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Coach Muschamp Weekly Press Conference With Notes/Quotes + Videos Coach & Players

Gamecocks vs Razorbacks

Coach Muschamp Weekly Press Conference With Notes/Quotes + Videos Coach & Players

GCF Staff Report
October 03, 2017


Posted Image Muschamp Press Conference With Players – 10/3/17 – Week #6 - Arkansas

Will Muschamp Weekly News Conference — 10/3/17



Ty'Son Williams Media Availability — 10/3/17


Hayden Hurst Media Availability — 10/3/17


Jake Bentley Media Availability — 10/3/17


T.J. Brunson Media Availability — 10/3/17


A.J. Turner Media Availability — 10/3/17


Rico Dowdle Media Availability — 10/3/17




Dennis Daley Media Availability — 10/3/17


Coach Will Muschamp Quotes

Opening Statement

“We’re excited to get back to Williams-Brice Stadium Saturday at 4 o’clock against a very good Arkansas football team. They’re a little unique in this day and age, as opposed to 10 or 12 years ago when they were very normal. Offensively, Dan Enos does an outstanding job. They have very similar thoughts from when Bret (Bielema) was at Wisconsin to now at Arkansas with some of they things they do offensively. (They’re) more traditional, two-back, with big people on the field and play action. We’ve got to have great eye control defensively as far as what we’re watching.

“Austin Allen is an outstanding thrower, really a talented arm. He’s a guy that’s really played well in out league. They have some really talented runners. Obviously David (Williams) is there now, a guy we really thought a lot of when he was here. He wanted a fresh start, and we’re glad he’s got that opportunity. Chase Hayden is a freshman that’s really played well for them. He’s done some Wildcat for them, and has done some nice things. (Devwah) Whaley is a really good back as well. They use multiple tight ends. They’re big, physical and fast outside at the wide receiver position, so we’ve got to be able to match up on those guys and again, eye control in the secondary and at linebacker is going to be critical for us, to be able to cover down and be in the right spots.

“Defensively, Paul Rhoads does a really good job. They’re primarily a three-down (lineman) team. You see the active guys they’ve got inside. The two linebackers really jump out at me as far as their tackling in space and playing in space.

“We’ve got our work cut out for us, but we’re looking forward to getting back on the field. I thought we had a very good day this morning. They guys were very spirited getting back to practice, restarting a moving forward to playing Arkansas here at home.”

On the team’s injury situation…

“Zack Bailey, Cory Helms and Malik Young are all day-to-day. To me, I think Zack has the best opportunity to play (Saturday), and I’ll probably know more Wednesday or Thursday on him. He’s probably further out in helping us than the other two guys are at this time. Terry Googer is day-to-day as well.”

On the run game…

“I think when you’re struggling, you go back and say ‘what are we doing well?’ I think if you look in the passing game tight now the RPOs have been really good for us. We’ve created a lot of explosive plays. I think you look at the quick game and it’s been really good for us. You look at last Saturday night and Shi Smith in the quick game with big, explosive plays. Brian Edwards was in the quick game with explosive plays on 2nd-and-7. You look at the back shoulder throwing to Brian in the quick game. They went to more man coverage to deny the ball in the quick game situations, which hurts your routes further down the field. Again, I thought that’s been very productive. The play action pass has been very productive. Really, our drop back passing has been very good until the other night we struggled to protect. Jake in a couple situations has to get rid of the football. Running back position misses two protections. Then we got beat up front a couple times.

“To me, but maybe it’s backwards how I look at it, let’s start there and let’s build from that. What do we need to do to continue to improve? Obviously, we’re not going to have an open forum about what we need to do Saturday. Are there some tweaks? I don’t know if you make wholesale changes within a week. There are some bright spots that we’ve been able to accomplish this year. The first play of the second half with the 34-yard power play inside that was blocked extremely well. There were some runs in some other situations. If you look at 17 carries for 77 yards, 4.5 yards a carry the other night. You take away the sack yardage, which has nothing to do with the rushing offense. There are some positive things. Is it where we want to be? No. It isn’t good enough and it’s not productive enough. You have to stay balanced in this league; you can’t become one-dimensional. I.e. after the second series on the second half it became a throwing game and it was a launching pad for the quarterback. So, we tried to throw a couple screens and those didn’t manifest themselves. The running game was nonexistent, and they’re teeing off the quarterback. When you get in those situations, it’s extremely difficult. So, we have to find some sort of balance in what we do, as far as getting the ball in the perimeter more and continuing to have ways to run the football.”

