COLUMBIA -- Slumping Tennessee probably doesn't want to hear this, but South Carolina freshman running back Marcus Lattimore has pronounced himself ready to return from the ankle sprain that kept him out a week ago.
"I feel really good," Lattimore said after practice Wednesday. "I feel 100 percent now."
Lattimore was pretty close to it Saturday at Vanderbilt, going through pregame warm-ups without any sort of noticeable limp, but his coaches opted to hold him out, as a precaution.
"It was tough," said Lattimore, who added it was the first game he'd ever missed due to injury. "But we won, so I was happy."
Senior Brian Maddox rushed for a career-high 146 yards in his absence. But Lattimore, who has 752 total yards and 12 touchdowns, gives the offense another dimension.
"We can throw him little screen routes and down-the-field passes and he'll come down with them," junior quarterback Stephen Garcia said.
Tennessee, meanwhile, is dealing with all sorts of depth issues. The 2-5 Vols could be without another player, safety Marsalis Teague, who is dealing with turf toe.
Saturday's game will mark the reunion of two former Byrnes High teammates, Lattimore and Tennessee freshman defensive lineman Corey Miller.
Lattimore said there's been quite a bit of friendly chatter going on the past few days.
"I can't wait," Lattimore said, "to run him over."
It's gone both ways.
"He says to be ready and that they're going to get us," Lattimore said of the 6-3, 255-pound Miller. "But it's all love."
The players shrugged Wednesday when asked about the evolution of play-calling for the offense.
"I couldn't really tell, to tell you the truth," Garcia said. "We threw a lot of quick passes, which might have been a little bit different, but it worked out."
South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said Tuesday that quarterbacks coach G.A. Mangus was the primary play-caller for last week's game, because Spurrier had spent so much time during the week with the secondary. Spurrier, though, was still very much involved in calling plays.
"The play-calling's been great," sophomore receiver Alshon Jeffery said. "Last year, we were young, so we were going with the motions. This year, we know what to do. We're playing faster."
DT Melvin Ingram (hand) wore a yellow jersey, but practiced. He is expected to play Saturday. ... Tennessee coach Derek Dooley said starting FB Kevin Cooper has been suspended for Saturday's game. Dooley said freshman Channing Fugate will play in the place of Cooper, a fifth-year senior.
For more South Carolina coverage, go to postandcourier.com/gamecocks.
Notice about comments:
The Post and Courier is pleased to offer readers the enhanced ability to comment on stories. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point.