South Carolina tasked with slowing tough Missouri defensive front
South Carolina's quarterback-center combination are both true freshmen. Playing on the road against an SEC division opponent may cause some problems.
Those issues might be exacerbated even further by Missouri's defense.
The Tigers rank No. 7 overall in total defense. Head coach Gary Pinkel's defense leads the SEC in total defense and in pass defense. It's a unit buoyed by middle linebacker Kentrell Brothers, and a host of talented defensive linemen.
The Gamecocks will have to play with a cohesive effort up front. Missouri is far too talented along its defensive line to be gifted anything in the way of pass-protection blunders. The end duo of Walter Brady and Charles Harris have combined for 6.0 sacks and 15 tackles for loss. In the middle, Missouri brings a two-headed monster in the form of 6'4″, 335-pound Josh Augusta and elite true freshman Terry Beckner, Jr.
“They're fast, they're physical, they're so relentless,” said South Carolina Co-Offensive Coordinator and Offensive Line coach Shawn Elliott after Wednesday's practice. “They play with great effort. Some of the things you see from those guys…they're chasing balls down. That's the number one thing I always see from those guys, from the first time they stepped into this conference…they've have been unbelievable. They play with great effort and I respect that.”
South Carolina's starting center is true freshman Zack Bailey. He performed very well in the UCF game last week, and will need to be called upon again to provide a quality effort in this contest. His ability to be in sync with fellow true freshman quarterback Lorenzo Nunez will be paramount for success.
“His snaps were on point, he did a good job, [and] he didn't get overwhelmed,” said Elliott. [Bailey] played with confidence, played with poise…anytime an offensive lineman can go in there as a true freshman and play successful football…I'm pretty pleased with it. I think he did a pretty good job.”