COLUMBIA -- Special teams continues to be an area in which coach Steve Spurrier wants to see South Carolina improve.
The return game, and particularly kickoff returns, continues to see mediocre results. Bryce Sherman is averaging 20.8 yards a kick return, right at the team's average of 20.6 yards. He hasn't been explosive. But, then again, he hasn't had much help from his blockers.
"We couldn't block those Troy guys," Spurrier said. "They stormed right down the field on us. Yeah, I wish we were a little bit better returning kicks, but we haven't been very good for a while."
Safety has also become an increasing concern for Gamecocks on kickoff coverage. Chaun Gresham was knocked out at Florida on a blindside hit. The same happened to Stephon Gilmore last week against Troy. Gilmore had to leave the game, but is expected to be fully cleared today.
"We're trying to teach our guys to keep their head on a swivel," Spurrier said. "One guy came over there and really head-butted him. He didn't see it coming. He sort of snuck in behind one of our other players. If we were in the NFL, that guy would've been fined at least 50,000. The crown of his head hit Stephon right upside the face and knocked him out -- a little bit."
Marcus Lattimore ran seven times for 102 yards and three TDs Saturday against Troy, getting only one carry after the first quarter. Spurrier surmised he could've done a lot more damage if he'd stayed in there.
"He probably could've made 250, 300 yards rushing, if that was our goal against Troy," Spurrier said, "but that's not our goal."
Still, Lattimore cracked the 1,000-yard mark (1,066 yards).
Coulda woulda, round two
Alshon Jeffery was in the same boat. Jeffery had five catches for 123 yards, but he sat the second half against Troy. Still, with 1,210 yards, Jeffery set the single-season school record for yards.
"He could've run up his stats a whole bunch the second half also," Spurrier said. "Our guys understand it was an opportunity for some other players to play that hadn't played much this year."
Keep an eye this week on long snapper C.D. Turner. The fifth-year senior missed the last game with an arm injury. He has been limited this week in practice. If Turner can't go, walk-on Walker Inabinet will snap in his place. His snaps against Troy, both on field goals and punts, were solid.
Saturday's weather in Clemson is looking good. The forecast calls for clear skies with a daytime high of 60 degrees and nighttime low of 33.
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