This weekend’s game in Columbia is a pivotal game for both the Hogs and Gamecocks, Arkansas looks to get over .500 before a rough stretch of games. South Carolina is looking to get back on track after a 1-2 start in conference play. To get a look at things from the South Carolina perspective, we talked to Garnet And Black Attack’s Thomas Floyd about the game. Be sure to check out their work if you want some more insight on the South Carolina point of view!
This season has been a mixed bag for SC between the high of the NC State win and the low of the Kentucky loss. How do Gamecock fans feel about the season so far?
TF: Honestly, its a disappointment. If our offense plays even above average, we probably would’ve beaten Kentucky and we definitely would’ve beaten A&M. Our defense has played well, considering they haven’t given up more than 28 points. Considering the offensive talent we have and the way our defense is playing, its honestly a disappoint to me and all fans.
There are a lot of guys on the O-Line dealing with injuries, what is the status of those players?
TF: Cory Helms, Malik Young, and Zach Bailey are all day to day according to Coach Muschamp. He said Bailey has the best chance to play Saturday, which would be pretty good considering he’s probably the best O-Lineman we have. Cory Helms is as tough as they come, so if he can play he’ll be on the field.
How does the receiving corps look after losing Deebo Samuel?
TF: Loosing Deebo hurts a lot, he’s an extremely good player. However, with having Bryan Edwards, Shi and OrTre Smith, and the plethora of TEs we have, the group effort to replace him is going well to me. Bryan McClendon does a great job of recruiting WRs, and it’s showing.
Pass protection has been a huge issue for the Hogs, how was South Carolina's pass rush looked this season?
TF: Bryson Allen-Williams was one of our best pass rushers, and he just had shoulder surgery and is out for the season. We’re ranked 12th in the SEC with 8 sacks through 5 games, so it’s not very good whatsoever. DJ Wonnum is one of the guys who’s going to have to step up and get it going for our pass rush to improve.
What is the key matchup that could swing the game?
TF: Honestly, if we can’t stop the run then we’re screwed. We don’t have any defensive tackles except Taylor Stallworth and Javon Kinlaw who will mostly demand a double team, and they can’t play all game. TJ Brunson and Skai Moore are going to have to have huge games in run defense for us to win. If the Hogs can run for more than 175 yards on around 40 carries, then they’re going to win.
What is your prediction for Saturday?
TF: This game scares me. We haven’t played a team with the offense like Arkansas when it comes to the rushing attack. If South Carolina can limit the 5 yard runs on first down and make Austin Allen throw 30 times, then we will have a chance. If the Cocks can put Arkansas in 2nd and 3rd and longs, they’re gonna have a pretty good chance. I don’t think this is going to happen. This is just a bad matchup for us. 28-20 Razorbacks. I hope I’m wrong.