It seems like head coach Steve Spurrier has found his coaching magic once again and could lead the Gamecocks places they never could have imagined just a couple of years ago. This team returns 13 starters from last year's 11-win season and expectations sit higher than ever in 2012.
But before we declare this club favorites to win the SEC East, let's take a look at what was a great fall training camp.
With camp underway, here are the latest updates, injuries and more involving your South Carolina Gamecocks for the 2012 season.
South Carolina lost both cornerback Akeem Auguste and running back Shon Carson likely for the season, as they both have had surgery to help repair injuries they suffered last week. Auguste tore a muscle in his thigh, which will later be looked at by a doctor, while Carson suffered a wrist injury last Friday.
Auguste was expected to be one of the starting corners for the Gamecocks this season. Carson did not play much as a freshman last year, carrying the ball only three times for nine yards.
The Gamecocks held a scrimmage last night, which showed a strong Marcus Lattimore. Despite only playing two series, he rushed for 23 yards on only five carries, picking up two first downs and breaking several tackles along the way.
It is clear that the coaching staff wants to continue to work him back into the starting role slowly; as he continues to recover from an ACL injury he suffered last year. But if last night was any indication of how he will do this season, Lattimore should have another great year in 2012.
Receivers stepping up
The Gamecocks are looking for players to step up at the wide receiver position, as there is a huge hole with Alshon Jeffery no longer in the picture. The good thing is that players are stepping up during fall camp. One of the players that the coaching staff really likes is true-freshman Shaq Roland. (Via greenvilleonline.com)
“Shaq Roland has a knack for going up and getting it at the last moment,” USC coach Steve Spurrier said. “He has the ability to get it at the highest point."
Spurrier also looks to use his tight ends a little more this season, as South Carolina has experience at that position with the top two players returning from last season.
"We will see a lot of two-tight ends (formations)," Spurrier said. "Our (wide) receivers have not gotten much (media) attention, which is justified. But we’re hitting more balls around here than we ever have."
Running back depth?
We all know about running back Marcus Lattimore, but who is going to help carry load in the offensive backfield? That is the question that running backs coach Everette Sands wants answered soon. (Via Darryl Slater of The Post and Courier)
“I’m waiting to see all of our guys just run through contact more,” he said. “When it’s non-tackling (in practice), you’re not going to do it as much, so I’m looking forward to seeing that (in the scrimmage).”
Brandon Wilds and Kenny Miles return and were the top two rushers last season behind Lattimore and quarterback Connor Shaw. They will also be competing with redshirt freshman Shon Caron for touches, as he missed majority of the season with a knee injury.
The South Carolina Gamecocks held their first scrimmage during the weekend. (Via gamecocksonline.com)
It was sort of one of our typical scrimmages. Said head coach Steve Spurrier. I don't think anybody got hurt badly. We had a sprained ankle (Brandon Wilds) and a player (Kelvin Rainey) get a slight concussion in pre-practice, but other than that we came out of it very healthy.
Running back Marcus Lattimore carried the ball a total of four times for 25 yards, while he is still trying to recover from an ACL injury. True-freshman wide receiver Shaq Roland led the team with four receptions for 59 yards and a touchdown.
You get a lot out of a scrimmage like this, a whole lot. Said Coach Spurrier. You find out who can play ball. This is ball playing out here. This is why we like people in the stands. I want to make it look like a ballgame, especially for these freshmen kids. This is as close to a real ballgame as we can get, so it was encouraging to see a lot of guys play well.
To see the complete box score of the short scrimmage, click here.
Marcus Lattimore healthy and mature
Marcus Lattimore is arguably the best running back in college football when healthy. In just a season-and-a-half he has rushed for over 2,000 yards and scored 30 total touchdowns. But he is coming off an ACL injury that he suffered in the middle of last year. The good news is that he is healthy and learned quite a bit about himself during the recovering process.
For me. He said, the whole thing was a test. It put me in a situation where I had to decide what to do with myself. If you aren’t a man when you get through this, I don’t know how you can do it, because the rehab will break you unless you can find a way to stay positive. (Via Bart Wright of greenvilleonline.com)
Jadeveon Clowney more than a defensive end
Clowney did not disappoint in his true freshman season, racking up eight sacks and 36 tackles. But with his athleticism and now experience, Clowney will play a bigger role on defense for the Gamecocks. That includes playing a little bit of the linebacker position as well.
We’re going to move him all over the place. Spurrier told reporters. We have to put him where hopefully he’s most of the time one-on-one with somebody -- inside, outside, middle linebacker. There are all kinds of things you can do. It’s a pass-rush game out there now, as everybody knows. (Via Edward Aschoff of ESPN)
Tanner McEvoy is transferring
Tanner McEvoy was a solid wide receiver in high school, but was listed as a quarterback on the South Carolina depth chart. The problem is that McEvoy did not like where he was sitting on the list, so he decided to transfer from the program.
"The Gamecock coaching staff and I wish Tanner all the best, as he continues his collegiate career elsewhere," Spurrier said in a statement. (Via Edward Aschoff of ESPN)
The redshirt freshman did not play at all for the Gamecocks in his short career and was recently arrested after driving and consuming alcohol, despite being under the age of 21.
This article will be updated throughout fall camp to provide you with the latest news, injuries, and everything else that involves your South Carolina Gamecocks.