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Will Muschamp Press Conference Video + Quotes
Aug. 29, 2016

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Gamecock Confidential
Episode 5 - Full
Episode 5 - Vanderbilt
Episode 5 - Muschamp Coaches Safeties
Episode 5 - Final Preparations
Episode 5 - Choosing the Look
Episode 4 - Full
Episode 4 - First Day of Class
Episode 4 - Dinner With T.J.
Episode 4 - Under the Lights
Episode 4 - The Final Scrimmage
Episode 4 - The Specialists
Episode 3 - Full
Episode 3 - First Scrimmage
Episode 3 - Hayden Hurst and Perry Orth
Episode 3 - Receivers and McClendon
Episode 3 - First Day of Camp
Episode 3 - SEC Media Day
Episode 2 - Full
Episode 2 - Summer Conditioning
Episode 2 - Training at Fort Jackson
Episode 2 - Going Home With Mason Zandi
Episode 1 - Full
Episode 1 - Tanner Gets His Man
Episode 1 - First Spring
Episode 1 - First Team Meeting

Opening Statement
“We are excited to open up Thursday night on ESPN in Nashville against Vanderbilt. They’re an SEC opponent, an SEC East opponent. Derek Mason is in his third year and acts as his own defensive coordinator. He does a fantastic job with their defense. Zach Cunningham is a guy that jumps out at you when you watch the tape. You watch them play, and they’re fundamentally sound. They’re in the right spots. They have good run box numbers. Derek just does a really good job fundamentally with their guys. They play extremely hard. They play well on defense. They’ve got ten starters back, so they’re obviously seasoned in what they’re trying to do schematically.

“Offensively, Andy Ludwig is their offensive coordinator. He has an interesting background. He was more of a spread guy at Oregon and at Utah, and was more ground-and-pound at Wisconsin. Now he’s sort of a combination. Looking at them, and what they do schematically at Vanderbilt, they’ve got seven starters back, and obviously Ralph Webb is a 1,000-yad rusher a year ago and an outstanding player. (Kyle) Shurmur is the quarterback and started five games last year, so he seems very adept at what they do.

“They have a new coordinator on special teams. We’re a little uncertain about what exactly they will be there. So as all with first ball games, you kind of go in expecting anything and making sure your players are able to adjust to all of the different things that pop up throughout the game. Because there are going to be some new things, and you’ve got to be able to adjust as the game goes. That’s going to be really important, especially for us.

“There are going to be a lot of first for our football team: a new staf, a lot of youth and experience, but I’m excited about the work ethic and how our guys have approached camp. We started on Vanderbilt prep last Thursday and practiced again this morning. We’ll have another practice and they a walkthrough on Wednesday, and then we fly up to Nashville.

“Roster news – Christian Owens has decided to transfer. He came to me last week and felt like he wanted to get closer to home, so I told him that I understand and support that. Rico McWilliams has decided to give up football. It’s an unfortunate situation, but that’s what it is. We move forward. We’re looking forward to getting up to Nashville and playing.

“We do have some injuries. Larenz Bryant is still going to be out awhile, obviously, with the hamstring, and Mon Denson with the knee, and Rico Dowdle with the groin. Kyle Markway will be out this week. I am hoping to get him back next week for Mississippi State. With the foot, obviously, he had surgery in the offseason, and hopefully we’ll get him back. Other than that, we’re very healthy.”

On if he sees this season as a blank slate and as an experimental period…
“I don’t know if the word ‘experiment’ is what we would use. We put the guys through a tough camp, and we need to put the best 11 players out there to give us the best opportunity to win the game.”

On if he has told his team who the starting quarterback will be on Thursday…
“We have not told them. Kurt Roper and I are going to meet, and we’ll discuss that further as we go. We’re still finalizing the decision right now; we have a pretty good idea where we’re headed with it. We wanted as many practice opportunities as we can give these guys.”

On how the loss of Rico McWilliams will affect the secondary…
“We have four scholarship corners. Three of them, Rashad Fenton, Chris Lammons and Jamarcus King, are good players that we’re excited about. It’s not the best situation, but it is what it is. We’ll move forward, and Steven Montac will be our fourth corner and D.J. Smith will be our fifth.”

On what his feelings are heading into Thursday as the head coach of another program…
“At the end of the day it’s why you coach. You play the game, and that’s why you practice. I’m excited for our players first of all, and also the support staff. I’m looking forward to game time.”

On the structure of his support staff and how it relates to his previous experiences…
“It’s something I have been exposed to in different spots. Whether it’s in football or analyst spots or recruiting and external communications. All of those things are important to what we do. So far I think things are working very well for us.”

On how the new players will react in Thursday’s season opener…
“You never know how some of these guys are going to respond when they run out of the tunnel. You don’t know how a young man is going to respond when they haven’t been in that situation. You have an idea, and you try and simulate game day as much as you can. That’s what’s exciting and fun about it. That’s part of the adjustments as a staff. Maybe a young man isn’t responding as well as you thought he would. Those are the things we discuss as a staff. We prepare for injuries and someone not playing well, and we have a plan for that when it happens. That’s part of our discussions.”

On challenges of playing at Vanderbilt as opposed to Mississippi State…
“We’re just worried about Vanderbilt right now. We kick this thing off at 8 o’clock Thursday night. We’re looking forward to playing there.”

