COLUMBIA --Auburn running back Michael Dyer is third in the Southeastern Conference in rushing with 426 yards. Dyer comes into Saturday's matchup with South Carolina averaging 106.5 yards a game.
At 5-9 and 210 pounds, he is smaller than Gamecocks running back Marcus Lattimore, who is listed at 6-0 and 232 pounds, but they both have similar punishing running styles.
USC linebacker Rodney Paulk said practicing against Lattimore all season should help in their preparations to face Dyer.
"Michael is a similar back to Marcus," Paulk said. "We've been facing Marcus in preseason camp and last year, so we feel real good about taking on Michael."
South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said opponents have started to pick up on the Gamecocks' signals when they're calling in plays from the sidelines. Spurrier mixed things up last week by using an assistant coach and a backup quarterback to signal in plays.
"We have not done a very good job of hiding our signals," Spurrier said. "So we had two guys signaling last week. We were not worried about it as much as we should have, so we are going to try to be more conscious of that."
Byrd to see action
After serving a four-game suspension for his involvement with the Delaware-based SAM Foundation, freshman wide receiver Damiere Byrd will finally get into the lineup Saturday, Spurrier said.
"He'll suit up and he's a true freshman and hasn't played yet, but he'll be in the mix," Spurrier said. "He'll be out there. We play six receivers, he'll certainly be out there."
Byrd was one of the most productive receivers during the preseason scrimmages and a player whom Spurrier was hoping would have an immediate impact in the passing game. 'He's been practicing mostly with the regular guys all year,' Spurrier said.
Spurrier breaks silence
Spurrier has been reluctant to comment about Texas A&M joining the SEC until it became official. Texas A&M made it official on Sunday, joining the SEC for the 2012 football season.
"They are a big-time school and should fit well into the SEC," Spurrier said. "I still don't know how we're going to do the 13 teams, but the commissioner says we're going to work it out, so we have confidence that he's going to get it worked out."
Spurrier added that he won't be motivated to recruit in the state of Texas now that the Aggies have joined the conference.
"I think we are pretty much a regional school unless we have a connection somewhere," Spurrier said. "I don't think we'll go into Texas. A lot of those high school kids may say, 'Now, tell me where South Carolina is?' They probably don't know a lot about us."
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