COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - On Saturday, the Gamecocks were dealt another tremendous blow losing another team leader.
South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp announced that senior linebacker Bryson Allen-Williams would miss the remainder of the season due to a shoulder injury. With Allen-Williams out, he joins wide receiver Deebo Samuel on the sideline after being hurt.
"Man, it's a huge loss because, throughout the year, Bryson played every position – Buck, D-end, SAM, nickel, linebacker," said Gamecocks senior defensive lineman Taylor Stallworth. "Not having that key guy that fit the whole defense as a player is a huge loss, but that's why we've got other players to step up to fill up that role for us."
Allen-Williams filled up the stat sheet collecting 10 tackles, three tackles for loss, two sacks, an interception and a fumble recovery for the Gamecocks this year. However, he did so much more than fill up a stat sheet for Carolina.
"When you have a guy that's been there and you have a guy like Sherrod Greene on the field for the first time," Gamecocks head coach Will Muschamp said. "They're experiencing a lot of new things but Bryson's there telling him it's going to be alright. we're good. He's there to communicate. There's so many things; I'm just using Sherrod as an example. We've got several young guys like him, Aaron Sterling, that are out there for the first time…
"To be able to give up a drive on the first series of the game against NC State and Bryson's over on the sideline saying 'We're alright, we've just got to get off on third down.' He's going through the coach speak that we do for the young players. That's a calming effect at times."
Senior linebacker Skai Moore is all too familiar with being sidelined for an extended period after being hurt. Moore is returning this year after suffering a season-ending neck injury. Moore says he's been in touch with Allen-Williams after receiving the news.
"I talk to him every day," said Moore. "He's a positive guy. Like I said, he's always looking on the bright side of things. He's in good spirits."
With Samuel and Allen-Williams both out, the opportunities that have presented themselves will give younger players and those a little farther down in the depth chart a chance to have an impact and help the Gamecocks continue having success this season.
"From a leadership standpoint and a play-making standpoint, it certainly takes some other guys to step up," said Muschamp. "It's the mantra of man-down, man-up. That's what you've got to do. You have to move forward. We're not stopping the season. Nobody feels sorry for us. They may all say it, but they're lying; they're not sorry for us. So, at the end of the day, we've got to continue to just step up, one man's misfortune is another man's opportunity. Guys have got to continue to rally.
"You see OrTre Smith made a nice play for us. Shi Smith has done some nice things. Bryan Edwards needs to elevate his play. The tight ends need to be more involved. It's a collective effort when you lose someone. Daniel Fennell had a bunch of snaps the other day and he did a nice job. He came through on a couple situations, had his first career sack. Brad Johnson's going to have to play a bigger role for us Saturday night in College Station. So, there's no question that we've got to have more guys step up for us."
The Gamecocks will travel to Texas A&M on Saturday. Game time is slated for 7:30 p.m. eastern time.