South Carolina football: Gamecocks need to find top option at tailback

Running back Deshaun Fenwick #14 of the South Carolina Gamecocks. (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)
Running back Deshaun Fenwick #14 of the South Carolina Gamecocks. (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images) /

The South Carolina football team is still trying to find its best option at RB.

The South Carolina running game posted a “middle of the road” type performance in its season opening loss to Tennessee, as three Gamecock tailbacks combined to rush 26 times for a total of 105 yards. The four yard per carry average wasn’t bad, but the coaching staff will certainly hope to increase the group’s productivity moving forward to next week.

The Gamecocks are set to take on the third-ranked Florida Gators on Saturday in its first road game of the season. Last week, the Gators’ defense looked beatable, as Ole Miss was able to put up over 600 yards of offense, including 170 on the ground.

South Carolina will hope to continue that trend as they’ll need to control the clock and keep the ball out of hands of Florida quarterback Kyle Trask, who threw six touchdowns in the opener.

In order to do so, South Carolina needs to find its best option at running back. Each of the three current backs offer a little something different for opposing defenses, but after a near even rotation last Saturday, it doesn’t appear as if anyone has separated themselves from the bunch.

Kevin Harris took the first snap at tailback in the South Carolina football opener.



South Carolina Gamecocks Football
South Carolina Gamecocks Football /

13 att, 55 yds, 1 td

The Gamecocks chose to go with sophomore Kevin Harris in the opener versus Tennessee, and he provided a decent performance. Harris posted 13 carries for 55 yards and a score, while also catching a nine-yard pass out of the backfield.

He’s a big bodied, downhill runner that has a little burst, as shown by his first quarter score on Saturday.

He may be the favorite to get the start against Florida, though there could be another sophomore eyeing his spot.



South Carolina Gamecocks Football
South Carolina Gamecocks Football /

6 att, 31 yds; 4 rec, 45 yds

Deshaun Fenwick ended up getting 10 touches in the season opener despite being the third option out of the backfield. He ran six times for 31 yards, and caught four passes for 45 yards. He recorded the team’s longest run and catch amongst tailbacks.

Throughout his career, the redshirt sophomore has waited patiently for his opportunity. Last year, he sat behind NFLers Rico Dowdle and Tavien Feaster. Now, he’s looking to make his impact.

And Fenwick’s been productive when called upon, tallying 100-yard performances in his only two starts, one of which came in SEC play against Vanderbilt. His output last weekend may force the coaching staff to re-evaluate his spot on the depth chart.

ZaQuandre White could be a wildcard in the South Carolina football team’s offense.



South Carolina Gamecocks Football
South Carolina Gamecocks Football /

7 att, 19 yds, 2.7 ypc

ZaQuandre White’s performance was a little disappointing on Saturday after coming to Columbia as the top-ranked junior college running back in the country. At Iowa Western last season, White ran for 876 yards and 10 scores on his way to JUCO All-America honors.

Saturday night, though, he tallied just 15 yards on eight touches.

White possesses big play potential, as he’s got the speed and power to run through or around defenders. He may also be the best pass catcher out of the backfield, though Fenwick may have something to say about that.

White should get a bit of a pass for his opening day performance, as he missed most of the fall camp with a hamstring injury, but fans and coaches alike will want to see him reach his potential sooner rather than later. Hopefully we’ll see him build some confidence as the season wears on.

It’s unclear how the rotation will shape up for the week two meeting versus Florida, but we’ll probably see a “running back by committee” approach until someone proves to be the leader of the pack. South Carolina needs one of these backs to provide a spark and take some pressure off of quarterback Collin Hill.

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