COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina offensive line coach Eric Wolford knew when he was hired that his job was to toughen up his players and improve the Gamecocks offensive numbers.
He believes that’s happening this summer.
Everyone will know for sure in a few weeks.
The Gamecocks were next-to-last in Southeastern Conference rushing and last in the league in sacks allowed – both areas where the offensive line gets most of the blame.
”There was a concern with our overall athletic ability when you look at the matchups we have week in and week out,” Wolford said about watching tape of last year’s lack of production.
Through more than two weeks of summer camp, South Carolina coaches are confident the players up front will be improved and ready to anchor South Carolina’s offense.
”I think Eric’s done a great job of helping those guys progress,” offensive coordinator Kurt Roper said. ”I feel good about those guys, I feel good about going to play right now if we had to play.”
Wolford credited strength coach Jeff Dillman with pushing players to get stronger, faster and fearless, saying ”our players have done a great job this summer of becoming more mobile, their ability to change direction.”
Wolford is a fiery offensive line coach starting his second stint with the Gamecocks. He was hired in 2009 as offensive line coach by then head coach Steve Spurrier. Despite staying just one year, Wolford had a hand in setting up South Carolina’s three-year run of unprecedented success – 33-6 mark from 2011-13 – as part of the group that recruited All-SEC running back Marcus Lattimore to the Gamecocks.