South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier says freshman tailback Marcus Lattimore isn’t definitely out for Saturday’s game at Vanderbilt.
But if the Gamecocks are smart, they won’t risk it.
Yes, they’ve had all sorts of problems with Vanderbilt the last three years. They scratched by 14-10 last season, and that’s after losing to the Commodores in both 2007 and 2008.
There are no automatic wins in this league.
Still, if South Carolina wants to have its best chance of getting to the SEC championship game for the first time in school history, the Gamecocks will let Lattimore rest his sprained left ankle, the one he hurt in the first half of South Carolina’s 31-28 loss at Kentucky.
The Gamecocks were never the same offensively without him after he rolled up more than 200 rushing/receiving yards in the first half and scored three touchdowns.
Simply, they have a much better chance of beating Vanderbilt with him on the bench than they do of beating Arkansas and Florida in November with Lattimore running at 75 percent. The Gamecocks have already had their bye, so there’s not an off week in there for Lattimore to get healthy. Putting him back out there the week after spraining his ankle would only aggravate it and increase the chances that the injury lingers on in to November.
In the bigger picture, the smartest thing to do is leave him on the bench this week.
Spurrier has already said that sophomore Kenny Miles is “fired up” and would be the starter if Lattimore doesn’t play.