The Daily Gamecock

Gamecock offensive line starting to 'have fun,' play better as group

<p>Junior running back No. 20 Kevin Harris rushes the ball past Vanderbilt defense to gain yards and advance the Gamecocks to the endzone in the game versus Vanderbilt Oct. 16, 2021.</p>
Junior running back No. 20 Kevin Harris rushes the ball past Vanderbilt defense to gain yards and advance the Gamecocks to the endzone in the game versus Vanderbilt Oct. 16, 2021.

In South Carolina's 40-17 win against Florida last Saturday, everything went right. Yet, one of the more under-appreciated factors in the team's dominating performance was the play of the offensive line.

Due to a combination of both penalties and allowing sacks, the season had been challenging. However, the group played its best game of the year against the Gators defense, allowing only one sack and committing one penalty. 

Redshirt freshman running back MarShawn Lloyd said he knew the game was going the way the team wanted to when he saw the offensive line "have fun."

"When you're going out there and you have fun, it makes the game so much better," Lloyd said at Tuesday's press conference. "I could tell just by the game, being out there with them, that they were ready to go. They were having fun, and when we have fun, nobody can mess with us."

Another group that had been struggling for the most of the season were the running backs, but with solid blocking upfront from the offensive line, the Gamecocks rushed for a season-high 284 yards.

Junior running back Kevin Harris and redshirt senior running back ZaQuandre White each tallied at least 100 yards on the ground, which sparked the offense.

When describing the success with gaps scheme versus zone scheme, redshirt junior right guard Jovaughn Gwyn said it "helps us more" when running backs can get downhill and move in space.

"A lot of us, that's what we did last year. We can pull. We know how to pull. We know how to do it," Gwyn said at Tuesday's press conference.

Despite missing the presence of senior offensive lineman Dylan Wonnum due to a lower-back injury, the offensive line did its job to protect redshirt senior quarterback Jason Brown, as he was able to complete 14-of-24 passes for 175 yards and two touchdowns.

Offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield said redshirt senior center Eric Douglas was calling everything out pre-snap, but if Brown saw something different, he could change his calls.

"Whatever Eric says, goes," Satterfield said at Wednesday's press conference.

Satterfield said last week was Douglas' best game of the season.

"I've been around some really good players, especially in Carolina, with some of those guys. Eric's got a brain like an NFL player — just the things that he sees — and he's played so much football, but he played his best game the other night, especially from a leadership presence," he said. "I mean, he helped dictate the tempo of that game."

Focusing on this week's matchup against Missouri, South Carolina will face a Tiger defense that has given up around 36 points-per-game.

"Missouri, they've got good players. They're a good team overall — all teams in the SEC are — so it's going to be a good game," Gwyn said. "We just have to keep working this week, win our one-on-ones and compete, like always."

Correction (Nov. 10, 2021, at 10:30 p.m.): A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that South Carolina had two penalties. South Carolina had one penalty.