacks went to the East champion three weeks ago and rolled to an easy win. Then they went to the fifth-place team in the West tonight and were fortunate to escape with a double-overtime win.)

4. This Tyler Bray kid might just be one worth watching. Not that you'd expect it from his taste in tattoos , but the skinny kid from California has taken to SEC football like a duck to some very forgiving water. No, the pass defenses of South Carolina, Ole Miss, and Vanderbilt aren't the most intimidating the conference has to offer. But after another productive outing in Nashville (16-of-27, 232 yards, 8.6 yards-per-attempt, 2 touchdowns), Bray has collected some seriously impressive numbers in his last three league performances: 43-of-76 (57 percent completion rate), 714 yards (9.4 YPA), 7 touchdowns to just 3 interceptions.

And he's a true freshman. If Derek Dooley can keep his head on straight and his brittle-looking body remains intact, Bray should be one of the SEC's best in due time ... and maybe as soon as 2011. (As for 2010,the Vols are one win against Kentucky away from scraping their way to a bowl berth. Not bad considering they stood at 2-6 not so long ago.)

Posted on: November 13, 2010 11:06 pm

What I learned from the SEC (Nov. 13)

Posted by Tom Fornelli

1. South Carolina and Auburn will battle for the SEC title in Atlanta. It's official, even though the game is three weeks away, we know that no matter what happens from here on out, South Carolina and Auburn are headed to Atlanta to square off for the SEC Championship.  It'll be the first time since 2004 that the game didn't feature Florida, Alabama or LSU.   Coincidentally, that's also the last time Auburn played in the game, beating Tennessee 38-28.

2. Sources tell me Cam Newton is still awesome.   Distractions?  What the hell is a distraction?  Cam Newton sure didn't play like a kid who spent the last week dealing with the media circus surrounding his NCAA investigation.  Newton finished the day with 299 total yards and four touchdowns during Auburn's 49-31 win over Georgia.

3. I worry about Marcus Lattimore's future. Listen, I totally understand why Steve Spurrier and South Carolina choose to ride Lattimore's back.  The kid is a beast, and he completely changes the Gamecocks offense.  Still, when I see him get 41 carries on Saturday night -- along with 38 against Georgia earlier this season -- I do worry that he'll be worn out by the end of his college career.  We've all seen in the past at places like Wisconsin what happens to running backs who carry the ball hundreds of times in their college career when they get to the NFL.  I just hope Lattimore doesn't suffer the same fate.

4. The Cam Newton Saga seemed to have a bigger effect on Mississippi State.
  Newton played like Cam Newton against Georgia, but Mississippi State played like a team that should have coughed up the dough on Saturday night.  Sure, Alabama -- a ticked off Alabama team at that -- had a lot to do with it, but the Bulldogs didn't look very good in their 30-10 loss.

5. Tennessee has its quarterback. Who would have thought back in September or early October that Tennessee would have a chance to go bowling this season?  I certainly didn't, but thanks to the continued rise of Tyler Bray and his back tattoo, the Vols have played incredibly well the last few weeks.  Bray threw for 323 yards and 3 touchdowns as Tennessee destroyed Ole Miss 52-14.  Now, if the Vols can manage to win their last two games against Vanderbilt and Kentucky -- which isn't all that crazy -- they'll finish the season 6-6 and be bowl eligible.

6. Florida's offense is still terrible.
  Listen, you may have been fooled by seeing Florida score 41 points against Vanderbilt last week, and some pollsters might have been as well, but I wasn't.  An offense that has struggled all season did so again on Saturday night, managing a paltry 226 yards and 14 points against a Gamecocks defense that gave up 24 points to Tennessee, and 31 to Kentucky.  If Steve Addazzio survives this season, then somebody is going to burn Gainesville to the ground.
Posted on: November 13, 2010 8:57 pm

Gamecocks in control in Gainesville

Posted by Tom Fornelli

When looking at the score at halftime in Gainesville. you'd see South Carolina is up 15-7 on Florida and think that it's a tight, evenly-contested game.  You'd be wrong.  It may be one of the most misleading scores of the season, as South Carolina has just about dominated this one from the 14:46 mark of the first quarter on.

Things started out as well as Florida can hope, with Andre DeBose taking the opening kick back 99 yards for a touchdown.  The problem is, Florida's offense has only been able to manage 51 yards of its own since.  Three-and-out after three-and-out has been the offensive gameplan for Florida, and it's drawn some boos from the home crowd already.

The good news for Florida is that, although South Carolina has put up 209 yards of offense, it's only managed to score one touchdown and three field goals.  Still, the Gamecocks have dominated time of possession, holding on to the ball for nearly 22 of the game's first 30 minutes.  Marcus Lattimore has already carried the ball 21 times for 89 yards and a touchdown.

Which means that Florida better figure out a way to stop him, or just hope he dies of exhaustion at some point in the fourth quarter.
Posted on: November 8, 2010 1:27 pm

Urban Meyer wants the most intense Blue Out ever

Posted by Tom Fornelli

In any other year, having a 4-3 record in the SEC would have you bound for the Chik-Fil-A or Gator Bowl, but not this year.  No, in 2010, thanks to an SEC East division gone ham, 4-3 is good enough to have you playing for a division title.  Which is exactly where Florida finds itself this week, as its game against South Carolina in The Swamp this weekend is for a trip to Atlanta and the SEC Championship.

