Game preview: NC State offers stiff test in USC opener
Here’s one of those weird football questions: Why do defensive linemen rotate all game long and offensive linemen never do?
There are a ton of answers, including:
▪ Offensive linemen run less because they, in theory, know where they are going on each play and can hold ground rather than try to take it at times.
▪ Cohesion of a group is considered a bigger factor on the offensive front than the defensive.
Still, it’s odd that we’ve never seen a football team of any stature make rotating offensive linemen a strategy.
South Carolina heads into Saturday’s game against N.C. State with a set starting of five of Malik Young at left tackle, Donell Stanley at left guard, Alan Knott at center, Cory Helms at right guard and Zack Bailey at right tackle.
It seems that those five pretty clearly won their starting jobs, but let’s say for instance that D.J. Park had really pushed Stanley and the Gamecocks coaches thought the two were basically even. Or if junior college transfer Dennis Daley was that close to Young at tackle. Why not rotate those players so that each was fresher and, in theory, better in the fourth quarter?
It’s doubtful the Gamecocks will become college football trendsetters in that way this season, but the coaches have at least considered how the backups might play.
“I think Dennis Daley’s a guy that’s played extremely well, he just needs to be more consistent. D.J. Park is a guy that’s very versatile, can play across the board at different spots, certainly can. Sadarius Hutcherson’s last 10 days of camp has been the guy that we recruited and a guy that we’re excited about. Chandler Farrell’s certainly capable of going in and playing extremely well for us. Blake Camper’s done a nice job,” Muschamp said. “So we got guys that we have confidence in and being able to put in the game and being effective.”
Effective enough that they might play them all as a matter of game plan? Probably not, but it’s interesting to think about.