Luke Doty’s health and improved running game are key to South Carolina’s success


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COLUMBIA – When South Carolina starting quarterback Luke Doty broke his foot six weeks ago, coach Shane Beamer quickly dismissed any feelings of ‘doom and sadness’ surrounding the most important player’s injury of his attack.

During his weekly press conference Tuesday ahead of Saturday’s home game against Troy, Beamer again went to another phrase often used to declare “the sky is not falling” after imploring those who weren’t on the program. to realize that his team is 2-2 after a 16-10 loss to Kentucky and it isn’t until September.

“You have to stick to the plan and stay focused on the process,” Beamer said. “My dad (former Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer) used to say all the time, whether to his son or his football team, ‘Things are never as good or as bad as they are. Looks like it. There is somewhere in between. ‘ There were certainly a lot of bad (Saturday) nights, but there were also a lot of good ones. I think our players realize how close we are and it was frustrating not being able to get over the bump the other way. evening.

“I’m not going to suddenly make rash decisions after four games in the first year (of his tenure). We have a good plan on how we’re going to be able to move this thing forward. September and we’re not going to blow it all up. We have good players and coaches and we need to perform better. “

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The game against Troy begins a three-game streak that is probably crucial for USC to achieve any type of winning streak with games in Tennessee and the home of Vanderbilt to follow. After that comes the strongest on the calendar with the last five opponents being Texas A&M, Florida, Missouri, Auburn and Clemson.

One of the main mysterious issues right now is USC’s lack of ability to lead the ball with much success, especially in the past two weeks. The ground game was one of the few areas to have excelled in last year’s 2-8 debacle, featuring an outstanding season for Associated Press All-SEC running back Kevin Harris and despite the absence from leading first recruit MarShawn Lloyd to a torn ACL.

Although the USC defense forced three turnovers against Kentucky, their offense failed to capitalize. The Gamecocks rushed for 58 yards averaging just 2.2 yards per carry per week after 96 rushing yards on 2.8 per carry at Georgia. So far, Harris (35 carries for 92 yards) and Lloyd in his healthy return (27 for 98) have been terribly unproductive and neither has scored a touchdown.

The Gamecocks are 11th in the SEC with 123.3 yards per game, 12th with 3.4 per carry and last with a single rushing touchdown.

“It wasn’t like we had a bunch of runs that were just schematically bad (against Kentucky) and didn’t stand a chance,” Beamer said. “These are just the details of the game – if your footwork is a bit off in the running back position and we’re a little quick on a game, or if the quarterback’s footwork is off. don’t mean (we need to) simplify, but sharpen the details and maybe simplify a little bit, run a smaller number of plays and be efficient. Whatever we call it, we have good offensive linemen, running backs and should be able to execute, regardless of the defense and the name of the game. “

A spark for the rushed game will be Doty‘s comes back to full health when he displays the rebound in his gait that has proven him to be one of the top athletes on the list. Doty missed the first two weeks of the season before leaving the bench against Georgia. His only start was last week against Kentucky. Once he’s healed and he’s perfectly comfortable using his dual threat ability, USC can confidently expand their game planning.

“Is he running as well as he did before getting injured? Probably not,” Beamer said. “Is he that far? No. And as he continues to feel better, we’ll keep opening things up. We don’t necessarily feel limited (in play calls), but I don’t think he’s realistic. to say he’s 100 percent. He’s getting close and he’s good enough to play and I’m glad he’s fighting as hard as he is. “

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