Steve Spurrier has a simple remedy for South Carolinas non-existent running game.
We need Marcus Lattimore to run the ball more, he said this week.
Easy enough, but Lattimores bruised hip, the stout defenses of LSU and Florida, and a constantly shuffling offensive line have pulled the emergency brake on the Gamecocks ability to run the ball.
South Carolina has rushed for a total of 70 yards and 1.4 yards a carry the past two games after averaging 181.5 yards and 4.4 yards per attempt the first six games.
Not coincidentally, the Gamecocks (6-2, 4-2 in the SEC) have lost two straight after opening with six consecutive victories and rising to No. 3 in the AP poll.
Our formula for winning hasnt occurred much the last few weeks, Spurrier said at his weekly press conference. We know what it is. We will hope and try our best to get back to that. Like I said, we know Marcus needs to run more. We are going to try our best to get it to him more. We know we cant run him every play, but we know how our wins have occurred in the past, and were going to try to get back there.
Spurrier said Lattimore is healthy for Saturdays home game against Tennessee, which bodes well for the Gamecocks.
The Volunteers (3-4, 0-4) are giving up an average 186.4 yards rushing a game, 10th in the SEC, and have allowed at least 41 points in their past three games, all losses.
South Carolina wasnt sure how effective Lattimore would be this season after returning from ACL surgery and a lengthy rehab process.
He started strong with 110 yards in an opening win over Vanderbilt and ran for 120 against Kentucky and 109 in the rout of Georgia before running into LSU on Oct. 13.
Lattimore scored an early touchdown, but was banged up and finished with 35 yards on 13 carries in the 23-21 loss.
He was nearly non-existent in last weeks 44-11 loss to Florida, with only three first-half carries and finishing with 13 yards.
Lattimore didnt touch the ball in the second half, and as a result, his per-game average has plummeted from 91.5 yards through six games to 74.6, which is 11th in the SEC.
It hurts when you dont establish a running game early, especially for us, since weve relied on that so much in the past, quarterback Connor Shaw said. I think its important that we start doing that in the future.
Shaw is the second-best option in the Gamecocks ground game, but missed a game with a shoulder injury and also has been ineffective the past two weeks.
He rushed for season-high 92 yards in the opener and combined for 154 yards against Kentucky and Georgia, but he had minus-3 yards in the losses.
Any potential running rebound would gain a boost from consistent and cohesive line play, which has been missing at times.
South Carolina has used five combinations in eight games, but line coach Shawn Elliott said this week that he will go back to the lineup that started the three-game stretch against Kentucky, Georgia and LSU.
That group includes left tackle Corey Robinson, left guard A.J. Cann, center T.J. Johnson, right guard Ronald Patrick and right tackle Brandon Shell.
Mike Matulis started for Robinson and Kyle Harris replaced Cann against Florida.
We played two great teams, and we just havent played up to our potential, Lattimore said. Thats the main thing. Weve just got to stay positive throughout the rest of the season, and well be fine.