COLUMBIA -- Wofford’s offense is so unique South Carolina started preparing for it in August and again in October.
Before fully diving into preparing for the Terriers' triple option attack this week, the Gamecocks devoted a few days during camp and the bye week to getting a head start on that kind of unique look.
“Because it’s so different from what we face we spent two days on it in our training camp and spent two days on it in our open week,” Coach Will Muschamp said. “We were able to rep the things we’re anticipating this Saturday. It’s just so different from what we normally see, you have to expose your players to it.”
Wofford is the first triple option team the Gamecocks (7-3, 5-3 SEC) will face since The Citadel came to Columbia in 2015. Most Carolina fans will remember how that game ended, and the players do too.
That’s why they’re taking extra precautions to make sure they’re as prepared as possible for a rarity in college football.
“That was very important,” Taylor Stallworth said of the added preparation. “To focus on that for the bye week because one you don’t see that type of offense in college. You really don’t. Scheme-wise for defense, it’s kind of hard to go against that preparing for that.”
Wofford averages almost 53 rushing attempts per game and 260 yards a game. The Terriers, who are ranked seventh in the FCS, only attempt roughly 12 passes a game.
So that’s an adjustment for the Gamecocks, who are used to seeing teams come out and try to throw the ball around the field every Saturday. Opponents are averaging 34.8 pass attempts per game this season, but that won’t be the case Saturday.
South Carolina knows it has to play sound football, which starts with being focused in practice. Stopping a triple-option offense comes down to repetition.
Muschamp joked that Sherrod Greene, who played five or six triple-option teams in high school last season, had some of the fastest reads on the team Tuesday
That’s why there was so much emphasis on learning that offense during the season so the learning curve wouldn’t be as steep this week.
“It's like anything else,” Muschamp said. “If you never see a two-back power, and all of a sudden you line up against someone and they're going to run the two-back power and you don't see that very often, it's not going to be as easy for you to grasp maybe as something you're used to seeing.”
South Carolina isn’t looking past this opponent to next week and the night game against Clemson.
They know any FCS team can come in and win, as evidenced by the Citadel game two years ago. That’s why the senior leaders are preaching mental sharpness and preparation this week.
“We can’t look past this week. We all know what game we have next week. We’re all locked in and just trying to be focused on Wofford and not get distracted,” Skai Moore said. “We know they’re going to come in and try to beat us.”