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One of the few statistics kept for offensive linemen is pancake blocks, although USC left tackle Jarriel King believes rushing yardage is a good indicator of a line’s toughness quotient.
“If someone says someone put up 200-some running yards, that’s just telling me that the O-line went out there and knocked someone in the mouth straight-up the whole game,” King said Wednesday. “Passing, that’s more passive. Running the ball, that’s aggressive. That’s telling me that they got some fire out there. They’ve got some beasts on the line.” The Gamecocks have not had a 200-yard rushing game since a 223-yard effort against S.C. State more than a year ago. There has been one 100-yard rushing game by a USC back this season: Mike Davis finished with 101 yards in the opener against N.C. State.
USC ranks last in the SEC and 104th among 119 teams nationally in rushing offense. The Gamecocks rushed for 17 yards on 27 carries last year against LSU, their lowest rushing total under Steve Spurrier.
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But King believes there is hope.
“We’ve got the size. We’ve got the strength. We’ve got the speed,” he said. “I just think we’ve got to put our minds to it that we’re going to go out there and we’re going to play however long we’ve got to play.”
Guard Lemuel Jeanpierre. The redshirt junior has not started since the Georgia game. But with Heath Batchelor suspended indefinitely, Jeanpierre will be part of the guard rotation with Jamon Meredith and Terrence Campbell.
Tailback Brian Maddox. The sophomore has as many rushing touchdowns (one) as starting tailback Mike Davis and receiving touchdowns (one) as receiver Moe Brown. But he’s averaging 3.2 yards a carry, hasn’t played in two weeks and now is hurt after spraining his knee Monday. Spurrier said the injury is not considered serious.
Defensive tackle Marque Hall has missed the past two games after fluid built up on his surgically repaired left knee. Hall hopes to return vs. Tennessee. Tailback Taylor Rank (shoulder) will miss his second consecutive game. Tight end Jared Cook (sprained right foot) returned to practice.
Quote of the day
“He’s different in the game and practice. Practice time, he looks like he’s trying to get it mentally. But in the game, he looks like he’s running the show. And I like that. A quarterback’s supposed to take over the offense. That’s the field general,” – King on Stephen Garcia, who will make his first start vs. LSU.
Dion LeCorn, who moved from receiver to spur linebacker this week, is expected to see action Saturday. … Reserve safety Antonio Allen has missed practice time this week to concentrate on academics. …
Add Spurrier to the injured list. The 63-year-old wore a brace on his sore right knee, which has undergone four surgeries since 1973.
“The left knee’s pretty. Pretty as can be. Never had anything (wrong),” Spurrier said. “That’s the knee of a 21-year-old. This (right one) is a 90-year-old over here.”
LSU tailback Charles Scott relinquished the SEC rushing lead when he was held to a season-low 35 yards in last week’s 51-21 loss to Florida. Scott’s rushing average dropped from 133.8 yards a game to 114, third behind Arkansas’ Michael Smith (119.8) and Alabama’s Glen Coffee (118).
-- Joseph Person