College Sports

When to deploy Dakereon Joyner? Here’s how South Carolina’s coaching staff decides

At times, there have been questions about when South Carolina football sends Dakereon Joyner onto the field as a quarterback.

Sometimes it’s, “Why isn’t he out there?” when Ryan Hilinski has a bad series. In the Missouri game, it was, “Why use him then?”

Some staffs might script that usage, planning to send him out for the third or fourth series. Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp said his team’s approach is something different.

“Really the flow of the game, how the game is going,” Muschamp said. “And we feel like he is one of our better players. We need to get him on the field. That’s what we’re going to do.”

Against Missouri he was used right after a turnover, with the team in decent scoring position. The drive went nowhere. Last weekend against Vanderbilt — the first game he was truly available in a while — he played 15 or so snaps interspersed in drives.

He only ran the ball or threw swing passes that counted as runs, ending up with 9 rushing yards. He has yet to throw past the line of scrimmage in a change-of-pace role, only doing so in garbage time and when forced into emergency action against Georgia. At some point, that should change.

“He can throw it fine,” Muschamp said. “We’ve got to continue to expand his package, which we have. There will be some new looks Saturday night that we’ll use.

“Each week, we’ll continue to use this package, which will help our offense.”

For the season, Joyner has 128 passing yards, 89 rushing yards and 29 receiving yards. He was limited by a hamstring across four games, but did get that emergency stint against the Bulldogs.

He stuck with the program after losing the No. 2 job to Hilinski, even moving to wide receiver, a position he’d never played, on short notice. He ended up getting called upon more than expected, including most of the second half of that upset of No. 3 UGA.

Now he goes into games without a sense of when he’ll be called upon. It’s about the flow and feel, and the plan is to see more of him going forward.

“That was his first time with live bullets in about a month maybe, month and a half, that he’s been running the ball,” Muschamp said. “We felt like there were some decent creases there, that we could’ve blocked better at times, that we could’ve run the ball better at times. We’ll continue to improve that.”

Throwing it up

The Gamecocks haven’t been getting quite as much as they previously had from Bryan Edwards when it comes to fade balls. He’s a great jump-ball receiver, but it’s been harder to make work this season on the goal line.

“Bryan is drawing a lot of double coverage down there,” Muschamp said. “It’s not necessarily as effective when a corner is able to play outside leverage with safety inside help. It’s just a harder throw to throw.”

Muschamp pointed out that pass needs a lot to go right to make it work. He also said freshman Xavier Legette will at some point be an option on that kind of throw.

Fewer fades haven’t hurt Edwards’ production too much. The senior has 62 catches, 726 yards and five touchdowns. He sits 47 yards from the program’s all-time receiving record.

Next

Who: Appalachian State (7-1, 4-1 Sun Belt) at South Carolina (4-5, 3-4 SEC)

When: 7 p.m. Saturday

Where: Williams-Brice Stadium

TV: ESPN2

Line: USC by 5.5

West Coast raised. Midwest educated. Southern football indoctrinated. Covers most everything Gamecocks, primarily football.
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