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South Carolina Gamecocks at Florida Gators: Gamecocks Banged Up and Sick Heading into Weekend

Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

Most of you have heard about the travails that have hit the Gamecocks this week, either from Connor Tapp or from some other source. I have a few quick thoughts on this matter:

--First of all, expect a lot of the named players to be ready to go. Some of them might not be 100%, but this is a huge game that likely decides the SEC East. If you can stand on your two feet and play effectively, you play in this game and nurse your wounds later. End of story.

--Of the injured/sick players, Marcus Lattimore is one of the ones who's most likely to play. However, if he can't go, don't sell Mike Davis short. I really think that if Lattimore misses this weekend, both Davis and Kenny Miles are capable of getting it done--if the offensive line does its part. Davis is going to be an excellent back for us next year. My only concern with him is that he I'm not sure how great his hands are (key thing for running backs in this offense) and I worry about what happens if he misses a block (Florida will be aggressive on defense). We know what Miles can do, and he's often a guy who comes up big in key situations. Really, either guy will be fine if the line blocks well for them.

--As the last bullet suggests, I'm not as concerned about the runningback situation as others might be. What I am concerned about are the two lines. First of all, for us to get any kind of offense going, we need Mike Matulis and Cody Gibson to be 100%. Florida is absolutely brutal on the defensive line--Sharrif Floyd might be the country's best defensive tackle--and we will need every advantage we can get to slow these guys down. Second of all, the defensive line is a real cwoncern. Florida's offensive strategy is going to be to line up their big fellas and to try to pound the rock. Byron Jerideau and J.T. Surratt are nursing minor injuries, and Kelcy Quarles has been labeled doubtful for the game. The loss of Quarles is really important. He's by far our best tackle makes his presence felt against the run and rushing the quarterback. Even if Jerideau and Surratt are ready to go, we're going to feel it and will need some epic performances from the other guys if Quarles can't play.