#Gamecocks Face a Vanderbilt Offensive Line in a state of flux

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On July 29, Vanderbilt released a statement called, “The ‘Dore offensive line.” The statement touted the full-strength return of redshirt senior Andrew Jelks (pictured above):

Jelks, a 2013 Freshman All-America and SEC All-Freshman performer, suffered a season-ending injury in [2014] summer camp. Jelks has returned with an impressive offseason regiment and enters his final season at full strength.

It is obvious Jelks was a big part of Vanderbilt’s 2016 plan. Unfortunately, Jelks recently suffered another season-ending knee injury.

 

 

Losing a veteran leader like Jelks is a blow. Nobody wants to see that happen to a player. It’s just sad. Losing Jelks hurts Vanderbilt particularly because Vandy was hoping for stability on the OL–not another repeat of the 2015 season. In 2015, its offensive line was beset by injuries. Players moved around from position to position like they were stuck in a horrible game of musical chairs.

Following the 2015 season, Derek Mason fired the OL Coach, Keven Lightner. I watched the replay of the Vandy game against Kentucky and thought that Lightner’s OL looked pretty good. Two guys, Jake Bernstein and Spencer Pulley, even signed free agent NFL deals after the season. However, Mason saw it differently and let Lightner go citing, “a difference in philosophy.”

Vanderbilt is scrambling in camp to find young offensive linemen who can replace Berstein, Pulley, and now Jelks.  On August 10, Offensive Coordinator Andy Ludwig’s statement indicated the Vanderbilt OL situation is still fluid.

Offensive line. Different guys at different positions. That’s a group we’re still looking to jell.

Norcross (1)Adding to the OL yo-yo, Vanderbilt is breaking in a new offensive line coach, Cameron Norcross. Norcross comes from Fresno State (3-9).

Like Vanderbilt’s star running back Ralph Webb, Norcross talks a good game.

I want guys who are nasty. I want guys who are right on the edge. I want guys who push the envelope a little bit.

Hopefully, the Gamecocks defensive front seven creates chaos in an offensive line on a learning curve. Mercilessly out-nasty the nasty. Show no sympathy to Vanderbilt. Pressure its young quarterback Kyle Shurmur all night. And, shut up Ralph Webb.

 

 

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