New attitude brings big gains for Giles

jperson@thestate.comMarch 20, 2010 

uscspring

Jarvis Giles jokes with teammates on the sidelines during the annual Garnet & Black Spring Game.

FILE PHOTO/BRETTFLASHNICK.COM/SPECIAL TO THE STATE

The tailback who South Carolina coaches and fans believe will change the direction of the Gamecocks' running game was at Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturday for the first spring scrimmage. So was the tailback who arrived with similar expectations last year.

And with incoming freshman Marcus Lattimore looking on, Jarvis Giles showed he plans to be more of a factor in his second SEC season.

Giles rushed for 82 yards and a touchdown on eight carries to start turning the page on a disappointing freshman year that ended with him watching from the sideline as the third-string tailback.

Giles broke off a 50-yard run - the longest gain of the day - on a zone-read play that he bounced outside. He scored on a 3-yard run a few plays later.

"Jarvis had some long runs," USC coach Steve Spurrier said. "He hit some nice, little cracks there."

Giles said he likes the inside-zone runs new offensive line coach/run game coordinator Shawn Elliott brought from Appalachian State.

"You see the holes develop a lot smoother. And I think that works to my benefit," Giles said. "I can see, make a little cut and go on through the hole."

Spurrier also believes Elliott has added a new dimension to the offense with the zone-read.

"That's his thing. It's not mine. This is some new stuff for me. We used to just run draw plays and throw it, and run a few sweeps," he said. "So we're running that inside-zone play. And it can go anywhere. That's the beauty of the play. And you can block about any defensive front somewhat."

Giles was a four-star recruit who rushed for 1,500 yards his final season at his Tampa high school. He enrolled at USC early last January and ran for 113 yards in a victory against Florida Atlantic the third game of last season.

But Spurrier thought Giles sometimes did too much cutting and dancing rather than hitting the hole quickly. Giles had four carries or fewer in the final eight games last year, and had no attempts against Florida, Clemson or Connecticut.

Giles was criticized after the Papajohns.com Bowl loss to UConn for heading to the locker room before time expired. He said Saturday he was upset with what he perceived as a lack of effort by some of his teammates in Birmingham, Ala.

"I didn't like that. Nobody came out there with the heart. Nobody wanted to compete with those guys, and I got mad," Giles said. "So when that buzzer hit, I walked out and Akeem (Auguste) walked out. He was like, 'Bro, this is some bullcrap.'

"The team, we all had a little (talk). We were like, 'This year we're fixing to work.'"

Giles said he realized he needs to work to become more involved in the offense. Besides returning tailbacks Kenny Miles and Brian Maddox, the competition for carries will increase further with the arrival of Lattimore, ranked by one recruiting site as the nation's top tailback prospect.

"I'm not worried about that," Giles said. "I'm just out here competing, trying to get better, do what I can for the team."

Giles said he talked to his father a lot after the season for advice and support. There were Internet rumblings that Giles might transfer, but he said he never seriously considered leaving.

"I figured I owed myself. I made excuses for myself (last year). Pretty much I accepted the fact that I have to work a little bit harder," he said. "Nothing's going to be given to you. So I have to go out there and take it."

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