Mitchell: What's Wrong with South Carolina
South Carolina RB Marcus Lattimore
South Carolina RB Marcus Lattimore
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Oct 3, 2011


Instead of getting arguably the running back of a generation, we are served one hapless Stephen Garcia, as he continues along his Fall Quarterback Tour of Ineptitude. Lollapaturnover.

CFN Analysis 

5 Thoughts, Oct. 3 

- Fiutak: Will LSU vs. Bama be for the title?
- Cirminiello: Russell Wilson is what the game needs 
- Zemek: The time problem at South Carolina
- Sallee: Georgia is back in the SEC title hunt
- Mitchell: What's wrong with South Carolina
- Harrison: What went wrong with Ohio State  

By Russ Mitchell
Follow me on Twitter @russmitchellcfb

That one can merely suggest with a straight face that South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore might be the best SEC running back since Herschel tells you everything you need to know about what a special player the Gamecocks have.

Heading into Saturday's tilt with Auburn, the Gamecocks were undefeated when their 6-0, 236 pound true sophomore got more than 16 carries - 2010 or 2011. Conversely, they had failed to win any game in which he received 16 or fewer carries.

Add to the mix a fifth-year senior quarterback playing like a fifth-year freshman (thank you, Mr. Sweigart), and it would seem pretty evident the best course of action for Head Ball Coach Steve Spurrier would be to hitch a wagon to Mr. Lattimore and run him, run him, and run him some more.

But that's apparently evident to everyone but Spurrier - at least at the wrong time.

Lattimore only got 17 carries in the loss, after leading the nation in rushes over the first three games.

Instead, USC's offense featured Stephen Garcia's Fall Quarterback Tour of Ineptitude, or Lollapaturnover.

With a stat line of 9-of-23 (39%) for 160 yards, one touchdown, two costly interceptions, and a bevy of bonehead decisions - but, to be fair, also running well and coming close to getting the O in a position for a field goal - Garcia struggled.

Auburn has quarterback issues of its own...so Gene Chizik did the responsible thing and ran his star running back, Michael Dyer, a whopping 41 times for 141 yards (3.4 ypc) and buckets of all-important minutes. Mr. Lattimore? 66 yards on those 17 carries (3.9 ypc).

Auburn is the ranked 80th in the nation in total offense and is almost 100th in passing offense – all the Tigers have is the run, and run they did. However, here's the stat that will fester in the minds of Gamecock fans: Auburn's rushing defense is 109th in the nation out of 120.

Auburn's run D is near dead last in the country and Spurrier ran the best tailback of a generation only 17 times.  

"No sir, the ball ain't heavy." Unless, apparently, Garcia is trying to throw it.

Maybe Lattimore was hurt, but there haven't been any rumors to suggest that's the case. Instead, Spurrier tried to finally get the deep ball going to Alshon Jeffery, and the gameplan didn't work.

Now, the Ball Coach is supposedly going to be making some "changes." Maybe Connor Shaw can hand the ball off to Lattimore.

Don't expect those changes to involve benching his quarterback for good, though. Garcia is just good enough to get South Carolina back to the SEC title game, but it'll take Lattimore to be the offense.

Spurrier is smart enough to know that. Right?

Certainly there is more than enough time for SC to right the ship. Florida is a Paper Gator and has to travel to Columbia, and the Gamecocks have already beaten Georgia. If Spurrier can swallow his pass-happy pride and stick with the run, Lattimore will carry this team to Atlanta.

IF, that is, Garcia doesn't get in the way.
 
Just run Lattimore, coach. The ball ain't heavy.

- Fiutak: Will LSU vs. Bama be for the title?
- Cirminiello: Russell Wilson is what the game needs 
- Zemek: The time problem at South Carolina
- Sallee: Georgia is back in the SEC title hunt
- Mitchell: What's wrong with South Carolina
- Harrison: What went wrong with Ohio State