USC Gamecocks Football

In first day on new job, Gamecocks’ Bailey stands tall

Zack Bailey: Win sets tone for team, O-line

South Carolina's Zack Bailey speaks after the win over NC State.
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South Carolina's Zack Bailey speaks after the win over NC State.

First days are usually a little hectic. There’s always some paperwork to fill out, awkward introductions, asking where everything is located.

South Carolina offensive lineman Zack Bailey went through his first day on a job Saturday, and he came out feeling pretty OK about it.

“It was good,” Bailey said. “Before the game, the butterflies kind of kicked in. Just had to calm myself down. Had my team, everyone kind of come together. O-line, we all tell each other, ‘We’ve got this.’ We got out there and got after it.”

Bailey was among the better linemen in the SEC after starting all of last season at guard. But the coaching staff wanted to put him in a higher-leverage spot, so he shifted out to right tackle. He made his first start against N.C. State, and facing a fearsome Wolfpack defensive front led by Bradley Chubb, he held his own.

The N.C. State line failed to register a sack and didn’t have all that many tackles for loss. The only players who got to quarterback Jake Bentley were defensive backs who did so on exotic blitzes. The run game left something to be desired, but the Wolfpack is strong there and loaded the box.

USC coach Will Muschamp said the group neutralized a lot of what N.C. State did by shifting protections and staying ahead of things.

And while the first day is behind Bailey, he’s looking forward to the next one.

“It sets the tone,” Bailey said. “It sets the standard for us.”