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Why staying in town this May could help South Carolina offensive line

On3 imageby:Wes Mitchell05/27/24

Wes Mitchell

In a sport that has become nearly year-round, May is one of the few months where South Carolina football players can rest and reset.

But as with anything that has become as uber-competitive as major college athletics, there’s always a balance to strike between taking some time off vs. falling behind.

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South Carolina head coach Shane Beamer encouraged his team to take the time off they needed this month in order to be ready to roll in June. But he wasn’t upset to see several of his offensive linemen decided to stick around to use the weight room facilities this month.

“I think it’s huge. And most of them did (stay in town),” Beamer said last week. “I mean, I was in the weight room yesterday and saw Tree (Babalade) and saw Jakai (Moore) and whatnot. Saw Trovon (Baugh). You know, so many of them. Kam Pringle. They’re all, I think they’ve all been there, bits and pieces. We don’t want to hold them hostage in the month of May. I want them to be able to get away. But they’re strictly there on their own. I mean, it’s completely voluntary.”

South Carolina returns a unique balance of guys on its o-line after struggling with both injuries and overall performance last season.

It’s a mix of veteran returners, freshman newcomers, and transfer additions — and it appears the vets have taken last year personally.

“But they’ve done a great job,” Beamer continued. “We’re fortunate in that we got all those guys coming back. And you’ve got some older guys and Vershon Lee and Jakai Moore, who are older guys and really kind of taking charge. And they’re hungry to have a good year and know that it’s important for them to take a step in the month of May and get an edge, maybe, on other offensive lines across the country that weren’t on campus and together in the month of May.”

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Beamer reiterated that even among the group that stayed, they were able to get away for a little bit in what will be one of their final opportunities to do so. But he was happy to see many of them sticking around and believes it will help them take a step forward, particularly at a position that features some of the biggest people on the team, which could mean it’s harder to get back into playing shape.

“Some of those offensive linemen, you worry about them going home — and not laying around all month and not doing anything — but laying on your mom’s couch is a little bit different than being in the weight room every day with us in Columbia,” Beamer said. “And you worry about them going home and maybe getting out of shape or putting on too many pounds where now they come back at the beginning of June and it takes them two weeks to get that weight off and get back in shape.

“That won’t be an issue. They’ll be able to start workouts on Tuesday morning and hit the ground running and be in a great position physically because of what they did in the month of May.

The Gamecocks have a team meeting on Monday night followed by their first workout of the summer early Tuesday morning.

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