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Will Muschamp Press Conference Video/Quotes + Player Availability
Nov. 8, 2016

Game Information

Date: Saturday, November 12, 2016

Kickoff: Noon ET

Location: Gainesville, Fla.

Stadium: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium (88,548)

Series: Florida leads 25-8-3, but the Gamecocks have won 4 of the last 6.

TV: CBS (Brad Nessler, Aaron Taylor, John Schriffen)

Radio: Flagship - 107.5 FM "The Game" & the Gamecock IMG Sports Network, Sirius 108/XM 191

Radio Affiliates Weekly Radio Show Weekly TV Show
Game Week Media Availability
Recent Headlines
Maxwell and Bednarik Award Watch Lists Feature a Trio of Gamecocks Gamecock Football Introduces Season Ticket for Parents Williams-Brice Stadium Nationally Recognized for Safety and Security Football Ops Building Named Muschamp Named to Dodd Preseason Watch List
2016 Schedule
Date Opponent Time/Result (TV)
9/1 at Vanderbilt Win, 13-10
9/10 at Mississippi State Loss, 14-27
9/17 East Carolina Win, 20-15
9/24 at Kentucky Loss, 10-17
10/1 Texas A&M Loss, 13-24
10/9 Georgia Loss, 14-28
10/22 UMass Win, 34-28
10/29 Tennessee Win, 24-21
11/5 Missouri Win, 31-21
11/12 at Florida Noon (CBS)
11/19 Western Carolina 4 p.m. (SECN Alt.)
11/26 at Clemson TBA

Opening Statement
“We’ve got Florida in Gainesville on Saturday. Jim McElwain and his staff have done a fantastic job since they’ve been there.

“Offensively, unfortunately (quarterback) Luke Del Rio was injured Saturday. You hate to see that, any young man with an injury. We wish him well. But there will be a change at quarterback, obviously. But I don’t see a schematic change; Jim has been very successful wherever he’s been, offensively, with what they do. They’ll tailor the offense to help whoever the quarterback is, multiple guys or however they’re going to structure that.

“They’re massive on the offensive line – 300-plus (pounds) across the board. David (Sharpe) and Jawaan (Taylor) are both 350-plus (pounds) and very good athletes. They move their feet extremely well.

“They’re talented at the receiver position with (Antonio) Callaway, (Brandon Powell), C.J. Worton, Tyrie Celveland, Ahmad Fulwood and Josh Hammond. They are all guy who can win the one-on-one setting and those sorts of things. The tight ends, C’yontai (Lewis) and DeAndre (Goolsby) are both guys they use very well with what Jim does offensively. They have four really good running backs that all are physical guys with top-end speed: (Jordan) Scarlett, (Lamical) Perine, (Mark) Thompson and (Jordan) Cronkrite. They’re all guys that can hurt you. We’ve got our work cut out for us defensively. We’ve got to continue to improve, especially on some of the two-back running game. That’s a huge emphasis for us this week.

“Defensively, they’re talented at all three levels. You watch the Missouri game. It’s a 6-0 game with 3:54 left in the 2nd quarter. All of a sudden it’s 20-0 – two pick sixes. Quincy Wilson and (Teez) Tabor are two very talented guys who have played a lot of football. They’re very good players. They’re not going to see anything new on Saturday, I assure you of that. They’ve seen a lot, and they’re good players. Duke Dawson has played a lot for them at the nickel. He’s also played corner and safety. He had a pick-six Saturday at Arkansas. He’s a guy that can cover and support the run, and he’s a good blitzer. He’s a good football player. Marcus Maye is probably playing his best football at Florida in my opinion, just watching the tape from this year. He’s been a sure tackler in space. He’s played a lot of football for them. Nick Washington and Marcell Harris are having really good years.

“I’m disappointed for Jarrad Davis and Alex Anzalone, (who are) not playing Saturday. Alex I think had surgery. I hurt for them – two really good players but better people, the kind of guys that represent college athletics the right way. I know Daniel McMillian has done some nice things, and I’m really proud of him. We recruited Daniel and are happy for him. They’ve got some young linebackers that are really athletic and play very well. They’ll certainly step up for them.

“Up front, Caleb Brantley is a disruptive player. (He’s) a guy you’ve got to account for in the run and pass game, and you’ve got to make sure in one-on-ones that you can handle him. He’s an explosive guy and playing at a really high level. Taven Bryan has continued to develop. He’s a really good football player. Cece Jefferson and Khairi Clark – they’ve got some depth up front. I know they’ve had some injuries, but they’ve got some depth. Joey Ivie and Frank Cox has broken a thumb I think, but he plays hard, fast and physical. (Jabari Zuninga) and (Keivonnis Davis) are younger guys who have come along. (Zuninga) has a lot of twitch that we’ve got to handle in the rush. They’re very talented up front. It’s a front you’re going to have to deal with throughout the game.

