The South Carolina Gamecocks are a physical football team that knows how to run the football. For years, that running game has been spear-headed by Marcus Lattimore, when he’s been healthy. However, the Gamecocks are losing plenty of experience in the running game next season and will have to turn to the young legs of Mike Davis to carry the load in 2013. Does the sophomore have what it takes?
He’ll have some very big shoes to fill. Lattimore, when on the field, was one of the best running backs in all of college football. Last season, he rushed for 662 with 11 touchdowns in just 10 games before a gruesome knee injury ended his season. Also gone is Kenny Miles, who finished third on the team in rushing a year ago, gaining 359 yards and scoring a pair of touchdowns as he saw action in all 13 games.
With both of them now gone, that leaves Davis as the leading returning rusher among running backs. As a freshman in 2012, Davis 275 yards on just 52 carries, averaging nearly 5.3 yards per carry, while scoring a pair of touchdowns. He’ll be asked to take on the lion’s share of the offensive touches in the running game next season, and he still has to prove that’s a responsibility he can handle.
Coaches have some concerns about ball security with Davis, and will be hammering home the importance of ball security this spring. So far, he has impressed with his performances and appears ready to take the next step into the role of featured running back. How well he does against the defenses of the SEC, however, remains to be seen.
South Carolina makes headlines with their defense, but they will need a strong season from their offense if they hope to reach their goals next season. With Lattimore and Miles no longer on the team, a major responsibility now falls on the shoulders of Mike Davis. Can he stand the load?