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July 30, 2017

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WILL MUSCHAMP QUOTES

Opening Statement
"We're very excited about the start of practice tomorrow morning. (We have) some updates on our roster. Jordan Rhodes was cleared last week, so he's here. We're excited to get him on campus. Keisean Nixon will probably be cleared tomorrow or Tuesday. Everything is done; it's just a matter of going through the official process, and then Jordan Carty I believe will be cleared sometime in August. He will not be in the near couple of weeks; he will probably be in the third or fourth week of August before he can work through that process.

"Korey Banks will be moving to cornerback. I met with Korey this morning and felt like moving forward it would be the best situation for him and our football team. He will be wearing No. 23 tomorrow when you're at practice.

"Injury update -- Jaylin Dickerson has a little bit of a nerve strain in his shoulder. He sustained this in spring practice, and it's led to some weakness and some pain in his shoulder. He will be non-contact. He's going to be fine, it's just a matter of -- if you've ever dealt with nerves before -- it's going to regenerate itself and be fine. It could be a week, could be a week and a half. We're not really sure right now. It's been very frustrating for him. It's a young man that's worked extremely hard, and we need him to be healthy for us in the secondary. But he's going to be fine.

"K.C. Crosby had a scope on his meniscus. He's day-to-day. He will be cleared, I think, some time in the first week. He had it, I think, two weeks ago, but he's progressing extremely well.

"Randrecous Davis had some fluid on his groin removed. He's day-to-day; again, I think he's like K.C. He will probably be cleared in the first three or four days of practice to be full go.

"We're still in summer school, so we have some guys at practice that you may not see. Tomorrow morning, Malik Young has a class conflict. Caleb Kinlaw has got to leave practice early. When you're out at practice, and I know how you are -- you pull your rosters out and figure out who's not there, then you come out with these great stories about what happened to the young man. So we do have some class conflicts. Our guys do go to school here. So we may have some guys miss, this first week especially, we'll still have some guys in class.

"We have a young team, with 11 seniors. Seventy percent of our roster is still freshmen and sophomores. (We have) a lot of unknowns on our team that need to be answered in camp. That's what we're here to do and looking forward to getting started tomorrow."

On Jake Bentley's freedom to call his own plays...
"There's no question that we give him a lot of latitude at the line of scrimmage, based on if we have a run to a run, or a run to a pass, or a pass to a run built in with that to get us to the best situation. That's what you'll see -- more of that with us at the line of scrimmage as opposed to tempo. Obviously, we still want to be able to dictate the tempo of the game. To have that luxury at the quarterback position certainly helps, but also the experience around him. The offensive line experience coming back, the skill position experience coming back helps as well."

On the strides Jake Bentley has made the give the staff hope for the future...
"I think he had a really good offseason program before we started spring ball. Then you see the progression in spring, the more that Coach Roper and our offensive staff continued to give him, the better and better he continued to perform and improve. He's in the building all the time watching tape. He's hanging out with the offensive line. He's hanging out with the defensive line. He's hanging out with the secondary guys. He understands what it takes to be the quarterback. Those are the things I see, and obviously, he has all the intangible qualities to handle the situation. I am looking forward to seeing him play this year."

On his confidence in the left side of the offensive line, where Malik Young is listed as left tackle...
"I think, again, we have some good competition there. We're not settled at all across the line. What is going to be our best combination of five, and then who is sixth, who is the seventh, who is the eighth? Right now, those are some things we need to find out quickly in camp. Obviously Sadarius Hutcherson is competing for that position. Dennis Daley has been a guy that we've been excited about since he's been on campus. To find that combination of five guys and go with it, and that's going to be -- I told the team in a team meeting earlier today -- we've got a lot of competition, and a lot of open positions, and that's good for us as coaches, because you've got to bring it every single day. Consistency in your performance promotes us to be a very consistent football team. The more competition you have, when you look at the really good programs, they have competition at every position. Guys understand they have to bring it every single day. That's something now, where I feel like we have more competition, and that's good."

On his feelings on the roster headed into his second season...
"We're thin in some areas, especially in the front seven, we can't afford an injury there. I think we've got to continue to recruit for depth; as a defensive lineman, if you want to play early, come to South Carolina. There is an opportunity for you here, I can assure you of that. That's concerning. I think I'm concerned about our specialists. You talk in terms of your snapper, your placekicking situation -- you're going to have new faces. That's concerning, and I think obviously with the experience you have coming back offensively, there are obviously some guys that played extremely well at times, but we need to be more consistent, and we need to be tougher as an organization. Those things concern me going into this year."