“The placekicker (Eddy Pineiro) is outstanding, and Johnny Townsend is an outstanding punter. (They have) good skill people in the return game, and they can certainly threaten you at any snap, so we’ve got to make sure our coverage units (are good). We did a much better job Saturday covering kicks.”

“I also want to say I am really excited. The State Physical Accountability Authority gave its approval for our football operations facility. That’s a huge step for our program moving forward. It’s a game-changer for us, in my opinion, for our student-athletes on campus, and also, it’s going to help us tremendously in recruiting. I want to thank President (Harris) Pastides), the Board of Trustees and Coach (Ray) Tanner and all of those involved in the state level that approved this. I really appreciate that. Moving forward, it’s an exciting time in Gamecock football. I am excited about where we are but really excited about where we’re heading. That’s going to be a huge, huge part of our success moving forward.”

On the defensive game plan with Florida’s quarterback uncertainty…
"There's only so much you can do in a week, and at the end of the day, you have to do some things that the quarterback feels comfortable with. But there are 10 other guys on the field you have to account for too. Jim's been coaching offensive football for a long time, and they'll have a good plan in place for us, and we'll have to make adjustments on Saturday."

On preparation for the first road game in seven weeks…
"(It’s the) same preparation. Obviously, early in the year, we got used to being on the road a bunch, but it's nothing different for us"

On the emotion of going back to Florida, where he was head coach for four seasons…
"I won't know until game day. I stayed at the office for the normal time yesterday. I got to the office today at the same time I usually get to the office. Nothing changes (where) the workweek is concerned, whether we're playing Florida or anyone else on our schedule for that matter. We'll cross that bridge when we get to Gainesville."

On how quarterback Jake Bentley can handle the talented Florida defense…
"I think it's just (about) making good decisions in coverage areas. Those tight zones are going to be tighter; these guys make plays on the ball. They're ball hogs, and they go after the ball. Our receivers have to go challenge them for the football, and they're going to play bump-and-run. They're not going to shake us with anything; that's what they do and do well. Fastball pitchers throw fastballs, and they're going to throw fastballs Saturday."

On advantage of knowing some of the Florida players…
"I wouldn't necessarily say it's knowing what they do; more than anything, when you are familiar with a player you've coached before, unfortunately, some of them are really good. You realize there's some strengths and weaknesses they may have within their game, but at the end of the day, this is a player’s game, and when this game tees off on Saturday, it's going to come down to the players and the players making plays in those situations and coaches putting them in good situations in order to allow them to make some good plays."

On the bond defensive coordinator Travaris Robinson has with his players…
"He does a fantastic job. Some people have a skill to motivate players and to also develop a respect and friendship with players. But there's always that line of being a coach and a player. And he has as good of an ability of probably anyone I've worked with that can do that and manage that line. And managing the players locking in and being serious and when it's time to enjoy a meeting or on-the-field setting and a laugh or two. Because at the end of the day, we spend a lot of time together as far as with our players, and you have to be able to enjoy that time. He does a fantastic job in my opinion. That's why he has such a close relationship with his players, because players see him making a difference for them as players and as people, but he's also able to do it in a father-like, brother-like way. That's hard to do, and it's hard to have that kind of personality to handle those situations."

On his coaching improvement since time at Florida…
"I think anytime you've gone through a situation, I would equate it to being a freshman player. That first year, it's moving really fast, and you're learning on the run in those situations. (In the) second year, it slows down a little bit, and third year it slows down a little bit. Now in my 5th year, the anticipation of when things happen and all those things you're able to dissect and have a little anticipation of situations that occur within your team and within your staff and recruiting or whatever the case may be. The more experience and the more at-bats you have at something, the better you're going to be - if you're willing to learn from your experiences, which I'm certainly willing to do so. We did some good things in Florida too. Let's not lose sight of that."

On Carolina’s mindset heading into Saturday’s game with Muschamp’s history with Florida…
“It’s about focusing on the game and what we need to do. It’s always about the players, and that will never change. It’s about the players and focusing in on their jobs. We had a good meeting this morning about things we have on the table. For those things to fall our way it goes back to our preparation. It’s about how we prepare on a Tuesday practice, a Wednesday practice, the walkthrough and handling the trip the right way.”

On his relationship with Steve Spurrier…
“Our relationship is outstanding. He was very helpful to me during my time at Florida, and he always called to check in and see how things were going. He was very supportive of me, and I always appreciated that. He didn’t have to do that, and he did. He called after we beat Tennessee. He’s been great to me.”

