With the return of three elder statesmen on the offensive line, South Carolina needs to find a way to stabilize and grow its offensive production.
With numbers still in the 100s in terms of rankings nationally, including a rushing offense that’s 12th from the bottom amongst FBS teams, the excuses are running low as to why the Gamecocks can’t seem to execute offensively.
Despite much of their offense centered around the now-injured Deebo Samuel, USC’s preseason promise of explosion on offense has yet to provide any significant threat to the defenses they have faced in SEC play.
Much of that lack of production can be attributed to the loss of three offensive linemen, as Zack Bailey, Malik Young and Cory Helms have missed all or a signifcant amount of the last three games for the Gamecocks.
While the play wasn’t always pretty for South Carolina, the Gamecocks were able to grow trust in players like Sadarius Hutcherson and Blake Camper to provide a sufficient stopgap. While Will Muschamp has not expressed this publicly, it’s assumed Hutcherson will return to a backup role with the older players returning. Hutcherson believes he’s more prepared now to come in and contribute when his number is called:
The injury bug still continues to bite the Gamecocks however, as Mon Denson will get an increase in his workload with the injury to Rico Dowdle.
Coach Muschamp talked about how the newfound depth of the returning offensive linemen can mesh with the hunger of Denson, a three-year player who is finally getting his chance to be a major player in thee Gamecocks offense:
Denson admitted frustration when asked about how long he’s been waiting to feel like a full part of this offense, starting the year as primarily a blocking back and fourth-string option. A player who Steve Spurrier referred to as “a human bowling ball” when he recruited him, the LaGrange, Georgia native has taken his newfound opportunity with the right attitude:
South Carolina plays Vanderbilt Saturday in its homecoming game at 4 PM on SEC Network.