On what he expects from Skai Moore coming back from an injury...
"I expect him to play extremely well. I think he had a great spring. He probably feels like he's been in the best shape he's been in. He's up to 225 lbs. He's moving extremely well. I think I'm expecting him to play extremely well."

On moving Zack Bailey to right tackle...
"I think it's gone well. We're not settled at all about who's going to play right tackle or left tackle. Zack had a really good spring at right tackle. We felt like with Malik's experience with an entire year of playing the tackle position that he could transition to the left tackle, and he's done that well. We have competition with Sadarius Hutcherson and Dennis Staley, two guys who are going to compete for that job. Blake Camper has done a nice job at right tackle for us. We feel those five can compete and play good football for us. Does that mean that those guys are going to stay at those positions for us? No. We're going to find the best combination of five. If that means moving Zack back inside, that what we're going to do to get our best five on the field."

On getting back Skai Moore's leadership at linebacker...
"Skai and Bryson Allen are two guys that have played a lot of football. They are two very well-respected guys within the locker room. That means a lot. They are two experienced players and productive players as well. In order to be a leader, you got to be a productive guy. You can't be a guy running your mouth all the time but not make any plays. Those guys do lead by example by how they prepare, how they practice and how they go about their business, but they are very productive."

On his overall thoughts on the secondary...
We've certainly improved ourselves in the secondary. D.J. Smith had a fantastic spring. He needs to continue with that moving forward. Chris Lammons has done some really good things for us. We're excited about him to consistently play well. We need JaMarcus King and Rashad Fenton and some of the young guys and new faces to fit into that mold of guys. We don't have enough depth back there. We've got to continue to build that.

On Deebo Samuel and the improvements expected from him...
We've got to stay healthy. He's had some soft tissue issues in high school and at South Carolina. We've got a better handle on that administratively as coaches about work capacity and what he can handle, because everyone's different. We'll certainly keep an eye on that. When he was healthy last year, he was an elite player in our league. He's very dangerous with the ball in his hands. He has really good lower body strength. He can run through tackles, much like a running back with a ball in his hands. We've got to find different ways to target him in the game. He needs to be touching the ball 10-15 times. Then you look at what he does as a kick returner. He had that return against Western Carolina at the end of the season. He's explosive with the ball in his hands, and we've got to continue to be creative with how to get him the ball.

On Jake Bentley's experience gain in the spring...
"Jake's progress was made as much mentally as it was physically, understanding when he's protected and when's he's not protected, understanding about being able to manipulate, change the protection and the run game. All those things, as the game continues to slow down for you as a player, and that's what we're starting to see, and the number of reps he's getting and also the familiarity of the offense but also the experience around him. It wasn't just the quarterback position. We had freshmen at receiver; we had a first-year starter at tight end. We had freshmen at the running back position; it was across the board last year. All of that gained experience. In year two under the system, understanding the verbiage and the terminology, certainly will help."

Does a faster defense transfer to physicality?
"There's no question we'll be faster this year defensively, which we need to be. That doesn't always translate into physicality. We had a little bit of a "Southern Bell" defense last year: reach out and touch someone. We need to continue to be more physical in our organization. I don't know that speed always translates to physicality."

On backup quarterback situation...
"I think Michael Scarnecchia has the arm talent to play the position extremely well, and Jay Urich will get every opportunity. Those guys' reps are really important to us to proving who that guy will be."

On the approach to teaching tackling...
"The emphasis will be the same. A lot of tackling has to do with `want-to.' A guy has to want to do it. It's a part of the recruiting and evaluation process. You evaluate the guys who really enjoy the physicality of the game. I think this freshman class, that was a huge part of the evaluation process, getting guys who enjoy sticking their face in the fan and tackling. Toughness to me is the ability to run against good people and stopping the run against good people. But it's not just about the lines of scrimmage. Right now, with the way teams are blocking the perimeter, you've got to be tough at in the secondary and at the corner position. You've got to be tough at the safety and nickel. You've got to be tough at wide receiver to block downfield to create the explosive runs downfield. It's an element of toughness that goes through all 11 guys; it's not just about both lines of scrimmage. That's where we've really got to challenge our guys to improve.

