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Will Muschamp Press Conference Video/Quotes + Player Availability
Sept. 6, 2016

Game Information

Date: Saturday, September 10, 2016

Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET

Location: Starkville, Miss.

Stadium: Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field (61,337)

Series: South Carolina has won the last 7 meetings to take a 9-6 lead in the all-time series

TV: ESPN2 (Mike Patrick, Ed Cunningham, Laura Rutledge)

Radio: Flagship - 107.5 FM "The Game" & the Gamecock IMG Sports Network, Sirius 113/XM 190

Radio Affiliates Weekly Radio Show Weekly TV Show
Game Week Media Availability
Recent Headlines
Gamecocks Take Part in Annual Pigskin Poets Program Media Selects Samuel, Bailey and Charlton to Preseason All-SEC Teams Stanley Named to Rimington Award Preseason Watch List Crosby Named to Mackey Watch List Gamecocks at SEC Media Day
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
2016 Schedule
Date Opponent Time/Result (TV)
9/1 at Vanderbilt Win, 13-10
9/10 at Mississippi State 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
9/17 East Carolina 4 p.m. (SECN)
9/24 at Kentucky TBA
10/1 Texas A&M TBA
10/8 Georgia TBA
10/22 UMass TBA
10/29 Tennessee TBA
11/5 Missouri TBA
11/12 at Florida TBA
11/19 Western Carolina TBA
11/26 at Clemson TBA

Opening Statement
“I normally would announce this on Sunday night, but we had not yet met with the players. We practiced Monday, this being a little different with Labor Day. We gave them Sunday off, and gave them Friday, Saturday and Sunday off because of the Thursday night game, but our offensive player of the game was Bryan Edwards. Bryan played really well. The offensive lineman of the week was Mason Zandi. We had nine explosive plays. Perry Orth, Bryan Edwards, Deebo Samuel and A.J. Turner all took part in those explosives. Defensive players of the game – we had Jonathan Walton and Marquavius Lewis. The ‘ball hawk’ was ‘Qua Lewis. He forced the fourth down stop there on the last play of the game with a really nice pass rush. The special teams player of the game was Elliott Fry, and obviously (he was) the conference Special Teams Player of the Week. We’re really proud of Elliott. That was a great pressure kick, to go in and perform in that situation.

“We’ve got Mississippi State this week. We started yesterday on them. We had a good practice this morning. (They are) a big, physical football team. Dan Mullen has done a fantastic job there. He acts as his offensive coordinator and does a great job with the offense. Peter Sirmon is the new defensive coordinator; he’s an outstanding coach. So we have our work cut out for us going to Starkville. We’ll face a different team than obviously we see on film, and I’ve told our players that since we net yesterday. We are looking forward to going to Starkville and playing the Bulldogs.”

On what stood out to him in the first game…
“Well, I think we had really good effort on both sides of the ball. We need our coverage units on special teams to be much better. Our punt coverage was okay. Our kickoff coverage was very poor, but we’ve made some changes there. I felt like overall the effort was good, not always the execution – wasn’t what we needed it to be. We need to improve tremendously.”

On how much a mobile quarterback complicates things…
“If it’s a quarterback and a one back, that’s a two back run. It’s created an extra gap. If it’s a two back set with a quarterback it’s now a three back run. It always creates the extra gap. It always creates the extra threat. Those are always issues you have to deal with when you deal with a team that’s willing and committed to running the fullback and quarterback like they are.”

On what indication Bryan Edwards gave coaching staff on his abilities…
“Well, I think obviously you watch his tape in high school and you see him compete at a high level. Playing that early as a freshman, regardless of position, has a lot to do with ability. It has to do with opportunity. A lot of it has to do with maturity. Bryan’s a very mature young man. He gets it. He has a really good work ethic. He pushes himself through adversity. He handled the offseason program very well. All of those things to me in my years of coaching, the guys that do that kind of stuff, that are able to push through those things – we’ve got some other freshmen receivers that can’t quite frankly. That’s why he’s so much further ahead than a lot of guys. It has nothing to do with other than just being a little bit more mature and maybe a little more tougher. Those things to me, all of the intangible qualities that you look for in any good player, Bryan has.”

On what Vanderbilt did differently from what they prepared for…
“They adjusted some things defensively a little bit. They did a little bit more than they had done before defensively. Defensively against their offense I thought we were pretty well prepared for most of the things that we saw. A little bit more two back than what we had expected.”