On red zone offense issues…

“First of all, missing seven field goals is not good. Now, two of those are from 50. Three of those from +40. So those are some issues. You take away 21 points you probably should’ve scored. We’ve got a turnover on downs inside the 1-yard line and a turnover inside the 10-yard line last Saturday night. That’s a bunch of points off the board that you had opportunities to get scores. Obviously, we need to score touchdowns down there. Those are some things we’ve looked at schematically as far as what we’re doing and what we need to improve. How do we attack the Arkansas defense and some of the things that they do in the red zone? How can we take advantage of those guys in the run and pass game?”

On former Gamecock David Williams and his return to Columbia Saturday as part of the Arkansas team…
“I think, again, David did everything we asked for him to do here at South Carolina. He was a first-class citizen on and off the field. He came to me when the year was over and said he wanted a fresh start. The rules are what they are. I don’t really agree with the rules, but they say if you are a graduate transfer, then you have the opportunity to go to another graduate program and study under something else. That’s obviously not the reason he was going, he was going to play football. Those are the rules. I’m not going to block a young man from an opportunity if that’s what he wants to do. That’s just the way I view it; it’s not the way other coaches view it. But I don’t really care how they view it. That’s the way we do things here.”

On moving forward after a tough loss…

“There are no re-dos in life. That’s part of the issue in our society. Most people want to hit a reset button and everything’s okay. That’s not the case. There are no ‘could’ve, would’ve, should’ve.’ Learn from your mistakes and move forward. We had opportunities to finish that game in the fourth quarter, and we didn’t get it done. You can’t let one loss become another one. You can’t harbor on what happened the other night. It was a very disappointing loss. We had a hurt locker room. That was strictly my point for our team. Yesterday isn’t today. We’re going to restart. We’ll stay positive, we’ll move forward, we’ll learn from our mistakes and go forward. That’s what we’re doing.”

On time of possession and if it’s an issue for the Gamecocks…

“The three-and-outs are an issue. We’ve had 12 in our last 26 possessions in SEC ball. That’s a problem. You have to get off the field on defense. That’s number one. In order to do that, you’ve got to maintain some drives offensively. It also flips field position. That’s an issue as well. It’s not about scoring points sometimes; it’s about getting a couple first downs and flipping the field. Special teams-wise right now, aside from our field goal kicking and one extra point, has been outstanding. Our coverage units the other night were outstanding against as good of returner as there is in college football. Our return units have been very good and certainly improved from a week ago. There’s no question. Statistically, you can swing it however you want to look at it, and whether it’s a positive or a negative for you. There’s no question right now that it is a negative. It’s our inability at times to get off the field defensively and maintain consistent drives offensively.”

On how much tempo the Gamecocks want to use…

“I think that it comes with the flow of the game. Going three-and-out with tempo is not a real cool thing to do, in my opinion. You’re just going to be six or seven minutes quicker back on the field for your defensive players. You’ve got to get first downs in order to go tempo. If you really look at all the tempo teams, they go fast after they get a first down. They’re not going break-neck tempo first down out of an possession going to second down. That’s not necessarily how they do things. They hit a big play or get a first down. The chains are moving, and they’re going quick to the ball. We wanted to try and change the tempo the other night, but it’s hard when you don’t get first downs. That creates an issue. It also creates an issue that they had a great environment. That’s what we need Saturday afternoon at our place. It was a loud, proud environment. They had one. Communication becomes an issue when you’re on the road.”

