Add Jaylin Dickerson to the long list of injured South Carolina safeties.
Dickerson pulled a hamstring muscle in Saturday’s 35-31 loss to Florida, head coach Will Muschamp announced Sunday, meaning the Gamecocks are now down to two healthy safeties on the roster as they prepare to play Chattanooga this week at 7:30 p.m. in Williams-Brice Stadium.
“We are very thin,” said Muschamp, who added the coaching staff discussed Sunday night moving players from other positions to help with depth at the position.
Senior Steven Montac and freshman R.J. Roderick are the only available safeties at the moment, although senior J.T. Ibe may be able to return this week after missing the last five games due to a knee injury.
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“I won’t know about him until Tuesday,” Muschamp said.
Fellow senior graduate transfer Nick Harvey has missed the last four games due to a concussion. Harvey is out for the Chattanooga game and questionable for the remainder of the season. Safeties Jamyest Williams (shoulder) and Javon Charleston (foot) have been lost to season-ending injuries. There’s a chance Harvey could receive a medical redshirt season and return next year, Muschamp said.
Cornerback Rashad Fenton can move to safety for South Carolina, and Muschamp said last week that wide receiver Shi Smith could play cornerback in an emergency situation.
Defensive end Aaron Sterling is also doubtful for the Chattanooga game due to the knee injury that kept him out of the Florida game, Muschamp said. Junior running back Ty’Son Williams did not play against the Gators due to having a cast on his hand.
“He was concerned about carrying the ball in one hand, and we were as well,” Muschamp said. “I would love to be able to cut the cast back a little bit, but his health is the most important thing. That’s up to the doctors.”
Another close game. South Carolina is now 12-5 in games decided by seven points or fewer under Muschamp.
“We had been really good in one-score games here, but we didn’t get it done and that’s on me,” Muschamp said.
More missed tackles. Muschamp again expressed his displeasure with his team’s tackling against Florida and throughout the season.
“Yesterday we had guys trying to butt guys down and not wrap up,” he said. “It’s been coached. Obviously, it’s not been coached well enough. That’s on me. You cannot butt guys down at our level, and we made that mistake again yesterday several times.”
The Gamecocks “wore down” in the fourth quarter against the Gators, Muschamp said.
“Too many missed tackles and that’s something we have been saying from week to week,” he said. “We lost too many one on ones. When it’s a draw, the offense wins. We have to defeat blocks.”
Most of the team’s tackling issues are at the linebacker and safety positions, Muschamp said.