On the team's offensive identity...
"Do what it takes to win games. That's what you want to do on both sides of the ball. In a perfect world, we'd love to be balanced. As a defensive coach, it's hard to face offenses who have equal ability to run it and throw it. The ability to run the ball in critical situations such as the end of the game, in the red zone, and short-yardage and goal line, you've got to be able to get the yards you need to get to get out of the game, the half. All those things are important. Put your players in the best situations so they can be successful; philosophically, that's what we want. Team goals are taking care of the ball offensively, and getting the ball off people defensively. Get explosive plays offensively and take away the explosives on defensive. Those are the two most critical factors in winning and losing games. We were 4-0 last year when we hit that quotient of turnovers, takeaways and explosive plays. If we continue to do that, you'll win some football games."

On creating adversity in practice...
"There will be some times when so-and-so is down, and you got to have a guy step up at the position and make a movement. To be able to cross-train certain guys at different positions to create a little adversity in their life as far as the learning of offense and defense. That creates depth. It's not about the next guy on the depth chart; it's about putting the best guy in the game that's going to help us win football games. Those things are critical to do those things in camp. Camp's a grind, and it's going to be tough and hard. I've scripted the first 11 practices to our first scrimmage. It's been scripted a certain way for a reason, to be physical and have to battle through that. I met with our seniors ... championship teams that I've been a part of embrace camp. They understood we're going to practice no matter what. The schedule's not changing, so embrace that part of the camp. Embrace the grind and the toughness of what you've got to go through."

On who in freshman class he excited to see...
"All of them. I've been doing this a long time. In the recruiting process, you think you have an idea of who's going to help you and where they're going to fit, then you get to the practice field and it's not exactly what you thought, then there's other guys you think you're not going to play... we don't make any decisions on redshirting or anything until after camp's over. We get all the information. It's really not who's going to help you week one; it's who is going to help you in week four. They may not be ready week one, but they may be ready and a better athlete and better player as you project, as you move through the season. It's a long year, and that's what we're coaching for is the entire season."

On Alexander Wozniak taking over for Elliott Fry at the placekicking position...
"That's one of the concerns you asked me about camp. Alex certainly has the ability to accomplish and do everything we need him to do at the position, but he's never done it in front of 80,000 people before. That's a huge thing, and I can't simulate that in camp. To try to put him in as many pressure situations as we can, we will. I certainly have a lot of confidence in Alex."

On how much cross-training he will do in the secondary...
Chris Lammons will play all positions: nickel, safety, corner and dime. He'll be able to handle that. We're going to train Jamyest Williams at both nickel and corner. Keisean (Nixon) is going to be a guy we train at both nickel and safety and possibly at corner, but we're going to have to see how he handles all of that. Jamarcus and Rashad and Tavyn Jackson will stay strictly at the corner position. Steven Montac can play everything. You've got to be able to have guys interchangeable because of injury and targeting and the different things that happen through a season when you lose a guy in a game, you've got to be able to transition to get your best people out there. Those are the guys off the top of my head. Leave Zay Brown and Jaylin Dickerson at safety; let the saturate and learn everything they need to do.

On the progress on Evan Hinson after basketball season...
He looks really good. After the Final Four, he was in our building the next time he could be in there. He's up over 240. He looks great and runs extremely well. Athletically, he's a guy who certainly can contribute on special teams, and, depending on how he competes through camp, he should be compete and help us at tight end. We're counting on him.

On what he's seen out of T.J. Brunson and how he can help the defense...
He has a lot of the intangibles you look for at the position. He's a very good communicator. It's real important for T.J. to play well. He's a real self-conscious guy, as far as that's concerned. He has all the physicality and all the physical attributers you're looking for. He can run extremely well and strike and hit. I think he's got all that except for the experience that he needs to gain, and that's why you have training camp.

On the importance of the student-athlete experience...
"I don't know that the student-athletes changed; the society has changed. It's important for those guys to see you as a father and a husband and not just as a coach and see you out of the coaching mold for a little bit. It's important to coach our guys hard here, but they understand we have their best interest at heart. It's more than about caring about them as a player; first of all, you care about them as a person. That's an important thing. They figured that part of it out that everyone here is to service the player. If it wasn't for the players, we wouldn't have a job. So it's our job to service the players, to hold them accountable, make them dependable, but also understand we're here to service the player."