On what the win last week has done for team to buy in…
“Anytime you have positive results, it makes it much easier to believe and have some belief in what you’re trying to do. You’ve got to have some positive feedback regardless of whether it’s football, the business world or whatever you’re doing. You’ve got to have something positive happen for you. In our profession, the result of winning is what you look for. You’ve got to be able to see the fruits of your labor. Mature guys understand it anyway. They see themselves getting stronger. They see themselves improving as a player. The young guys especially, they need that as much as anything.”

On offensive line situation…
“It will be determined in practice. We’ve got a lot of flexibility. Cory (Helms), Alan (Knot) and Chandler Farrell can all snap. Zack Bailey can snap. Those guys, those four can go in and play center. Alan can play either situation. D.J. Park can play either guard position. Blake Camper and D.J. can play right tackle and be our flip to a left tackle depending on how Malik (Young) has practiced throughout the week. When you have multiple snappers, it creates a lot of good things for you to be able to move to get the best five guys in the game. I want to complement Blake Camper, a guy that came in and played extremely well for us the other night. D.J. Park took some snaps because we practiced for an injury situation in our last scrimmage at the stadium. He probably took a grand total maybe of twenty-five snaps at the guard position. We wanted to saturate him as much as possible at the tackle position. He goes in there and has zero busted assignments over 60-plus snaps at right guard. That says a lot about him, how they’re getting coached and developed by Shawn Elliot, but also man down man up and guys taking advantage of an opportunity. They did a good job for our team.

On the slot receiver position…
“We’ll continue to move some guys through there. At the end of the day, you’ve got to catch the ball. That’s part of the job of a receiver. We had some opportunities the other night. There were some explosive plays for some first downs. Jamari (Smith) works extremely hard and is a guy that I’ve still got a bunch of confidence in.”

On the three receivers that played most of the game…
“Well, we’d like to play more guys, but again, it goes back to practice. I illustrated it for the guys in yesterday’s meeting and I used the example of Blake Camper. He’s a guy that started spring as the starting right tackle and was demoted. D.J. Park played well. I asked him in front of the whole team, ‘Did you like the demotion? Did you agree with it?’ He said, ‘No.’ I appreciate his honesty. You know what, he never complained. He never moaned. He never groaned. He took it and improved and had a great summer and had a great fall camp. I had great confidence in him coming in and playing extremely well. We need some of those young receivers to step up. They wilt at practice in my opinion, so they need to step up and become better players. We need to be more versatile at the tight end position with K.C. (Crosby) and Hayden (Hurst) and Jacob (August). Kiel Pollard needs to keep coming along, which he has. If those young guys don’t continue to step up, that’s where the next step is.”

On the depth at wide receiver behind the three guys currently seeing the most action…
“Randrecous Davis is a guy we’re bringing along now as a fourth guy behind Jamari (Smith), Deebo (Samuel) and Bryan (Edwards). He’s a guy that needs to continue to come on. Korey Banks, Chavis Dawkins and all of those guys will continue to get opportunities, but they’ve got to practice well to give us the confidence to play them.”

On the challenge of playing in front of a hostile crowd in Starkville…
“We have crowd noise at every practice, and we practice with crowd noise on offense and defense, both sides of the ball. That’s something that our guys started probably the seventh or eighth practice of fall camp. We did it throughout spring. It ought to be something we’re able to operate with.”

On the play of K.C. Crosby…
“I thought he played well. He’s going to play a lot more on Saturday than he did Thursday night. Certainly, we will use him in some different spots, as far as the slot is concerned, being attached to the end of the formation, and some different things.

On the play of Lorenzo Nuñez…
“I’ve been pleased with him. Lorenzo has been working hard, extremely hard. Everything is new to Lorenzo right now at the position, and I feel like he has really embraced the opportunity at the position. I am really proud of his effort and everything he is doing. It’s tough. You played last year; you were starting quarterback last year, and now you’re in this situation. He’s going through a tough time. I’ve been really pleased with how he’s handled the whole situation.”

On the quarterback rotation, and if it will look similar to what happened in the Vanderbilt game…
“Possibly. We want to get through practice tomorrow and Thursday, but Perry (Orth) obviously deserves to start the way he played the other night, especially in the second half. He played well in the first half. He had some drops. He had some opportunities to continue to move the ball. When Brandon (McIlwain) got in the game, he played well. We moved the ball when he was in the game. We’ve got to take care of the football, and he understands that. So both of those guys will help us succeed.”

On the proliferation of teams playing multiple quarterbacks to start the season…
“I can’t comment for anybody but us, but it’s a close competition. It’s a tough call to make. I feel like we can have success with all three guys.”

On the importance of winning the opening game when several SEC schools suffered losses to start the year…
“I don’t worry about anybody else. I just worry about South Carolina.”

