USC Gamecocks Football

5 questions with Jay Graham

Jay Graham, USC’s running backs coach, was given a gift this season in freshman Marcus Lattimore. He talked this week about his standout running back and how the Gamecocks have to approach Clemson.

Has Marcus surprised you?

As a freshman, he has really been mature. It’s a lot of pressure going in and playing the teams that we are playing, not just the SEC teams but playing Clemson this week. But he’s been really mature as far as how he studies, how he goes about everything, his day-to-day actions.

What are you working on with him?

You are hammering the basics, and you are always trying to work on something to get better at this or that. I’m starting to see him do some things. In the Florida game, he put his hand down a couple times when he was about to be tackled. Those are the things that I am seeing him do that he hadn’t been doing the first two or three games. He is starting to pick up a new move or do different things as he is progressing through the season.

Does he get better with more carries in a game?

I think so. I think as a running back, you get more comfortable and you are starting to see things better as you get more carries.

How has he held up physically?

He has done very well for a freshman, and I think that is going to help him, getting with (strength coach Craig) Fitzgerald in the offseason and really getting stronger is really going to make a difference for him. He has done a great job of getting (to) the training room, cold tub, all those things you have to do in order to physically stay strong, weight lifting during the season. That has really helped him.

Do you have to run at Clemson defensive end Da’Quan Bowers because he can pursue so well?

He can pursue. He’s tough when you run at him also. He can make plays either way. He’s a special player. It’s important for us just to do what we do. He’s a guy who can make his share of plays in every game.