South Carolina Football Offseason Autopsy: Part 1, Grading the offense

South Carolina football coach Shane Beamer. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
South Carolina football coach Shane Beamer. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /
8 of 8
South Carolina Football
South Carolina football’s Tro Baugh pulling as a lead blocker against Texas A&M. Mandatory Credit: Dustin Safranek-USA TODAY Sports /

South Carolina Football Offseason Autopsy:
Grading the Offensive Line

D. Not much needs to be said about this one. There was not a single game this season in which the offensive line played extremely well. The top performances of the season came against really bad defenses, and any quality unit on the other side of the ball dominated the Carolina line. On the bright side, injuries were a major factor for the poor play, but they weren’t the sole issue. Next year won’t be any better on offense if things don’t improve in the trenches.. Offense. South Carolina Gamecocks. OFFENSIVE LINE

There is no way to avoid saying the truth: the South Carolina offensive line was really bad this season.

However, there should be some context that is added to that statement when discussing the 2023 campaign. The Gamecocks were ravaged by injuries on the offensive line. Six linemen who were in the 2-deep at some point this year missed the majority or all of the season, three more starters missed multiple games, and the rest of the starters played hurt at times.

Despite all of the injuries, it is still fair to say that USC didn’t do enough up front to have a successful offense. The big fellas allowed 41 sacks (118th in the country) and 75 tackles for loss (125th in the country). Based on those numbers, it’s a testament to Spencer Rattler’s brilliance that the offense managed to finish in the top-100 this season.

Veteran Vershon Lee was the best performer this season, both when he played inside at center and when he slid out to right tackle later in the season, and the fact that he returns next season means that he likely will start somewhere in 2024.

Freshmen Tree Babalade and Tro Baugh started the majority of the year and flashed some good moments. However, as is usually the case, they struggled at times because they were first-year players forced to compete in the SEC before they were ready.

Grad transfer Nick Gargiulo didn’t have a great year but had to start (both at left guard and at center), and versatile older players Trai Jones and Jakai Moore both battled injuries and had some decent moments and some not-so-decent moments.

After Cason Henry went down with an injury, the early-season right tackle battle between Sidney Fugar and Tyshawn Wannamaker resulted in a lot of poor play at that position.

Though another talented freshman class is set to arrive in Columbia next year (5-star Josiah Thompson, 4-star Kam Pringle, and 4-star Blake Franks), the Gamecocks could be inclined to try to find a stopgap or two out of the transfer portal until all of the youngsters are ready to play full-time.

South Carolina Football: Which positions must the Gamecocks hit hardest in the transfer portal?. light. Related Story