South Carolina football offensive line coach Lonnie Teasley has had the unenviable task of leading a position unit that has had 12 different players miss at least one game this season.
Several major contributors to the group have missed the whole year (Markee Anderson, Jaylen Nichols, and Ryan Brubaker), some more have missed multiple games (Cason Henry, Trai Jones, Jaxon Hughes, and Vershon Lee), and still a few more enter this contest expected to play while hurt (Jakai Moore, Vershon Lee, Tree Babalade, and Tro Baugh).
Henry and Jones are out this week, joining Anderson, Nichols, and Brubaker as not being included on the dress list.
Because of all of the injuries, the Gamecocks have started 9 different offensive line combinations this season in 9 games. That appears to be changing on Saturday as South Carolina football is set to take on the Vanderbilt Commodores in the rain at Williams-Brice Stadium.
Based on pre-game warmups, the Gamecocks will start, from left to right, an offensive line unit of Tree Babalade-Jakai Moore-Nick Gargiulo-Tro Baugh-Vershon Lee. This is the same group that started last week against Jacksonville State, though, Moore missed much of the game with his own injury.
The Gamecocks’ offensive line is starting four different players who have been hurt recently, so the team’s depth (or lack thereof) could be a factor on Saturday. Sidney Fugar has played a lot of reps at both tackle spots this season, and Tyshawn Wannamaker has played a lot at right tackle (and a little at guard), so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see one or both of them in today’s game.
Even players further down the depth chart like Grayson Mains and JonDarius Morgan have played in some critical moments due to injuries and/or equipment issues.
Somewhat part of the offensive line, the tight end position is also dealing with a little bit of an injury storyline. After leaving the Texas A&M game a couple of weeks ago, tight end Trey Knox missed last week’s game against Jacksonville State but is believed to be available on Saturday. Josh Simon has played well in Knox’s absence.
Vanderbilt and South Carolina football are set to kick off in about twenty minutes in a much-emptier-than-normal Williams-Brice Stadium.