Struggles up front continue in Georgia
The issues South Carolina was dealing with on the Gamecocks’ offensive line the first two weeks of the season came to a breaking point Saturday on the road.
Going up against what is arguably the best defensive line in the country, the Gamecocks struggled mightily up front and it was a heavy contributor to the Gamecocks’40-13 loss in Athens.
Beamer said in his postgame press conference that Georgia didn't do anything, "magical" from a schematic standpoint, rather the Bulldog defense is just good.
"They've got like a hundred five-star football players on their defense," Beamer said. "They're big and physical and fast, other than that they're really freaking good, that's why they have the top defense in the country."
The Gamecocks totaled eight rushing yards in the first half of the game, led by MarShawn Lloyd who had five yards on one carry. Former SEC leading rusher Kevin Harris had five carries in the first half but gained as many yards as he did lost, leaving him with zero for the half.
Not all the blame falls on the running backs for the lack of running game though. South Carolina had six penalties called against them as a team in the first half, four of them were against the offensive line.
The offensive line managed to only give up one sack in the first half but whoever was under center for South Carolina was under pressure for just about every snap of the game. A safety right before the half was the epitome of the lines, and the offense's as a whole struggle.
The subpar play though shouldn't be held entirely against the Gamecocks. Georgia has one of, if not, the best defenses in the country so this should have been expected to a certain degree.
"Credit to Georgia's defense, they've got a good squad over there and they got some shots on us," Doty said. "But I think its just about coming together, we'd get together after every drive, go off to the sideline and rally around each other."
South Carolina’s two turnovers—a Luke Doty interception and strip sack, had pressure in the backfield at the time the turnovers happened; after working Jazston Turnetine on the edge, outside linebacker Nolan Smith sacked Doty, causing the ball to hit the ground where it was recovered by inside backer Quay Walker.
Turnetine and Jakai Moore rotated at left tackle Saturday with neither necessarily solidifying the spot Saturday. Moore started the game after Turnetine started the first two weeks.
Beamer said that Jakai had a solid week of practice and earned the starting job.
"We talk all the time, two of the core values of our program are accountability and competition," Beamer said. "We want to be accountable and if the guy that practiced better competes and has a good week of practice, we certainly wanna reward that guy and that's what happened with Jakai."
Harris was able to gain some traction in the second half but it wasn't enough, he ended with 31 yards. Lloyd improved too, he ended with 19 yards and ZaQuandre White popped out of nowhere for 30 rushing yards on the last drive.
The offensive line found themselves getting flagged again in the second half, albeit less than the first half. One holding call on Jakai Moore killed the Gamecock's momentum in the red zone as the offense was threatening to score their second touchdown of the game.
South Carolina was able to make things respectable in the rushing game, finishing with 96 yards on the ground but averaging 2.8 yards.
That was in large part because of 55 yards rushing in the fourth quarter and the Gamecocks averaged five yards a pop and didn’t allow a sack.
Through three quarters, though, South Carolina had allowed all three of the sacks they allowed Saturday and averaged just 1.8 yards per carry, 41 rush yards on 23 carries.
"We've gotta continue to get better, we've gotta coach better" Beamer said. "I know we have a bunch of fighters in the locker room and I told them in there, I can not wait to get back to Columbia and get back to work with them tomorrow."
• Not a subscriber? Learn more about Gamecock Central here!
• Watch our live show and subscribe to our YouTube channel.
• Sign up for Gamecock Central's FREE news alerts and daily newsletter.
• Subscribe to our podcast on whatever podcast platform you prefer!
• Follow Gamecock Central on Instagram @GamecockCentral.