South Carolina’s offense is relatively rare in what it’s done this year. Most teams that run offenses out of the shotgun play three or four receivers every play, usually with someone smaller and quicker at inside slot positions.
USC has played a tight end there the whole season, and that’s likely not going to change.
Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp said the staff hasn’t put any thought toward shifting one of their outside receivers into the slot.
“We’re not going to try and make change for the sake of making change,” Muschamp said. “It’s about what helps our football team. Hayden Hurst has played really well in the slot for us. K.C. Crosby has done a nice job for us.”
Hurst has been productive, as his 388 receiving yards rank as fifth-most among tight ends nationally. Jamari Smith opened the season as USC’s slot receiver, but after dropping three of the first passes that went his way, he’s been limited to being a runner on jet sweeps.
The Gamecocks have been thin and injured at receiver. The top two options, Deebo Samuel and Bryan Edwards, missed time, and there were few experienced bodies behind them.
That’s not to say the Gamecocks staff doesn’t eventually want that infusion of speed in the slot, but at the moment, it hasn’t been a detriment.
“Our slot production has been solid based on not having Deebo and Bryan Edwards for the majority of the season, which obviously has affected our entire offense,” Muschamp said. “Certainly being able to move some guys inside that obviously have a little more wiggle and speed to stretch the field vertically can help us, and that’s something we’re looking forward to.”