COLUMBIA -- His debut is nearly here. Three days and counting.

It's not something South Carolina freshman running back Marcus Lattimore is taking lightly, either.

"I've been watching for the past two years," the Byrnes High product said, referring to his recruitment. "I'm just excited and ready to experience it. I know it's something I'll remember for the rest of my life."

Thursday's opener against Southern Miss isn't just some sappy, sentimental moment for him. Lattimore's expected to help the Gamecocks this week and the rest of the fall.

There's a chance he could even start. The 5-11, 215-pound Lattimore was listed as an "or" on the depth chart released Friday, along with sophomore Kenny Miles. Miles was the Gamecocks' leading rusher last season.

Neither Spurrier nor Lattimore elaborated on the possible breakdown of carries between the backs this week, nor did position coach Jay Graham.

Senior Brian Maddox and sophomore Jarvis Giles figure to be in the mix as well.

Eyes will be particularly trained, though, on Lattimore's No. 21 jersey.

"I can't prognosticate that right now," Spurrier said of Lattimore's possible workload. "But he's ready to play."

Lattimore arrived in June that way, it seems. Every review of him, before and during camp, has been a positive one.

Graham has tried to temper his excitement about Lattimore, but Lattimore has made it difficult by performing steadily throughout the month of August.

Running. Receiving. Blocking. Leading. Lattimore has just rolled right through camp.

"He's doing a good job," Graham said. "He's just continuing to learn the offense and all the little things it takes to be successful. He's doing a good job of picking those little things up."

Added Lattimore: "I was in shape. I came in ready. I've got to put it all out on the field Thursday."

The game is something of the final frontier in terms of Lattimore's move to college -- even if it is a big one.

"If I have no mental worries," he said, "I think I'll be fine."

Lattimore has said he's set a goal of 1,000 yards for his first season. How about his debut?

He wouldn't assign a statistical value, with the exception of one victory.

"First of all, I want to win the game," Lattimore said. "And help the team in any way that I can -- scoring, any way I can."

Positive night

Both Lattimore and Spurrier said Sunday night's practice was a good one for the offense. Spurrier made a point to come over and tell reporters about it, even though he wasn't scheduled to speak.

"It's just practice, but we were encouraged by tonight's practice," Spurrier said. "Hopefully we'll get a little bit better tomorrow and be ready for Thursday night."

Spurrier gushed about his quarterbacks, Stephen Garcia and Connor Shaw -- something that hasn't happened a whole lot in camp.

"Stephen and Connor were both a lot sharper, got the ball out of their hands and didn't have as much hesitation as we usually have around here," Spurrier said. "We had a good one so I wanted to say they had a good one. They'd had a lot of lousy ones before, so that's why I've been a little critical."

Extra points

LT Jarriel King missed practice for what Spurrier called "personal issues." King is one of several players who have worked the past week to clear up issues related to their living arrangements at The Whitney Hotel. … WR DeMario Bennett (leg) didn't participate Sunday. WR Dion LeCorn (shoulder) did. … Spurrier said Joey Scribner-Howard will handle kickoffs if he can keep the ball "in the ballpark." Jay Wooten was listed Friday as the No. 1 on the depth chart.

Reach Travis Haney at thaney@postandcourier.com, check out the Gamecocks blog at postandcourier.com/blogs/gamecocks and follow him on Twitter (@gamecocksblog).