COLUMBIA -- There were times when South Carolina's offensive line dominated Alabama's staunch defensive front. But it wasn't enough for first-year line coach Shawn Elliott to display overt satisfaction on Wednesday.
"The offensive line played average," Elliott said. "It wasn't any outstanding effort by them. They played pretty good, but there's so much that we've got to work on. It was more about our team playing as one than any particular group playing well."
Elliott, however, did later credit his group for no missed assignments in the 35-21 victory against the former No. 1 team.
Stephen Garcia was sacked just once, and Marcus Lattimore ran for 93 yards, the most the Tide has given up since 2007 to a single runner.
"We were pretty sound," he said. "That's a big deal, a big deal."
The garnet zone
Even against Alabama, South Carolina continued its outstanding playing in the red zone.
The Gamecocks currently lead the country in red-zone touchdown percentage, scoring 17 in 20 trips (85 percent).
That includes four in four trips against Alabama, a team that had previously allowed just two red-zone touchdowns in its first five games.
Lattimore, with the line's help, has eight rushing touchdowns. All of them have come from inside 7 yards, seven of them from inside 5-yard line.
"We take great pride. When it gets inside the 10-yard line, that's our territory," Elliott said. "That's when we want to make a difference. ... We want to run that football in there. That's exactly what we want to do."
No Locke to play
Kentucky coach Joker Phillips said Wednesday that running back Derrick Locke still has very little feeling in his shoulder and he's still out, as of now, for Saturday's game.
Phillips did qualify that, though, by saying Locke would travel to the hotel Friday night, just in case he makes a dramatic recovery.
"He'll be in the 70 that travels with us, and we'll see how feels on Saturday morning," Phillips said. "It could come back at any moment, any day, any time."
Locke suffered stingers in both shoulders against Auburn, with the one on the left side being more severe.
He also has a bruised elbow. Locke is fourth in the league in rushing, with 95.7 yards a game. He's a vital part of the Kentucky offense, along with Randall Cobb.
Playing an Ace
Ace Sanders had four touches in Saturday's Alabama game (three catches, one run), in what might have been a sign of things come to come for the speedy South Carolina freshman.
"I'm getting comfortable and settled in," Sanders said. "I'm looking forward to seeing how the rest of the season goes."
Sanders had a 53-yard run in his debut against Southern Miss, but he's been relatively quiet since in the offense.
Quip from Joker
South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said Tuesday that the Kentucky game, because of its validating factor after the Alabama win, is one of the biggest games in school history. Reporters shared that Wednesday with Phillips, who smirked.
"It's the biggest game in Joker Phillips' coaching history," said Phillips, in his first year after taking over from Rich Brooks. "It's a big game for both of us. They're all big for me."
Kentucky won its first three games, all out of conference, but has started 0-3 in league play.