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NCAA Football SEC FootballSouth Carolina Gamecocks

The Next Step For The South Carolina Gamecocks

Jeff Blake-US PRESSWIRE

Injuries are an unfortunate aspect of the game of football.

For all of the beauty that exists in the game, there is a certain amount of horror as well.

That was readily apparent in the yesterday’s game between South Carolina and Tennessee.  Gamecocks star running back Marcus Lattimore suffered a truly gruesome knee injury, which was shown over and over again on all the major networks.  As we’ve learned today, the extent that we know now is that, at the minimum, his knee is severely dislocated.

The worst case scenario could be multiple torn ligaments, much like the injury Willis McGahee suffered in the 2002 National Championship Game when Miami faced Ohio State.  McGahee suffered three torn ligaments in that injury.  And for those keeping track at home, the knee has a total of four ligaments.

The injury to Lattimore is season ending at best.  Although recovery time could be very lengthy, and the possibility of missing some, if not all, of next year is very much real.

So what’s next for the Gamecocks?

The Gamecocks under Steve Spurrier have done a fantastic job of acquiring talent, and there are some talented backs on their roster.  Don’t get me wrong, none are of the caliber of Lattimore, but this is a good opportunity to see how the team responds.

Senior Kenny Miles and true freshman Mike Davis will be the two guys that have the first chance to fill Lattimore’s immense role.  On the season they have combined for 66 attempts, 311 yards and two touchdowns up to yesterday.

Miles has extensive experience filling in for Lattimore, as he did so for much of last year after the star running back went down.

This will also put more pressure on quarterback Connor Shaw.  The Gamecocks plan of grinding it up the middle with Lattimore to setup the play-action passing game will have to be adjusted.  Shaw to this point hasn’t truly had to rely on his arm, and it will be interesting to see how he adapts.

The Gamecocks will have a hard time overcoming Georgia and Florida in the SEC East standings, but stranger things have happened.  But it has become infinitely harder now that their leader is down for the count.

Here’s to wishing Lattimore a speedy and successful recovery.