Josh Kendall

South Carolina has a clear leader for the left tackle spot, Wolford says

It looks like South Carolina has found a starting left tackle.

“We are going to probably start Malik right now at this time,” Gamecocks offensive line coach Eric Wolford said Tuesday after practice.

Malik Young, a 6-foot-3, 303-pound junior, had been competing with Dennis Daley, a 6-foot-6, 319-pound junior college transfer, recently in camp.

“Dennis has been inconsistent, which you would expect from a new player,” Wolford said. “At times, he flashes like the guy we expect him to be. A lot of players flash. The thing is, who can consistently play for 75 snaps, 80 snaps when you are going fast and you’re tired and it’s hot out. This is a detail-oriented position.”

Daley said Tuesday he doesn’t feel like he’s ready to be a starter at this moment because of his inexperience in the system.

“Right now, Malik plays harder than him on a consistent basis,” Wolford said. “Malik plays hard. That son of a gun will play hard, but you have to keep pushing him too. All these guys you have to keep pushing. That’s my job as a coach to make sure no one ever feels like they are grandfathered in or entitled to any position.”

Wolford praised the play of guards Donell Stanley and Cory Helms and center Alan Knott, indicating they are solid in their starting positions as well, as is right tackle Zack Bailey.

“We have to keep challenging these guys,” Wolford said.

The Gamecocks offensive line will get a stiff test in the season-opener against N.C. State, which has one of the nation’s best defensive lines.

“You have to line up and play,” Wolford said. “Those guys have done a good job recruiting. Every pro scout that comes in here talks about all those defensive linemen they have and what a great matchup because that’s what we’re going to face when we play in the SEC. It’s going to be a preview of what we can expect to come up.”