Marcus Lattimore cleared one more hurdle, maybe the final one, Saturday in his rehabilitation from last year’s ACL-repair surgery.
Lattimore got his first live action work since suffering a season-ending injury Oct. 15 against Mississippi State, carrying the ball four times for 25 yards in South Carolina’s first scrimmage of preseason camp.
“Marcus had a couple good runs,” coach Steve Spurrier said. “We wanted him to get four or five carries. He’d probably love to have gotten about 10 or so. He made a couple good runs, broke one there. He had a good day. He did what he needed to do today.”
Lattimore, whose longest run was 18 yards, did not speak to the media after the scrimmage, which was attended by several hundred fans in Williams-Brice Stadium. He said last week that he was eager to see how his knee responded to full contact work.
The rest of the Gamecocks’ effort was up and down, Spurrier said.
“Quarterbacks were so-so,” Spurrier said. Third-string junior “Andrew Clifford probably looked better than all of them. Andrew hit about everything he threw I think. Dylan (Thompson) and Connor (Shaw) hit a few here and there, missed a few here and there.”
Clifford was 6-of-9 for 122 yards and two touchdowns. Shaw, South Carolina’s starter, was 5-of-10 for 108 yards.
Freshman tight end Jerell Adams, 6-foot-6, 224 pounds, continued to impress, catching two passes for 66 yards.
“He looks like one of those All-Pro NFL tight ends right now,” Spurrier said. “He’s tough. He can catch. He can block. I would imagine he’s going to be doing a lot of ball playing for us.”
The most significant portions of the scrimmage may have come in the kicking game as South Carolina appears to have found its starting place-kicker and punter.
Senior Adam Yates took the first two kicks of the scrimmage, missing from 55 yards and hitting from 52. Saturday’s practice ended with Spurrier having Yates kick a 42-yard field goal with a scholarship on the line. Yates, of Sparks, Md., connected with all his teammates gathered around and will have a scholarship this season, Spurrier said.
Yates has not kicked in a game in his career.
At punter, walk-on Tyler Hull all but locked up the job, booming the first three punts of the workout. Hull, a junior, transferred from Guilford College in North Carolina.
“It appears he may be our punter this year,” Spurrier said.
The Gamecocks will return to the practice field Sunday evening.
“You get a lot out of a scrimmage like that, a whole lot,” Spurrier said. “You find out who can play ball. This is ball playing out here. That’s why we like the people in the stands. I want to make it look like a ball game, especially these freshmen kids. You see can catch the ball, who can get open, who can make tackles, who can cover guys. This is as close to a real ball game as we can get so it was encouraging to see a lot of guys play well.”
... Adam Yates 52-yard field goal
... K.J. Brent 22-yard pass from Andrew Clifford (Landon Ard kick)
... Dylan Thompson 2-yard run (Ard kick)
... Jerell Adams 43-yard pass from Connor Shaw (Yates kick)
... Shaq Roland 27-yard pass from Clifford (Ard kick)
PASSING: Andrew Clifford 6-9-122-0, 2 TD; Connor Shaw 5-10-108-0, 1 TD; Dylan Thompson 4-10-52-1; Seth Strickland 3-5-7-0. TOTALS: 18-34-289-1, 3 TD.
RUSHING: Brandon Wilds 3-40; Marcus Lattimore 4-25; Damiere Byrd 1-19; Joshua Blue 4-15; Shon Carson 3-6; Andrew Clifford 1-5; Kenny Miles 2-1; Dylan Thompson 2-(-7) 1 TD; Connor Shaw 5-(-16); Seth Strickland 3-(-22). TOTALS: 28-66, 1 TD.
RECEIVING: Shaq Roland 4-59, 1 TD; D.L. Moore 3-56; Jerell Adams 2-66, 1 TD; Nick Jones 2-37; K.J. Brent 2-30; Rory Anderson 1-21; Shon Carson 1-9; DeAngelo Smith 1-4; Ace Sanders 1-4; Joshua Blue 1-3. TOTALS: 18-289, 3 TD.