Will Muschamp’s most recent offensive line appraisal went much better than the previous one.
After South Carolina’s 17-10 loss at Kentucky, he could have gone all Steve Spurrier and put a few offensive linemen on blast. Instead, the Gamecocks’ first-year coach was careful with his words, opting not to roast any of his players in the media.
Fortunately, for all Gamecocks involved, Muschamp didn’t have to be so measured after the 24-13 loss to Texas A&M. In fact, he was actually pretty pleased with the offensive line play, relatively speaking.
“I think, in the run game, we only had two or three negative plays … so I thought, against that front, I thought we played well,” he said.
According to the game’s official play log — and not counting the 3 sacks — there were 5 runs that went for loss, 3 of which were by Brandon McIlwain on the same drive in the second quarter.
“I thought we blocked them well,” Muschamp said. “It was a very good front. I thought we did a nice job. We got a hat on a hat in the run game.”
For the night, South Carolina hung its hat on a 75-yard touchdown run by A.J. Turner, who finished with 10 carries for 113 yards.
Rico Dowdle, however, stole the show, rushing 9 times for 47 yards in his college debut.
“He played extremely well,” Muschamp said. “He’s very powerful in his lower body. He ran through tackles. He accelerates through contact.
“His role will continue to expand as we move forward.”
Moving forward, Malik Young’s role is to be determined. The redshirt sophomore started at right tackle vs. Texas A&M, making him the third player occupy that starting spot this season.
“Malik plays with a great energy and a great effort. There’s somethings we need to clean up technically, but I am extremely proud of him and the way he played in his first start,” Muschamp said. “I’m excited about what he brings to the table. He plays with a lot of passion. It’s important to him to play for South Carolina and I’m excited about him.”
D.J. Park was the starter against Vanderbilt, East Carolina and Kentucky. Blake Camper, who’s been sidelined with an ankle injury, got the nod at Mississippi State.
Muschamp told reporters on Sunday night that Camper was available to play in case of an emergency.