On the versatility of T.J. Holloman…
“We put him in the middle of the field on a couple of occasions. T.J. is really smart. It’s fun to coach really, really smart guys, because they can do a bunch of different things. You can talk them through it. You can show them on the board. Everybody learns differently. I was a ‘rep’ guy. I had to rep it. I had to actually rep it. I couldn’t really visualize it on the board and understand it totally. We all learn differently, but T.J. is a guy that learns; he has a high aptitude to learn extremely well on the board, in the film room, and in rep situations. He can play multiple spots without really having to rep the situation. That’s going to help his career, to be able to adapt himself to multiple situations.”

On the quarterback rotation and knowing when to make a change…
“I thought (Perry Orth) played well. We had too many drops. We had some miscommunications up front. We had some miscommunications in the run game. We just didn’t do some things, but it wasn’t all Perry’s fault. Obviously the quarterback is the one who gets the blame, but I thought he played well. I thought Brandon (McIlwain) played well too, so we’ll continue to operate our offense as we see it in each game based on those guys.”

On coaching defensive players to swarm to the football…
“I’ve coached defensive football my whole life, and you have to learn how to play the block, you’ve got to learn how to disengage from a block, you’ve got to learn how to leverage the ball, and if you play with great effort, fanatical effort, then you can be a pretty good defensive player, even if you may not be the most talented guy in the world. If you can do those things, and if you’re able to see things, see something and react to another thing, then you can be a defensive player. But it all goes back to effort. If you just play hard, if you just run to the ball. If you just flock to the ball.”

On the defense and whether or not it met his expectations…
“We won, so that means it met everything. That’s really all we look for. We have a goal for our special teams every week, and our offensive goal board and our defensive goal board, and it all starts with this: win. Whatever is necessary, we need to win the game. So if we win 51-50, we did something defensively to help us win. Maybe not many things, but we did something. If we win 3-0, offensively, we did do some things to help us win the game. Obviously, on special teams, we had some sort of positive contribution throughout the game, regardless of the score. The number one thing you want to do is win. We’re going to face better offenses as the year moves forward. We understand that. But we need to continue to improve and I think we will through the year. We need to stay healthy in the secondary. We need to stay healthy at linebacker. We don’t have a lot of options after some of the guys that we’ve got playing right now, so we’ve got a lot of ‘ifs’ that we’ve got to continue to work through as the season goes.”

On the challenges of game-planning for Mississippi State players seeing their first action this week…
“Again, I am preparing for a very physical Mississippi State defensive front.”

On the talent coming out of the Mississippi junior college programs…
“There are a lot of really good programs. Over the years, we’ve had tremendous success, and I can say I personally have had tremendous success with players coming out of the Mississippi junior college league, and obviously Mississippi State’s got several players on their team, outstanding players. They’re really good programs, and they do a really good job in helping a young man that maybe academically didn’t (qualify). A lot of times, young people don’t always understand in 9th or 10th grade academically some of the things that they need to do or are required to do, or maybe they don’t have an idea that they have an opportunity to go to college. Their family has never been afforded that opportunity before, and then all of a sudden they’ve got an opportunity, and they’ve fallen behind academically. That happens. There are multiple programs in that state that I’ve recruited over the years.”

On what he took away from quarterback Perry Orth’s performance on Thursday…
“I think that Perry has performed very well during the spring when he was healthy. I thought he had a very good fall camp. I’ve seen him throw the ball exceptionally well in different situations. I don’t think I’ve personally learned anything from that performance.”

On whether Joseph Charlton will see anytime on kickoff duties
“If he kicks better. Michael Almond has been better, and Joseph didn’t make the trip to Vanderbilt. We’ll see how those guys kick in practice. I would love for one of those guys to take that job. I don’t necessarily like having your field goal kicker be the kickoff guy, but right now Elliot Fry is our best option.

On what South Carolina’s schedule looked like this weekend after playing Thursday
“We had a lift on Friday morning. I feel like it’s always better to come off competition and get in a workout. Our staff was off recruiting, so we gave them the weekend off to get treatment. We practiced yesterday and this morning, so it was kind of a Sunday practice on Monday because we were off.”

On if the plan is to still have wide receiver Deebo Samuel returning punts…
“We had a very open competition going into the first game with Rashad Fenton, Chris Lammons and Deebo Samuel. We still have confidence in Deebo. We’ll do our punt return work tomorrow and probably make a decision Thursday.”

On if Mississippi State’s offense has changed with the departure of Dak Prescott…
“Schematically, they’ve been very successful over the years. They tailor their system to what their quarterback can do. They’re not going to give that quarterback as much as they gave Dak. I don’t think there have been any changes philosophically in terms of being physical up front and having the quarterback in running situations. They take a lot of shots and create some tempo issues for you.“



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