On challenging Dante Sawyer, Taylor Stallworth and Ulric Jones to play better...
"I just said they need to play well for us to play well defensively. That's something we struggled with consistently is stopping the run against good people. In order to stop the run, you need your senior leaders to step up and play well on the line of scrimmage. We just need for those guys to play well."

On differences between year one and year two for Will Muschamp...
"You understand your football team and roster and how they're going to respond. I'm excited about the culture of our team right now, the amount of ownership that Jeff Dillman and his staff have seen throughout the summer. The guys are invested in what we're trying to do. They're owning their experience. I always talk to the guys that you either rent your experience or you own it. You're the one that makes that decision. So own your opportunity here at the University of South Carolina. There's much more buy-in as far as that's concerned."

On his input into the offense...
"We're on the same page philosophically. But Kurt (Roper) calls everything. He runs the offense, and as long as we're on the same page on what we want to be and do, that's doing what our players can do. It's not about what we want to be, it's about what our players can do."

On camp's scripted days...
"We've already got our installation set through our first scrimmage. As coaches, we always make decisions. We may set the installation and alter it according to how the guys are doing, but we need to continue to progress our team. So there may be a smaller portion of our team that we don't do as much installation with just to find out they can do. That first scrimmage won't be complicated. I need to see who can go out and play and how they are going to handle the coaches off the field. Those are the decisions have to make as your work through the installation. You can't hold up your whole team for a small portion that are struggling with what we're trying to do. We'll continue to move forward and reteach as we go through the second and third weeks of camp."

On Shameik Blackshear's changes in a year...
"He's a lot stronger, because he's had a year of lifting, where he missed it last year. There's no doubt his body's changed, he's up over 260. He's gotten stronger, and anytime you gain more strength and you gain better change of direction and flexibility, you gain confidence in what you're trying to do. That's certainly going to help him. He's just got to be a consistent playmaker for us, that's what it comes down to. We evaluate practice, and how you practice is how you're going to play in the game."

On Jake Bentley's Clemson comments...
"We weren't close that night. Let's call it the way it is. We got out-coached and out-played. I certainly appreciate his confidence and what he believes. We stand by our guys."

On Randrecous Davis and coming back from injury....
"It's extremely frustrating, for any player but especially for a young player, when they have an injury that ends their season, the frustration for them sets in. A lot of times when you're injured, you're not at practice, you're in the training room getting treatment. You don't really feel a part. I went through that my freshman year, breaking my collarbone, you don't feel a part of the organization. You're a part of everything, but you're not a part of what the team is going through. That's extremely frustrating for a young player. He's battled through it. He's a guy who can help our football team. He's extremely talented. We've got to keep him healthy, and that's the most important thing, and he understands that. He's stayed positive through this. Anytime you face some adversity like this, it helps you grow up a little bit, and I think he has. He's a young man we're excited about."

On the story behind the new recruiting area...
"We're always trying to improve our brand and what we can do. The entrance and exit side was an issue with compliance. You can't really have the recruits mingling with fans, with our boosters. That was an issue there. That's why that was created. The new entrance side was another way to show off our stadium and make it a little more appealing as you enter the weight room and the Crews facility, which we house all of our recruits on game-day."

On the changes to see with the in-game experience with the in-house DJ...
"Really, that's about it. In talking with our players and our recruits, it may not appease some of our fans, but it won't take away anything from what our band does at the game. Our band does a fantastic job with the excitement they bring to our football team and to our game-day experience. It will not affect anything that our band does on game-days. It's more of a pregame activity for our players, which we played music in those situations anyway. Maybe the music will be better; I don't know. I'm not in charge of the music list there. During the game, when we normally played music is when the DJ will play, when the band is not playing. It's not going to affect our band at all and that part of our game-day atmosphere, which I think is fantastic."

On whether to use the end of 2016 as motivation or to leave it behind...
"I think every individual is different. Some guys are ready to move on and put it behind them, and some guys use it as motivation. It's all to an individual experience and how you view it. If it motivates you to play a little harder and focus a little better, I'm all for it. If it helps you to move on past it, I'm all for it. It's something that's there and not going away."

On the players signing off on Twitter...
"That's all on them. I met with the team today, and we addressed social media. We talked about the positive impact it can have in marketing your brand, but we also talked about the negative impact it can have and when you press send, it's over. Our guys just need to be smart. We don't want to talk about our football activities on the Internet. That's no one else's business; what happens here stays here. Our guys understand that. I just ask them to use good judgment. I'm not going to be the Twitter police; that's not something I care to do. I let our guys use good judgment and make good choices and decisions."