On who on South Carolina’s team could enjoy a successful political career…
“We have several candidates. Perry Orth would be a guy who would be politically correct. We have several guys that are extremely bright, and if they wanted to head down the road of politics they’d be good. Mason Zandi and T.J. Holloman also. I’m probably going to leave some guys out, but those three jump out at me.”

On Steven Montac being able to adjust positions during the last game…
“It’s hard. It’s all about matchups, and Steven and Jordan Diggs and Antoine Wilder have done a very good job playing the nickel. But there were some matchup concerns for us going into the game. Steven knew going into the game there was a possibility of him having to play some nickel. He did a fantastic job. We teach everything by concepts, so they all have to be adaptable when things happen. We try and cross train guys in the spring and in fall camp. We do that to create depth.”

On the play of offensive lineman Zack Bailey vs. Missouri and overall for the season…
“It was a heck of a block. We blocked on the perimeter, and that was nice. Blocking in space is extremely difficult, and to be able to climb on the second level shows that he is a good athlete and a powerful man. He has had a very consistent year for us. You always want to know what you’re getting in a player, and it’s been good.”

On the offensive game play for Saturday against a good rushing defense in Florida…
“We need to stay balanced. We can’t get into a one-dimensional game because they have very effective rushers as well. You need to do be able to run the ball some. You don’t want to get into a situation where they are targeting in on the quarterback.”

On his satisfaction with Carolina’s defense at this point of the season…
“We’re much improved as far as tackling is concerned. We have improved with our space play. We still have miles to travel, but we’ve certainly improved with our space play. We still have a ways to go with taking on a block, creating space, disengaging and making tackles. That’s something that we need to continue to work on. We’ve improved, and they’ve seen the improvement. Our staff does a good job of pulling tape out from weeks one, two and three and showing them where they are now. Players need to see improvement to get encouraged and continue to put the work in.”

On the progress of Carolina’s freshman defensive linemen…
“Kobe (Smith) played more defensive snaps than he’s played all season on Saturday. We got caught in a situation with Missouri where you can’t sub if they don’t sub. Those guys are playing the series, and when you start to sub they go fast. Kobe I thought played his best game against Missouri. Kier Thomas continues to come on. He did a nice job. Dennis Wonnum has continued to improve all year. He’s also been a huge contributor on special teams.” On the mindset of defensive back Chris Lammons…
“There is no hesitancy at all. He lost his composure against Tennessee, and we had an unfortunate situation against Missouri. Chris feels bad about it. I told him, it’s an unfortunate situation. The call was correct, but you’ve got to just keep playing the game. That’s part of it. But he’s been great at practice. He was very competitive. I was really proud watching him at practice today. Watching him move around, I thought he did a nice job.

On the scenarios ahead of the team that lead to a berth in the SEC Championship…
“The only I addressed with our players is that the only thing we can control is South Carolina and our preparation for this game. And the only way any of that stuff stays alive, is we need to win the game. All of the other stuff doesn’t matter, and all that’s going to do is clutter your mind. None of it matters other than having a great Tuesday practice, which leads into a wonder Wednesday practice, and then to Thursday and Friday to hopefully play well on Saturday against a very good football team. And that’s really where our focus needs to be. I said ‘is there any question about all of the hypotheticals? No, there are no questions. Okay, great, so what do we need to do?’ They all said ‘we need to beat Florida.’ So there is no discussion about anything else besides our preparation and what we need to do to be successful.”

On the challenge of facing student-athletes he recruited and coached while at Florida…
“It’s no different than coaching against people that you’ve worked with for multiple years, and your families are close with. On game day, there’s nobody who is going to be more competitive than me, or them on their sideline, to win the game and represent their university, or my university here at South Carolina and the players you’re coaching now. To me, it’s no different than that. Again, your competitive edge takes over, regardless of who’s sitting on that other sideline. We’re looking forward to playing, and I’m sure they are as well.”

On the matchup problems created by tight end K.C. Crosby…
“I think that’s something that is a luxury we’re going to have moving forward. K.C. is a guy, (along with) Hayden (Hurst), Jacob August and Kiel Pollard, that is able to flex out and play in the slot but also block at the core of the formation. That’s an issue for defensive coordinators, because they’re looking at it, and it’s very difficult to say ‘how are we going to count this guy?’ Is this guy a tight end or a receiver? Is he going to create a three-man blocking service, or am I going to have to walk a linebacker over into space and play with this guy? Are we going to be a physical-enough team to stop the run with nickel in the game? That’s what those guys can create for you, which is very good for an offensive coordinator.”

On their use of the Wildcat package last week…
“We didn’t convert one of the 3rd down situations I felt like we had a shot at. We did on another situation. I think we’ve got to have some variety short-yardage wise with what we’re doing. (We need to) keep the defense off-balance and try to have some changeups every week off of our base run package.”



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