Marcus Lattimore looks fine to us.
The South Carolina running back didn't have a great game last week against LSU, but not many players will. And he still had one impressive touchdown run, making an excellent cut and showing tremendous balance to get in the end zone. He's looked like his old self in the Gamecocks' other games as well.
Florida safety Josh Evans disagrees.
According to the Miami Herald, Evans thinks Lattimore, who tore his ACL a year ago, isn't quite the same player:
"I think he lost a step a little bit from what we've seen before, but he's still showing statistics, so nothing to take away from him," Evans said Tuesday. "I think that's due to the injury."
Florida and South Carolina play this Saturday.
To be clear, we like Evans' comments. When an athlete is honest, it's better for fans. We get an insight from a player that has watched plenty of Lattimore on film and studied him, and he shared what he thinks. While it looks to us like Lattimore is playing very well, Evans is probably a better source on the subject.
And statistically Lattimore is down a bit in yards per carry. He is averaging a career low 4.5 yards per attempt, although his 13-carry, 35-yard game against LSU didn't help. He still had some nice runs, just not a lot of room to move through a tough defense:
Lattimore has 584 yards and 10 touchdowns this season, but has been more solid than spectacular for the Gamecocks. So maybe Evans is right, and Lattimore is still working back to his old form after surgery.
Still, this seems like it will create a stir in South Carolina. I'm sure Lattimore has been made aware of the comments, they're posted somewhere in his locker and Evans was probably told to quit saying interesting things, which is a shame.
At least we get to see what a fully motivated Lattimore can do against a really nasty Gators defense this week.
EDIT: Or not. It turns out Lattimore has a hip problem that seems likely to keep him out this week, according to Josh Kendall of The State newspaper. So it seems there might have been good reason for Evans to see what he did.
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