South Carolina Football: Gamecocks to debut new-look offensive line?

Vershon Lee (53) and Jakai Moore (55) are in line to start on the offensive line this fall. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Vershon Lee (53) and Jakai Moore (55) are in line to start on the offensive line this fall. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /

South Carolina football is currently on the field warming up for a 3:30 kickoff against SEC East rival Florida. It’s a huge game for both teams, and “desperate for a win” is a good descriptor for both Shane Beamer’s and Billy Napier’s programs on this football Saturday.

Coming off of a Bye Week, the Gamecocks appear set to do whatever it takes to flip the script on their 2-3 season.

During pregame, Lonnie Teasley’s offensive line unit looked drastically different than anything that the Gamecocks have shown so far this season. Earlier in the week, Coach Beamer hinted at some offensive line changes when he failed to give an answer when asked about a plan moving forward for the offensive front.

But the pregame alignment is a bigger change than most would have expected.

Less than thirty minutes from kickoff, it appears as if Spencer Rattler will be protected by a group that shares exactly zero starters with the week 1 version of the offensive line.

If the pregame warmups are indicative of the plan for the game, South Carolina football will start an offensive line unit of:

Left Tackle: Tree Babalade
Left Guard: Trai Jones
Center: Nick Gargiulo
Right Guard: Tro Baugh
Right Tackle: Vershon Lee

Nick Gargiulo and Vershon Lee are the only week 1 starters who appear set to start against Florida, but both experienced players will be in a new spot. Gargiulo, who started the previous five games at left guard, looks to slide further inside to center, and Lee, the starting center, appears ready to play right tackle, the position that has struggled the most this season.

Tree Babalade has established himself as the starter at left tackle, and other than a tough showing against Tennessee, he has played well since joining the lineup in week 3. Tro Baugh got his first start of the year against Tennessee at right guard but has played significant snaps at the position every game other than the season opener.

Trai Jones has started a couple of games at guard in the past, but none of them have been this season. Jones was believed to be a starter for much of the preseason, but he did not crack the starting lineup. That could be changing this afternoon.

Banged-up lineman Jakai Moore is believed to be available, and his experience playing both guard and tackle means that if any of the new-look experiments fail, #55 could be brought in quickly. Tackles Sidney Fugar and Tyshawn Wannamaker (who have both started games this season) are available, as well.

Tight end blocking has been a struggle this season, as well, and preseason lineup announcements included Joshua Simon as the starter at the position, a role that had been occupied by Trey Knox. It is worth noting, however, that the pregame lineup announcements have not always been accurate.

South Carolina football and Florida football will kickoff right after 3:30 on the SECNetwork and ESPN app.

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