Starting running back Marcus Lattimore isn’t getting much full contact work this spring, but that doesn’t mean he’s not making progress, running backs coach Jay Graham said.
“He’s always paying attention to what’s going on, even when he’s not in,” Graham said. “I think it’s been good for him this spring. It’s been good at times for him to sit there and watch and coach some of the young guys, telling them what to do and watching more tape.”
Lattimore has made big strides in his understanding of the offense since last year and has used that knowledge to help coach the young tailbacks, Graham said.
“Now he is being a little more vocal,” Graham said. “He can see the things that we are checking into. He is starting to see the whole offense and what everybody else does.”
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South Carolina’s quarterbacks are working mostly on quickening their release and improving their accuracy, senior Stephen Garcia said. Garcia hopes to get “at least” two series Saturday during the Gamecocks’ second scrimmage of the season, he said.
For a while during Friday’s practice, it looked like South Carolina had found a new wide receiver. It turns out it was only DeAngelo Smith, one of the spring’s pleasant surprises, in a new jersey.
Smith wore No. 19 for the first two weeks of spring practice but switched Friday to No. 6, the number he has wanted to wear for two seasons now. South Carolina’s coaches made him switch from No. 6 to No. 19 last year because he and defensive lineman Melvin Ingram, the original owner of No. 6, were on the field together at times on special teams.
“We said, ‘You and Melvin can’t be on the field together, and Melvin is getting that number,’ ” wide receivers coach Steve Spurrier Jr. said. “So he asked about it again (this week), and I said, ‘If you feel better in No. 6, put it on, but when we start playing, if y’all have a chance to be on the field again, we are moving you to a different number and somebody may be 19 so you may get stuck in 32 or something.’”
... Backup guard Ronald Patrick was released from the hospital Friday. Patrick had surgery to remove an abscess from near his brain. He won’t return this spring but is expected back in the fall.
Tailback Eric Baker, one of the most productive running backs this spring, missed Friday’s practice with a quad injury. He is not expected to participate in Saturday's scrimmage.
Former Maryland head coach Ralph Friedgen attended Friday’s practice along with dozens of high school coaches. The Gamecocks are holding their coaches clinic this weekend, and Friedgen was scheduled to speak at a Friday night dinner.
South Carolina’s scrimmage is expected to begin at 10:30 Saturday morning at Williams-Brice Stadium. It is open to the public.
Steve Spurrier Jr.
A.J. Cann and Shawn Elliott