Key Muschamp moments from 2018 media day with Video
August 02, 2018
South Carolina football coach Will Muschamp kicked off the Gamecocks’ preseason camp on Thursday with media day, addressing reporters on a number of topics facing USC heading into the 2018 season.
Training camp focuses
Right away, Muschamp made it clear the areas he’ll be focusing on throughout training camp — both sides of the line and the secondary.
“First thing we’ve got to do is get the young guys ready on both sides on the line of scrimmage (because) they will play right away,” Muschamp said.
At safety and corner, the only veteran Muschamp returns is Steven Montac, but USC does add some intriguing pieces in graduate transfers Nick Harvey and JT Ibe, as well as sophomore Jamyest Williams, who will slide into the safety position.
‘Be selfish about your season’
It may seem counter to a team-first approach, but Muschamp said he’s spoken with the Gamecocks’ leaders on the field and urged them to “be selfish about your season.”
The reason is simple — Muschamp wants his players to take pride in their play and not allow other teammates slack off.
Once again, Muschamp emphasized that the team’s placekicking must improve this season, and he plans to have his kickers compete all the way until the season opener for the starting job. The hope is that that competition will create consistency from the eventual winner, he said.
Redshirt sophomore Parker White held the job last year, but he will be challenged by graduate transfer Shane Hynes, among others.
Sophomore defensive lineman Brad Johnson, junior defensive lineman Jabari Ellis and redshirt senior linebacker Eldridge Thompson will all miss the first few days of training camp.
Freshman running back Lavonte Valentine and grad transfer defensive back J.T. Ibe are on schedule to return about halfway through camp, while sophomore wide receiver Chad Terrell will be sidelined until the middle of September or early October.
Two players — redshirt senior long snapper Ben Asbury and freshman wide receiver Josh Vann — are not yet cleared for contact in practice but will be in a few days, Muschamp said.
Taking shots at his guys
At two points throughout Thursday’s press conference, Muschamp playfully pushed back against reporters’ characterizations of his players, arguing that tight end K.C. Crosby is stronger and more physical than he’s given credit for and linebacker T.J. Brunson is a vocal leader who will be a natural successor to the departed Skai Moore, who was the heart of the Gamecock defense last season.
“You guys are taking shots at my guys,” Muschamp joked.
Waiver submitted for Josh Belk
Muschamp said a waiver has been submitted for defensive line transfer Josh Belk to play immediately after transferring from Clemson this offseason, and he expressed optimism that it will be approved, though he has no timeline for a decision.
In the meantime, Muschamp said, Belk will practice as if he will be approved.
‘God’s blessed’ Deebo
Not much has changed since dynamic playmaker Deebo Samuel has returned from injury, Muschamp said, and a key reason for that is a trait of his that doesn’t get mentioned often.
“God’s blessed him with a lot of ability, and one of the abilities he’s been blessed with work ethic,” Muschamp said, and as a result, Samuel hasn’t lost a step and is hungry to return to the field.
Javon Charleston update
After the arrest and suspension of Javon Charleston, Muschamp gave a brief update on how he is approaching Charleston’s legal situation and potential return to football.
“I’m going to let the judicial process take its course,” Muschamp said, before he even considers reinstating Charleston.
Social media shutdown
Jake Bentley and others on USC’s rosters have recently taken to Twitter to announce they’ll be leaving social media during the season, and while Muschamp did not say such a move is required in the program, he said he believes doing so is a good idea.
“Social media won’t help us win any games,” he said.
Thoughts on Urban Meyer
Muschamp was asked for his thoughts on how his program handles illegal or questionable behavior in light of the scandal that has rocked Ohio State and threatened to cost coach Urban Meyer his job, and he was firm in his stated approach: “If you see something, say something.”
Muschamp said he reiterated that message to his coaching staff on Thursday when they met, and emphasized that players also are aware that they need to speak up if they witness or are aware of something.
Every USC fan knows when Muschamp sends out a simple #SpursUp tweet that the Gamecocks have just added a new commit. The origin of that hashtag, he said Thursday, was his wife, who noted that Big 12 teams had signature hand signals and phrases and wanted him to institute one for South Carolina.