ALL HANDS ON DECK: Gamecocks to cross-train players to deal with depth issues

ALL HANDS ON DECK: Gamecocks to cross-train players to deal with depth issues

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - As a coach, depth can be a major concern at certain positions on your team. For the Gamecocks, that's no exception.

A targeting call, an ejection for unsportsmanlike conduct, or an injury can throw a proverbial wrench into any gameplan or depth chart.

But the Gamecocks hope to combat that by cross-training players for adverse situations they may come across during the season.

"Obviously, there's going to be some times when so-and-so is down and you've got to have a guy step up at the position and make a movement," Gamecocks head coach Will Muschamp said. "I think, to be able to cross-train certain guys at different positions (creates) a little adversity in their life as far as the learning of offense and defense, but that creates depth. So, it's not about putting the next guy on the depth chart. It's about putting the best guy in the game."

While cross-training players helps the secondary, it's a process that was designed to help others while helping the team until more bodies arrive to fill the void.

"We're thin in some areas, especially in the front seven defensively," Muschamp said. "We can't afford an injury there. I think that we've got to continue to recruit for depth. As a defensive lineman, if you want to play early, come to South Carolina. There's an opportunity here. I can assure you of that."

Bryson Allen-Williams knows exactly what it takes to play multiple positions.  The Gamecocks senior linebacker used to line up at safety before getting moved into his current position. Now, he takes it upon himself to help others on the team who have to go through a similar transition.

"You've got to be able to help people," Allen-Williams said. "You've got to be able to do more. The more you do, the more you're going to be on the field. You don't want to be one of those guys who can only play first and second down and not be a third down player. That was really huge to be able to understand the concepts of playing multiple positions."

The Gamecocks will open fall practice for the first time on Monday morning.

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