The Swamp hasn't been as kind to the Gators this season, as Florida is only 3-2 at home, and 1-2 against SEC opponents.  So in other words, there's just something missing from The Swamp's ecosystem, and Urban Meyer has figured out what that is.  The Swamp NEEDS MORE BLUE.

"I've never really done this, but I want to make this the most intense stadium in the history of Florida football this Saturday," said the coach on his weekly television show. "This is for the SEC Championship.

"Get there early. I want everybody to wear blue — head to toe — including our players."

Yes, we all saw how well the Black Out at Rice-Eccles Stadium worked for Utah against TCU, so surely this is exactly what the Gators need to take care of the Gamecocks and get to Atlanta.  I would think that a better option for the Gators would be to kidnap Marcus Lattimore, or have a few cases of Icehouse delivered to Stephen Garcia on Friday night.

Or, if that goes against Urban's moral compass, I guess he could call the New York Times and tell them that Steve Spurrier paid $200,000 for Lattimore.
Posted on: October 30, 2010 3:43 pm
Edited on: October 30, 2010 3:44 pm

Carolina survives, pressure on Gators, Dawgs

Posted on Jerry Hinnen

For once, it appears that the famed late-season "Chicken Curse" afflicting South Carolina -- which seemed to rear its ugly head in the first half of their match-up with Tennessee -- has passed the Gamecocks by, for at least a week. If any team was cursed in the second half, it was Tennessee, who 1. lost fumbles on two of their first three possessions of the half, including a muffed punt 2. saw Tyler Bray throw a simple pick-six on the other possession early in the half 3. had a punt bounce off the leg of a Carolina player setting up a punt return ... directly into the arms of a second Gamecock player.

Ultimately, though, it's not luck that has players like Alshon Jeffery and Marcus Lattimore on the Gamecock roster, and it was those two who made the difference. Jeffery turned a routine 10-yard slant route into a 70-yard touchdown after Bray had tied the game at 24 with a rope of a touchdown to Denarius Moore , giving Carolina a 31-24 lead. Lattimore made sure it stood up, punishing the Vols on an 8-play, 77-yard touchdown drive that sealed the win. Tennessee can feel good about Bray's surprising performance (9-of-15, 2 TDs) and that they didn't fold when Carolina appeared to take control of the game in the third quarter, but the team with Jeffery and Lattimore was always going to be the better team today.

As a result, the pressure is on Georgia and Florida -- with Carolina's win, it's official that the loser of today's World's Largest Cocktail Party is out of the SEC East race . For the Dawgs and Gators, it's win, or go metaphorically home.

Posted on: October 30, 2010 1:47 pm
Edited on: October 30, 2010 1:48 pm

Chicken Curse threatening Gamecocks. Again.

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

No one would have disputed coming into this weekend that South Carolina -- despite being the odds-on favorite to win the SEC East even after their stunning loss to Kentucky -- had a long way to go to finally shake their penchant for late-season collapses and the so-called "Chicken Curse" that's haunted them every time they've enjoyed even a little prosperity.

But the Curse was supposed to at least wait until next week, when the 'Cocks took on Arkansas . This week was supposed to be a gimme, a lay-up, with Carolina hosting Tennessee , a team winless in SEC play that had lost their last two games by 58 points.

But behind Matt Simms ' best performance of the season to-date, the Vols have had other ideas. Simms has gone 9-of-12 for 148 yards and a nifty touchdown to Luke Stocker , leading Tennessee into a 10-10 halftime tie on the road. The Vols could even be ahead if not for a disastrous sequence following a first-and-goal at the Carolina 6, when Tennessee went backwards on two plays before a third-down sack and Simms fumble helped set up a Carolina touchdown drive.

But we've seen this movie before when it comes to the Vols, who have put together solid first halves against teams like Oregon and Alabama before their razor-thin depth chart caught up with them late in the game. It won't help that Marcus Lattimore appears to be fully over his ankle injury, running for a tough 92 first-half yards and adding another 26 as a receiver.

So Carolina remains the prohibitive favorite. But given their history, the Gamecock faithful have to be sweating a bit at the moment.

Posted on: October 28, 2010 11:55 am
Edited on: October 28, 2010 12:02 pm

Hide ya kids, hide ya wife: Lattimore is 100%

Posted by Chip Patterson

Marcus Lattimore is a measty (man+beast) individual with very focused goals on demolishing anything that stands in his way.  His running style is a perfectly blissful combination of evasion and force, he can accelerate through closing gaps or bounce off defenders like a pinball.  He has been a crucial piece of the Gamecocks' success, but the health of the true freshman became a concern after missing South Carolina's 21-7 victory over Vanderbilt while nursing a sprained ankle he suffered in the loss to Kentucky.  South Carolina welcomes Tennessee to Columbia on Saturday, with the Volunteers still searching for their first conference win.  Unfortunately for Derek Dooley's squad, Lattimore appears to have the green light to unleash hell on earth.

Lattimore said after practice Wednesday that he feels "100 percent."  He is anxious after watching backup Brian Maddox rush for a career high 146 yards against the Commodores, a game that Lattimore feels he could have suited up for, but as starting quarterback Stephen Garcia pointed out Lattimore can be just as dangerous catching passes out of the backfield.  With so much attention on the wide receivers downfield, Lattimore can catch balls in open space and use his running ability to break a big play.  Against Kentucky, Lattimore racked up 133 yards receiving, including a 47 yard reception for a touchdown.

So Lattimore is healthy, and has all of his weapons fine tuned to help the Gamecocks make a run at the SEC Championship.  I suggest that the remaining opponents of the Gamecocks hide y-...well, you get the idea.   

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