Kenny Miles had three games with more than 100 yards rushing as a freshman.
Entering South Carolina’s 14th game last season, he hadn’t gotten to that mark in combined yardage. Still, Miles says, he never considered leaving the school he signed with in 2008 out of Brookwood High School in Lawrenceville, Ga.
“When I was in high school, I made a commitment here and once you make a commitment, if you’re a man of your word, you stick to it,” Miles said. “This is where I signed, this is where I want to play and this is where I love.”
Miles entered spring practice this year with some momentum thanks to the 70 yards he gained after replacing an injured Marcus Lattimore in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, but he understands that he’s not a threat to replace Lattimore this season the way Lattimore replaced him a year ago.
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“I am not worried about the whole No. 1, No. 2 thing,” Miles said. “I am ready to go out there and show everybody I can do the best I can. Whether that’s getting five carries, 10 carries a game or whatever it is, when I get in there I’m going to work hard and do whatever I have to do.”
Lattimore, who said this week he wants to be “the best running back in the country” in 2011, welcomes Miles’ contributions, he said.
“I think we are going to be a good 1-2 punch in the SEC next year,” he said. “We are just going to try to win as many games as we can, put the game on our shoulders.”
When Byron Jerideau signed with South Carolina in 2010 out of Fort Scott Community College, he was listed at 310 pounds. When he arrived on campus, he was a lot closer to 350. Jerideau played at around 340 last year, but he didn’t play very much or very well, recording 10 tackles in seven games.
The Gamecocks, though, are seeing a very different Jerideau so far this spring. The Green Pond native has dropped more than 30 pounds and his now 310. While subtracting weight, he has added a better attitude, defensive line coach Brad Lawing said.
“He’s understanding effort. He didn’t understand that before,” Lawing said. “We took last year, I hate to use the term, getting the JUCO out of him. This is SEC football, and he realized unless he did what we asked him to do, I wasn’t going to put him in the game.”
Jerideau is listed as Travian Robertson’s backup at defensive tackle this spring.
“He understands eating healthy, and it’s good for him for his future, too,” Lawing said. “You were looking at guy that was going to be walking around 350, 360 pounds the rest of his life, and that wasn’t healthy.”
PROOF IN THE PADS
First-year assistant coach John Butler is as eager as anyone for Saturday's scrimmage. It will be the first time he gets to see how his new charges look at full speed in full pads. Butler is coaching the Gamecocks special teams and spur position.
“So far, all I know is the players and the players are really fast and really athletic,” Butler said. “We’ll see the next couple days when they put pads on in terms of being physical and being tough, but in terms of the evaluation of what we’ve got, I’m excited to start working with them.”
... Tight end Justice Cunningham did not dress out for Friday’s practice but attended in street clothes. South Carolina coaches and players weren’t available to the media to explain Cunningham’s situation.
The Gamecocks will scrimmage at 10 a.m. Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium. The scrimmage is open to the public.
South Carolina practiced in full pads for the first time Friday.