Oh, snap: O-line's crumble continues

Things are going downhill when a play starts on the 32 but ends as a safety

semerson@thestate.comNovember 8, 2009 

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - It was another poor day for the South Carolina offensive line.

Once again, the troubles of the Gamecocks mirrored those of their front five. After a solid first half, the offensive fell apart in the 33-16 loss at Arkansas.

The line committed four false-start penalties.

It yielded two sacks and several other pressures.

Then there was the play that seemed to signal the team's demise.

Trailing 24-16 in the third quarter with the ball at their 32, center Garrett Anderson's snap went way over the head of Stephen Garcia. The ball squirted into the end zone, where Brian Maddox fell on it for a safety.

"My foot was too high from there and I threw it too hard, and he just couldn't pull it down," Anderson said. "Now I gotta work on that. It's something I've been trying to work on, but apparently I didn't fix it enough."

Garcia took some of the blame.

"It was a little too hard and a little too high," Garcia said. "I think I still should've caught it. That was another huge play that changed momentum."

Then Garcia let out a loud sigh.

"We're hurting ourselves," he said. "We drive downfield then end drives with penalties, turnovers, sacks, get out of field-goal positions. It's just hurting us against these good teams."

Anderson, a senior, had just entered the game after Lemuel Jeanpierre exited with an injury. Jeanpierre eventually returned, and Anderson went back to the bench.

It was a patchwork day on the line. Right tackle Hutch Eckerson left in the first quarter with an injury, with Quintin Richardson replacing him before Eckerson returned.

Jarriel King, the usual starter at left tackle, was home with a concussion, replaced by Kyle Nunn.

And Garrett Chisolm, a walk-on, started his first game, at left guard.

Anderson was asked to describe the frustration level after another poor day by the line.

"Outstanding. Outrageous. I mean it's, I can't even think of a bunch of words to describe it," he said.

"We are much better than this. We haven't played near as well as we can. We had showed some improvement, but we've slipped. We're not playing anywhere near as well as we can. We had moments where we looked decent out there, but we're not playing near as well as we can. We've gotta get better."

Few would argue.

Reach Emerson at (803) 771-8676.

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