On competing against NC State...
"Absolutely, I think they're Dave (Doeren's) best team. If you look at the front four and the backups. They've got five draft picks up front. They're outstanding in their front seven. They get the ball, the perimeter offense does a really good job, Samuel is a really hard guy to ID as far as some of the things he's doing in the quarterbacks' experience. We've got our work cut out for us. We've got to work on us right now, but to go to Bank of America Stadium up in Charlotte where we need to do a much better job recruiting."

"Again, I love the state of South Carolina, but year-in and year- out we're not going to find enough guys in our state to help us win the East. We've got to do a great job in Georgia and North Carolina recruiting. It's a huge footprint for us and to be able to have that exposure in Charlotte will be huge for us. For our guys to be able to go play in that stadium I think will be a lot of fun and I know our guys are looking forward to it."

On practicing during the eclipse...
"We're practicing. I don't know. Are you kidding? No, what day is the eclipse going to happen? Are we all supposed to shut our eyes when it happens? I have no idea, I'm not very good with that kind of stuff."

On choosing a starting running back...
"Who practices the best, prepares the best, who takes care of the ball, who's the most productive guy. Whoever that guy is that carries the ball a bunch on game day. So, that'll be determined by them, not me. It's really simple. That's what helps you, when you have competition. You have to know every single day that you have to practice extremely hard, because unfortunately we're not all self-starters. You have to have guys pushing each other constantly to understand that they all want to play and they don't want to be sitting on the sidelines by me. So, whoever is the most productive guy is the guy that's going to play."

On Donell Stanley's injury and how it compares to Deebo Samuel's situation...
"Deebo's was more of a structural issue; it wasn't a soft tissue issue. With Donell's ankle, after he injured it on the first play of the game against Vanderbilt, he played another eight snaps. How he played those eight I'll never know, but he's a lot tougher than me. He's a guy that's done a really nice job for us at the guard position; we look for him to progress. He's a guy that can get movement in the inside run game, he's athletic enough to set inside on the better three techniques in our league and protect. We're expecting Donell to play well."

On preventing big pass plays defensively...
"I think the biggest issue for me was a lot of the perimeter run game and the screen game. A lot of people say it's a pass, but if you throw a quick screen or a bubble it's really a run game as far as I'm concerned. That's where we really faltered defensively as far as setting the edges of our defense and tackling well in space. That's something we've got to continue to improve on. We'll spend a lot of time on it in camp, but we've spent a lot of time on it last year. Again, a lot of that comes down to `want to.' But again, I think being more opportunistic, as the year wore on we were not as much in the secondary, as far interceptions and those things are concerned; finishing on the ball down the field. Again, you have to stay away from explosive plays because that changes the vertical field position of the game. It certainly creates momentum for the other team and that's something we have to stay on top of guys and keep them cut off down the field."

On the less experienced linebackers on the roster stepping up...
"As many as are willing -- I think we recruited well in the position. I think Sherrod Greene is going to be a really good player. Damani Staley has done some nice things, Devonne Bowen, and we're going to start Brad Johnson out as a buck right now. It is what it is; that's where we are right now. Those guys are going to have an opportunity. We told them in the recruiting process if they came here they were going to have an opportunity. We lose Skai Moore and Bryson Allen-Williams for two seniors, so any linebackers out there listening, come on; you're going to have an opportunity if you want to play. If you don't, go somewhere else."

On making improvements through coaching and systematic changes...
"I think systematically you can do some things differently, and we've done a lot of quality-control work on ourselves to see what we can do differently. We're looking at what we can do to improve and put our guys in a better situation. We ask ourselves if we're putting a guy in a situation he can't do. That's always my question to the staff: `is are we asking them to do things they can't do?' If a guy can't play man-to-man, we don't need to be playing man-to-man with him, let's play some zone. I think those are things you're constantly asking yourself as a coach.

"I think we've made some strength gains in the weight room. I've seen that across the board. I think some guys, from a fundamental and technique standpoint, understand a little bit more how we want to play. I think always when you take the next step as a player, understanding those basic fundamentals is really important. It all ties in together. I think the knowledge of the scheme and system is going to help us with our run fits and things like that, where we did misfit some which hurt us. It wasn't really physical. It was more mental than it was anything else from the secondary and the linebacker position. So I think across the board all those things should be better."


 

 

 

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