How does the old saying go? If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.
South Carolina coach Will Muschamp tried awfully hard to do that on Sunday night when asked about the offensive line play against Kentucky.
“We need to improve,” Muschamp said.
He isn’t kidding.
However, the Gamecocks’ national rankings in tackles for loss allowed and sacks allowed aren’t all that bad when weighed against the bottom-dwelling scoring offense, rushing offense, passing offense and total offense.
Nationally, South Carolina’s 14.3 points per game total sits just above of only FIU. The total offensive output and rushing offense are 124th, ahead of only four teams, and none of them are Power 5 programs.
As bad as the Gamecocks offensive line has looked, it’s not quite as terrible on paper. The 26 tackles for loss allowed is tied for 84th while the 8 sacks allowed is tied for 63rd.
Maybe South Carolina’s offense is stuck because there aren’t many clear lanes for the running backs or clean pockets for the quarterbacks. It certainly doesn’t help that nearly every skill player was unproven heading into 2016. The thing is, before the season began, many touted the offensive line as a potential strength of the team.
Now, Muschamp is reevaluating where things stand with everything and everyone on that side of the ball, including the line.
“We’re having that conversation now,” Muschamp said, “With personnel and scheme and that’s part of the discussion.”
For fans looking for a semblance of positivity to take away from this offense, it could be this: Muschamp doesn’t give out awards for losing.
That interesting bit of information was ascertained after he was asked if someone played well enough against Kentucky to receive Offensive Lineman of the Week.
Left guard Zack Bailey did, however, play well, according to Muschamp.
Here are a few more notable quotes from Sunday night’s teleconference:
- On the team’s development: “This is a group that’s going to continue to improve. It’s not always going to be pretty for us, right now, I said that at the beginning of the season. There’s a lot of things happening right now that we tried to foreshadow a little bit going into the year. That’s just kind of where we are. But, again, great work ethic (Sunday) night. Buy-in tonight was outstanding.”
- Feeling good about playing at home in October: “There’s no doubt, I said it (Saturday) night. Our fans make a difference for us at home. We need that right now. We need to play well for them. We need to represent them the right way and we plan on doing that, but there’s no doubt playing at home, especially for us right now, is something we’re looking forward to.”
- On RB Rico Dowdle: “He’s missed a lot of time, so the contact and the ball security, all of those things are an issue. Realistically, right now, we need for him to help us on special teams, because he’s a really good athlete and runs extremely well, and we’ll see about the rest.”
- The pass rush vs. Kentucky: “I thought Darius (English) rushed the passer well. I thought Dante Sawyer did some nice things. Bryson Allen (Williams) did some nice things when we had him in there at the end position.”
- Looking ahead to Saturday’s game vs. Texas A&M: “They’re extremely talented on the outside. Probably as talented a group in college football at the receiver position, A&M and Ole Miss together are probably the two groups that your look at. They have a little bit of a wow factor outside. They do a nice job with the run game.”