On how to approach field goal kicking decisions…

“I think situationally to start the game. Parker (White) had a great week last week. He had a really good pregame as far as kicking the ball. We felt really good about it. It was a good hit. He pulled it. Then the second, it was a closer in-field goal, and he hit it. I probably should go back and look at having him attempt two 50-yarders and three 46+ yarders and rethink that a little bit. Putting him out there in that situation for the first time probably wasn’t smart on my part. I think those are things you kind of re-think. I want to, and again I might be wrong, off the turnover we tried to take a shot, they pressured us with four weak. We hit a stick route to Hayden (Hurst), which we missed on the 1st-and-10. We wanted to take a shot to the x. The look they gave us didn’t allow that to happen. I want to say that was a 3rd-and-12, or a longer yardage situation given the circumstances. And I didn’t know that two downs at that time, trying to get on the board as quickly as we could.”

On guys trying to overextend themselves, which could lead to mistakes…

“I do think the other night, Jake (Bentley) pressed a little bit sometimes. He held onto the ball a little bit in the pocket too long. He should’ve gotten rid of the ball a couple times. That’s something we’ve talked to him about. Just play within the scheme and system. We had some guys on defense late in the game that we’re trying to do a little too much. The worst thing you can do is try to do someone else’s job, then all of a sudden you haven’t done yours very well, and we have an issue. We had a couple issues on defense especially that in my opinion come from a discipline standpoint. Just do your job, keep hanging in there. Don’t try and manifest a play. It just doesn’t work very well.”

On Deebo Samuel’s rehab progress…

“He’s doing well. He’s got the cast off. He’s in a walking boot right now. They’re doing the bone stimulation and all of that, all of those exercises and things. I think he’s coming along well.”

On the backup situation at the SAM linebacker spot…

“Daniel Fennell, Antoine Wilder and Sherrod Greene can all play on the strong side. They’re certainly guys that as we continue through the week we’ll see how that plays out as far as what we’re going to do.”

On the Arkansas defensive scheme…

“They’ll match personnel. They’ll put a nickel in the game and take a linebacker out there and try to get another rush guy in the game. They do rush four and have a more athletic rusher on the field rather than a big guy. They’ll play base personnel in some situations based on the matchups for them. That will need to be something we need to see early in the game on how they will match us. That’s something you see on game days as much as anything.”

On his role in the offensive game plan and if that will increase this week…

“No more than I have every year as a head coach. That’s just to get some ideas of how I think they’ll try to defense us a little bit. I hired the offensive coordinator to do his job and the offensive staff. It’s a cumulative effort of everyone in the room. We’ve got a very confident offensive staff and very confident offensive coordinator. Those guys do a good job, and we need to be more productive. They don’t disagree with anything; they think we need to be more productive. They are certainly working tirelessly to make sure that happens.”

On executing late in the fourth quarter…

“I think it starts with coaches’ decisions first of all and putting the guys in positions to be successful. Evaluating when they are in those situations to be successful, and (if) they weren’t, why? You look at that situation when 40 had that big run on us and we didn’t close down at the defensive end position well enough. We didn’t fall back with the linebacker well enough. It was two true freshmen, so in that situation what can we do better to coach those guys. That was a critical play in the game, so holding them to a field goal right there you’re looking at a three-point game. It’s a totally different feel when you’re driving the ball back down the field trying to tie or win the football game. Those are all situations you go through as a staff and you talk about a little more down there defensively at that time. Obviously, we needed some fresh legs on the field, and that’s why they’re in there. We did what was called a ‘rabbits’ package. They went tempo knowing we’re in the ‘rabbits’ package to keep those guys on the field. It was a good turn on their part, and we’ve got to have those guys execute a little better. That means we’ve got to coach a little better in my opinion.

On the expectations he has for the younger players…

“They need to play well. I told those guys ‘you aren’t freshman anymore.’ We are five games into this thing. Go play well. I didn’t look at Bryan Edwards last year and say ‘you’re a freshman; it’s ok, you can make a mistake.’ I said ‘did I ever ask you that, Bryan?’ Bryan said in front of the whole team ‘no.’ I asked Jake Bentley the same thing. I asked Rico Dowdle the same thing. I never said it was okay, they’re freshmen. Go play good. If I put you out there, you ought to play well, right?”

On the issues of the offensive line including injuries…

“Dennis (Daley]) is still playing left tackle. Sadarius Hutcherson is still playing left guard. Alan Knott is playing center. Right guard is Donell Stanley. Blake Camper is a guy we need to get some snaps this Saturday, and D.J. Park will be the right tackle. We will go with those guys; regardless of the situation we plan on having five out there.”

