South Carolina football coach Will Muschamp held it up as a point of pride through all of May.
The “May-mester” portion of the academic calendar is a break of sorts for the offseason weight program. Players can go home, get out of town, or they can elect to stay around Columbia and work out. USC had 45 scholarship players take that last option.
And two groups made the primary push.
“Our offensive line and defensive line came together and they said, ‘We’re staying,’ ” Muschamp said.
Never miss a local story.
Those groups combined would make up a large portion of the 45 who stuck around and those positions were in particular need of more strength in 2017.
The 2016 offensive line helped USC to average 3.7 yards per carry, 108th nationally, and often were pushed back into the backfield. The defensive line had some pieces to work with, but also were often overwhelmed and got moved in the run game.
He mentioned Dante Sawyer had missed much of the offseason lifting last year and it showed in the early going.
“May-Mester” officially wrapped up May 25, and the next session of classes starts Tuesday.
Now, led by their lines, the Gamecocks hope to change the trend.
“We’ve got 45 scholarship guys on campus that came to me and said, ‘Coach, I want to be on campus in May working out with coach Dillman and his staff,’ ” Muschamp said. “And I think that’s a testament to our players understanding, part of being a coachable kid is understanding what you’ve got to do to be successful, and we’ve got to be stronger in the front seven.”