South Carolina Football: 5 Expectations for Gamecocks Without Marcus Lattimore

Nick Kostora@@nickkostoraContributor IIIOctober 21, 2011

South Carolina Football: 5 Expectations for Gamecocks Without Marcus Lattimore

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    South Carolina is supposed to only look forward without Marcus Lattimore, but it has to be impossible not to look back.

    Lattimore is the foundation that this offense was built on. The unrest at the quarterback position was manageable because the running game was so dependable.

    South Carolina has the talent to compete without Lattimore, but are they still an elite team in the SEC?

    Here are five expectations for South Carolina for the rest of the season.

5. Alshon Jeffrey Will Assume More of the Workload

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    Alshon Jeffrey is one of the top three receivers in all of college football.

    Having that kind of weapon to catch passes is a great asset to have when overcoming a crippling blow to your football team.

    Jeffrey has 30 receptions for 451 yards and five touchdowns so far this season.

    Without a great running game to lean on, head coach Steve Spurrier will be forced to give more of the workload to his only true playmaker left on offense.

4. Win the SEC East

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    Before the injury, the Gamecocks had a shot at winning the SEC. Not a great shot, but they could at least compete with Alabama or LSU in the title game.

    Now they can realistically at least still win their division. There just is not another team that can honestly win the SEC East.

    Florida and Georgia are good but not on the level of South Carolina.

3.No One Will Be Great at Running Back

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    Marcus Lattimore obviously leads this team in rushing, but do you know who is second?

    Stephen Garica.

    Who is third and fourth?

    Connor Shaw and wide receiver Bruce Ellington.

    Another running back does not pop up on this list until Brandon Wilds at No. 5.

    Granted, he has only had 13 carries, but this freshman is nowhere near the player Lattimore is at this point in his career.

    Don't look for the Gamecocks to lean too heavily on Wilds the rest of the way.

2. Connor Shaw Will Break Out

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    Connor Shaw has 50 completions for 498 yards and five touchdowns this season.

    His QB rating stands at 133.4.

    Shaw is a great talent who is ready to show he is worthy of the starting role.

    Without a great running game, he will have ample opportunity to throw the ball and prove his value.

    Plus, it's always nice to be able to throw it up to Alshon Jeffrey if he gets into trouble.

1. A 9-3 Regular-Season Record

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    The Gamecocks have a manageable schedule the rest of the way, but there are two very tough games ahead of them.

    Arkansas and Clemson are Top-10 teams that will pose great threats to South Carolina.

    Clemson is a rivalry game where anything can happen, and the Gamecocks will benefit from playing at home.

    But the Tigers are still a better team than the Lattimore-less Gamecocks.

    Luckily, there are some easy wins to be had over Tennessee and the Citadel.