USC will have a trio of running backs ready to play in Tuesday’s Outback Bowl. Senior Kenny Miles is listed as the starter, with freshman Mike Davis holding down the backup role and redshirt freshman Shon Carson running third. All three backs are expected to play though.
The Gamecocks depth at running back has been tested this season. Carson injured his wrist in the preseason and hasn’t played a down all year, Brandon Wilds opted for a redshirt and Marcus Lattimore was lost to a knee injury down the stretch run. The team nearly had to pull the redshirt off Wilds late in the regular season finale against Clemson when both Miles and Davis were injured, but Miles was able to return late and finish the game.
Miles still isn’t quite 100 percent. He skipped the bowling during a team outing here in Tampa because he didn’t want to take any chances with his still sore shoulder. Running backs coach Everett Sands said that even though Miles wasn’t able to pick up any strikes or spares, he should be fine to handle his football duties against the Wolverines.
“He’s been able to do everything we’ve asked him to do,” Sands said. “He’s been able to step up and make some good and nice blocks in pass pro. I don’t see any hindrance in him.”
Carson hasn’t had a carry since the run he had at Georgia in 2011 when he suffered a season ending knee injury. At that time he was a true freshman and had passed Miles to take over the backup duties behind Lattimore. He was impressing again during this past preseason before the setback with the wrist injury. He’s shown a little rust since returning to practice this month, but not enough for Sands to keep him on the sideline.
“We pretty much plan on playing Shon,” Sands said. “When and how many plays I don’t know all that exactly, but definitely plan on playing him this week.”