After losing 2 safeties to injury, Gamecocks lean on ‘man down, man up’ mantra to fill voids

After losing 2 safeties, Gamecocks lean on ‘man down, man up’ mantra to fill voids

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - As Jake Bentley made his way out of the interview room Tuesday, a reporter asked if the junior quarterback could play safety.

“I did in Little League,” Bentley said, “but I was bigger than everyone.”

Bentley obviously won’t be tasked with being the Gamecocks’ quarterback and picking off his Florida counterpart on Saturday, but Carolina finds itself in a peculiar situation heading into their SEC finale against Florida this Saturday. The Gamecocks will be without the services of Jamyest Williams and Javon Charleston for the remainder of the year. Williams, according to head coach Will Muschamp, has been battling shoulder issues all year and Charleston is out with a foot injury.

“At this part of the year, everybody’s banged up,” Gamecocks head coach Will Muschamp said. “Everybody’s got injuries. That’s part of the deal. Man down, man up.”

Seeing players go down to injury is nothing new for the Gamecocks, which is why their confidence remains high that those who replace Williams and Charleston can get the job done in their absence.

“It’s next man up,” said Gamecocks senior defensive back Steven Montac. “When people get hurt, the next man’s got to be ready.”

To fill the void left by those two players, the Gamecocks will likely look to Jaylin Dickerson, Jonathan Gipson, and RJ Roderick among others.

“Jonathan (Gipson) will be prepared to go,” Muschamp said. “That’s a possibility there. Obviously, Rashad Fenton gives us a lot of flexibility. (He) can play nickel, can go back and play safety of he needs to. He repped with me today (individually) and we’re going to have him mentally prepared to go in the game. Shi Smith is a guy who can go in at corner for us if we need some snaps there. We’ll have a plan ready.”

Last week, South Carolina surrendered 379 passing yards to Ole Miss in their 48-44 win over the Rebels. The Gamecocks are now 10th in the league in the pass defense category.

South Carolina faces Florida this weekend in Gainesville at noon. The game can be seen on ESPN..

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