Will Muschamp told the media Tuesday that senior defensive tackle Taylor Stallworth should return to practice from a head injury despite being listed as questionable for Saturday’s game against Florida.
If Stallworth can’t go Saturday, the Gamecocks are trying everything possible to prevent a gaping hole in the middle.
A man who has become a run-stuffer is Javon Kinlaw, who Muschamp credits with having taken significant steps since the start of his Gamecocks career.
Kinlaw showed up to camp admittedly out of shape, but now is down to a playing weight of 300 pounds and providing a real presence in the middle.
Kinlaw played a season-high 45 snaps in the absence of Stallworth, who came off the field midway through the Georgia game. He knows that he may be counted on for more on Saturday:
Another player who has been a swiss-army knife of sorts for Muschamp is freshman D-Lineman Keir Thomas. At just 260 pounds, Thomas is able to alternate between playing inside and outside at both end and tackle.
One part of the scheme Muschamp teaches is for players to command multiple blocks and use their ability to shoot through gaps. Thomas has the ability to do both and is becoming a player Muschamp can’t take off the field, despite Stallworth’s availability.
Florida comes in as the 68th best rushing offense in the country (161.4 yards per game) and the 104th best passing offense (177 yards per game).
Despite those numbers, Muschamp referenced last year’s contest where the Gators “pushed us around” with the same cast of characters they will see Saturday. The Gamecocks know that regardless of the competition, they need to come to play better this week.
The Gators descend on Williams-Brice Stadium to face the Gamecocks at noon Saturday on CBS.