On how big of a leash the young and inexperienced guys are on in this first game…
“Well again, we’re going to make decisions on what it takes to win. Every decision we make within our organization is about winning. Again, we go into it with a plan as a staff at each position. I always look at it as green light, yellow light, red light players. Green light guys are guys we’re going to play no matter what. Yellow light guys – Kurt (Roper) may need to know offensively this guy’s in the game. T-Rob (Travaris Robinson) may need to know this guy’s in the game. Red light guys are guys that we’re not really sure we want to play them. They may be in discussion about redshirting, but they’re on the trip and they certainly could possibly contribute to the team, but let’s have a discussion before they go into the game. That’s kind of how we do it. Some guys we may anticipate there might be a little hesitation on their part, so we know that going in. We’ve got a pretty good idea going in, and that’s something that we discuss throughout the week. We’ve got a plan for those situations.”

On what freshman receivers have done to differentiate themselves from others…
“Well, I think that they’re all talented guys in different ways. Chavis (Dawkins) is a very polished guy from the standpoint of playing the receiver position for a long time. (He) catches the ball really well down the field. Korey Banks is a guy that’s got really good top end speed. He’s got some things just naturally running down the field; he creates some issues as far as the top of the coverage. (Randrecous Davis) is probably just all around, talent wise as far as catching the ball, finishing plays, having the natural instincts at the position – has done a fantastic job. We’ve got to keep him healthy. He’s got a little bit of a hamstring. He’s fine now. He’s been practicing. Then Bryan Edwards has had a great camp. A guy obviously being here midyear we knew a little bit more about him. Kiel (Pollard) has been a guy that we’ve moved around at tight end/receiver. He’s going to play. He’s going to play a bunch for us. He’s a guy that can do a lot of stuff because he is bigger body guy, but he’s a hard guy for the defense to count of what is he. That’s the way we’re able to use him in some different spots.”

On excitement to get the season kicked off…
“I’m really excited for our players and our staff. At the end of the day, that’s what it’s about. Looking forward to seeing them play on Thursday night.”

On personality of team and confidence in makeup of the group going into the first game…
“Well, I look at our offense and we’ve got some seasoned guys on the offensive line that have got some talent and some experience playing. I think there’s a calming factor with that. I think for our offense that’s a comforting issue for me as far as that’s concerned. Defensively, (Marquavius) Lewis and Kelsey Griffin, although he’s not started a lot, has played a lot for us. The linebackers are guys that have played. Chaz (Elder) and D.J. (Smith) have played a lot, so we’ve got some guys that do have experience. Maybe not necessarily as much as you would like, but they’ve responded very well to all we’ve thrown at them. We had a very physical, tough camp. The way they responded – I don’t know if we left the practice field and I didn’t feel like the effort wasn’t there. There’s some times our intensity and our urgency isn’t where I want it to be. That’s something you’ve just got to continue to drill in them and then hopefully over a period of time they start to get that part.”

On Vanderbilt quarterback Kyle Shurmur…
“I think he throws the ball extremely well. He throws the back shoulder ball outside which we’ll see obviously because we play on the line of scrimmage a good bit. All of those things, his touch on the ball, he can make all the throws; he’s got good command. He’s certainly improved tremendously offensively from when he played for them last year.”

On playing in the Thursday night kickoff game as opposed to a normal Saturday…
“I enjoy it. I think it’s great exposure for our program. I’m excited about.”

On the fluidity of the defensive line situation…
“It’s pretty fluid. Marquavius (Lewis) could give us some opportunities inside with a little better athlete, especially in some pass down situations, when we’re in third down and those situations. So we’ll still slide him in some. That’s why we really moved Keir (Thomas) in there, to get more athletic inside, because he does give us some initial quickness inside and some push in the middle. But ‘Qua can play inside and out.”

On the running back situation…
“We’ll be running back by committee. Certainly A.J. (Turner) has distanced himself to be a guy that deserves to be the starter. David (Williams) will have his opportunity.”

On the biggest challenge leading up to his first game…
“I believe it’s something I hit on earlier. The intensity and urgency at times is not what I want. It’s not a lack of ‘want-to.’ It’s not a lack of trying. Sometimes the attention to detail and those things are frustrating for me. A lot of it is the unknown. We had our first ‘Thursday’ practice today. I know you guys think it’s Monday, but it’s Thursday. So we have two Thursday practices before the first game, and today was the first one, and there were times we didn’t have the attention to detail we needed. Again, it’s not a lack of ‘want-to,’ but there are times the urgency of our team needs to be better.”

On the advantage of holding practice in the morning…
“I did it when I was defensive coordinator at Auburn. I really liked it, and our players loved it when I was at Auburn in ’06 and ’07. I have tried to do it everywhere we’ve been, or made the suggestion as a coordinator to do it. Some people don’t like it, because it puts you, as a coach, outside of your comfort zone a little bit as far as when you normally do things. Our players really enjoy it, because they’re not in study hall until 10 or 10:30 at night. They have classes in the afternoon. Now, academically, you have to make sure that your school can have the classes in the afternoon. Nowadays, because there are so many Internet classes, a lot of the young men aren’t even stepping in the building. They’re taking an online class. So it just makes more sense to get them up in the morning. That’s the way you practice in the NFL. When I was with the Miami Dolphins, we started meetings at 7 in the morning. You practice, and then you watched film, and then you lifted, and then guys were done. I think it was a little bit of an adjustment when we first did it in the morning, but after talking to some of the players today at practice, they really enjoy the fact that they’ve got the afternoon for class or off, and they’ve got their nights free, and they aren’t sitting in study hall until 10 o’clock at night. I think they’re starting to embrace it.”

On where he thinks Alan Knott works best, center or guard…
“Well, both. And I think that Cory (Helms) can play both. We’ve got a lot of flexibility, and obviously Donell (Stanley) has had a very good camp. And Zach (Bailey) has had a good camp. I think we’ve got a combination of five guys in there that can go and rotate and play different spots. It’s a luxury; to be able to have multiple guys who can snap for you is huge. Right now, where it sits, Cory is at center, but Alan is certainly a guy that can slide in and play there as well.”



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