The South Carolina Gamecocks must fill a huge void in the backfield in 2013 after the departure of star running back Marcus Lattimore.
Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it) for head coach Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks, they’ve been in this position before. Lattimore was injured twice during his career and other players had to fill in while he missed time.
The players that filled in for him in each of the last two seasons, Mike Davis and Brandon Wilds, are both back and are each vying to be his replacement this fall.
In 2012, when Lattimore went down, Davis filled in admirably, rushing 52 times for 275 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The 5-9, 215-pound Davis is seen as the slasher of the two backs and probably the faster of the pair.
Two years ago, it was Wilds who was the replacement for Lattimore. He carried 107 times for 486 yards and three touchdowns during that season. Last year, he was redshirted as he rehabbed a sprained ankle.
Whoever earns the job will have the unenviable task of replacing Lattimore, who was one of the best running backs in the nation before suffering an injury last season. In nine games, he rushed for 662 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Others in the mix for the job are Shon Carson, who is still recovering from knee and wrist injuries, Kendric Salley, who is a redshirt freshman and incoming freshmen Jamari Smith and David Williams.
As a team, South Carolina rushed for 1,800 yards last season (138.5 yards per game), helping the offense maintain a good balance between the run and the pass. This season, the running portion of the offense will be handed to either Davis or Wilds and the winner of the job will have his hands full trying to replace Lattimore.