COLUMBIA — South Carolina football had failures on both sides of the ball in a 38-6 loss to Florida, headlined by the offense's low production against one of the weakest defenses in the SEC. Offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield called the performance in Gainesville "rock bottom."
The Gamecocks (6-4, 3-4 SEC) have had two of their worst offensive performances of the season in the past three weeks, scoring 10 points in a loss to Missouri (4-6, 2-5) and logging their lone touchdown against Florida (6-4, 3-4) on a fake punt that punter Kai Kroeger passed 48 yards to Dakereon Joyner. They face their toughest competition since No. 1 Georgia (10-0, 7-0) this week when No. 5 Tennessee (9-1, 5-1) comes to Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturday (7 p.m., ESPN).
"We thought we hit rock bottom against Missouri, fought back and had a good game (at Vanderbilt), and then we hit rock bottom against Florida with the inconsistencies and the turnovers and the penalties," Satterfield said. "We're definitely all searching for that consistent flow from week to week."
The run game in particular has struggled amid injury issues. Leading rusher Marshawn Lloyd has not played since suffering a quad contusion against Missouri, and Wake Forest transfer Christian Beal-Smith missed the Florida game with a lingering lower-leg injury he has battled since the preseason. Both are questionable for this week.
Prior to his injury, Lloyd led the team in scoring with 11 touchdowns, 556 rushing yards and 173 receiving yards. During South Carolina's four-game winning streak from Weeks 4-8, Lloyd averaged nearly 113 yards rushing per game, and Satterfield said the Gamecocks are currently "reshaping" the offensive identity without their star.
"Our identity now becomes a team that can throw the ball and run the ball with Spencer (Rattler) and the ability to put Dakereon in there," Satterfield said. "Our identity is more in our mindset than in what you see on the field. It's the tough mindset and being willing to do whatever it takes, no matter how hard it is or how long it takes to try to get things done."
South Carolina had success in the passing game in its 38-27 win over Vanderbilt with 200 yards and three passing touchdowns, but Rattler logged just 145 yards and no touchdowns at Florida.
In Lloyd's absence, standout tight end Jaheim Bell has transitioned to taking most of his snaps at running back, and logged 28 carries combined against Vanderbilt and Florida. He contributed 30 rushing yards against the Gators, but the team finished with just 44 total rush yards.
Bell was primarily a receiving threat before the injuries, but Beamer said after the loss to Florida that Bell gives them the best chance to succeed right now at running back. Satterfield said there's no dissatisfaction with the play of the other backup running backs — Rashad Amos, Lovasea Carroll and Dante Miller — but he doesn't feel they're ready to assume the role that Lloyd filled as well as Bell has.
"We have to evaluate the roster, and Jaheim Bell is one of the most talented people on earth, so trying to find ways to get him the ball just makes sense," Satterfield said. "They've been practicing well, so those other guys need to keep coming along and practicing better, and once we feel like they've got a chance to be productive, then they'll go in the game."
This article originally appeared on Greenville News: South Carolina football 'reshaping' identity without Marshawn Lloyd