published Thursday, October 20th, 2011

Paschall: A Wilds time for Spurrier’s Gamecocks

South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore (21) runs for a touchdown.  (AP Photo/John Amis)
South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore (21) runs for a touchdown. (AP Photo/John Amis)

His name is Brandon Wilds, and he’s got sizable shoes to fill.

Wilds has been given first crack at replacing South Carolina star tailback Marcus Lattimore, who was lost for the season in last week’s win at Mississippi State after sustaining ligament and cartilage damage in his left knee. Lattimore has gained 2,015 yards in a season and a half, but now it’s up to an unheralded 6-foot-1, 223-pound freshman from Blythewood, S.C.

OTHER PICKS

Kentucky 23, Jax State 21

W. Virginia 29, Syracuse 22

Wake Forest 20, Duke 14

Va. Tech 42, Boston Coll. 7

Virginia 28, N.C. State 19

Florida St. 35, Maryland 16

Oregon 56, Colorado 25

MTSU 14, Fla. Atlantic 10

Texas A&M 41, Iowa St. 28

Kansas St. 27, Kansas 23

Wisconsin 38, Michigan St. 27

Nebraska 32, Minnesota 13

Oklahoma St. 31, Missouri 30

Penn St. 17, Northwestern 12

Oklahoma 55, Texas Tech 24

Boise State 34, Air Force 21

Stanford 48, Washington 26

“Brandon was about fourth- or fifth-string at the start of preseason, and we were talking about redshirting him and holding him out,” Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier said Wednesday. “He was covering kickoffs and stuff, and I said, ‘Let’s just wait and see what happens,’ and low and behold he’s the starter.”

Rivals.com rated Wilds this past winter as a three-star prospect and did not list him among the top 55 tailback prospects nationally. He also had scholarship offers from East Carolina, Illinois, Maryland and Middle Tennessee.

His ascent on the depth chart started when junior Kenny Miles sprained his wrist, junior Eric Baker sprained his ankle and Shon Carson, a more touted freshman, suffered a knee injury against Georgia that required surgery. Carson had three carries for 9 yards when his season ended, while the season totals of Baker and Miles combined consist of four carries for 4 yards.

Wilds has 13 carries for 75 yards.

“We’re going to replace Marcus the best way we can, and hopefully a lot of other guys on the offensive team will step up and maybe contribute a little bit more,” Spurrier said. “It was a serious blow to our team, and we’ll pull for Marcus to come back at 100 percent, and we feel confident that will happen next season.

“Brandon is a good back. If we’ve got good blocking up front, he’ll make some decent yards.”

South Carolina, which is 6-1 overall and shares the SEC East lead with Georgia, is off this week before traveling next week to Tennessee. It does not sound like Lattimore will be along for the ride to offer any motivational help from the sideline.

“I don’t think you take players on crutches, because it’s hard for them to get around,” Spurrier said. “If he had a bad shoulder and could still get around, it would be a little different, but he’ll be on crutches here for a couple of weeks until that knee can settle down.”

Pasquali’s Pix:

Arkansas at Ole Miss: This is the fourth and final storyline about Houston Nutt facing his former team. Razorbacks 41, Rebels 17.

North Carolina at Clemson: The Tigers haven’t won an ACC title in 20 years, and the Tar Heels haven’t won one in 31 years. Tigers 27, Tar Heels 24.

UTC at Elon: The Mocs have lost five straight to the Phoenix, the last four by double digits. Mocs 27, Phoenix 25.

Auburn at LSU: Auburn could still use a few more LSU suspensions between now and kickoff. Miles 30, Chizik 13.

Army at Vanderbilt: The Cadets cut-block. The Commodores cut-block from behind. Commodores 23, Cadets 16.

Tennessee at Alabama: Who thought we would live long enough to see the Volunteers listed as 29-point underdogs? Crimson Tide 40, Vols 7.

Georgia Tech at Miami: A win by the Hurricanes would put Virginia Tech in control of yet another Coastal Division title. Hurricanes 28, Yellow Jackets 21.

USC at Notre Dame: Lane Kiffin has to go down as one of the top 20 coaches in University of Tennessee football history. Irish 24, Trojans 20.

Last week:

Winners........................22

Coaches gone wild......3

Pasquali is 142-33 overall (81.1 percent) this season.

about David Paschall...

David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...

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