On Arkansas coach Bret Bielema and if he’s ever spent time strategizing with him in the offseason.
“No. Obviously, he did a fantastic job at Wisconsin. I got to know him a little bit at the SEC meetings and things like that. I’ve got a lot of respect for the job that he does. His football teams are well coached and he is fundamentally very sound in what they do. They play extremely hard, and I appreciate the way that they play.”

On a timetable for Deebo Samuel’s return…

“We are still weeks away from that. I just told those guys (that) as we get closer, y'all let me know something. We will figure out a role for him.”

On the growth of the defense…

“I’ve seen a lot of improvement on a communication standpoint. I think our guys are straining and playing extremely hard. Quarterback legs got us a little bit in the second half at times, and I feel like we have guys in position at times to make some plays. You’ve got to also realize that Kellen Mond is a good athlete, a good player, and a good quarterback. The guy made some plays on his own there. The improvement has been good, but we’ve got to continue to come on. We didn’t tackle as crisply as we would have liked to, especially versus a team that is going to spread you out as much as they did. It’s a little different this week ,but you’re still going to have to make some plays in space. We’ve got to continue to take steps forward, especially when you’re facing something a little bit different than you’ve seen all year. You’ve got to get out of your comfort zone a little bit on some of the things you’ve seen and be able to play well.”

On the improvements Jamyest Williams has made in five games…

“I think competitive edge is a talent. He’s got a high competitive edge and (is) a very fierce competitor. He also practices the right way, and that is something I’ve emphasized over the last couple of years. Understanding how important preparation is and how preparation creates separation on game day. He’s a guy that understands that part. He had that before he got here. I credit his dad and Grayson High School, the people that were there. He understands how to work.”

On what things he’s pleased with through five games…

“Not a whole lot. At the end of the day, we’re not where we want to be. We’ll reflect on the season when it’s over, but right now, we’re not where we want to be.”

On the play late against Texas A&M where Jamarcus King nearly batted away a completion that went for a first down…

“It was a 3rd-and-9 situation. We were in man coverage. The only thing I would tell him, in that situation, he did have his back arm on the receiver. It’s right at the sticks, the first down marker. Hook and swat the receiver and try and get the ball off the guy. He missed on the swat. He was in position to make the play, and he missed. Again, you asked earlier the question about those couple of plays. The difference between winning and losing the game. No one play ever won a game, and no one play ever lost a game, but there is a collection of about 6-10 that will determine the outcome of the game. If you knock that ball down, they’re going to punt. It’s still a tied ball game. But he was in position to make a play. He played tight, good coverage, clean coverage, hooked the back left hand to get the guy to the ground once you miss the swat, which he tried to do, but the guy is also 6-2, 220 lbs. He rolled out of it, and D.J. (Smith) did a nice job of pursuing the ball. So I want our guys to be totally aggressive in all of those situations. Try and go make a play on the ball, and I thought he made the correct play. I wish he would have secured the receiver a little better. But that’s easy for me and you at 12:49 on Tuesday afternoon to talk about. He was in position, exactly the way we coach it to be. Get your hand on the ball, and then hook the receiver if you miss the swat. He missed the swat.”

On the ways the Gamecocks can avoid taking sacks…

“At the end of the day, we had two on the running back position, several on the offensive line and several where Jake (Bentley) needs to get rid of the ball and understand that when the pocket’s closing in, you’ve got to get rid of it sometimes. The blame is spread around the group, and they all understand that. There were a couple of routes that could have been running a little crisper, that needed the ball to be delivered and weren’t run exactly the way we want them run. Those are all things, when you talk in terms of ‘the devil is in the details’ of what you do. That’s the emphasis I’ve had with our football team.”

On the biggest hurdle for his team this week – physical challenges or mental challenges…

“I think both this week. The physical challenge for our defense and what they’re going to face – I’d say that for our whole organization, the physicality that we’re going to need to play with. Mentally, at this point of the year, especially for young players, it concerns you when you’re moving into this time of the year. They’ve got exams. They’ve got social. They’ve got a lot going on. Continuing to focus on football for young players – and we’re playing a bunch – sometimes is an issue. That’s something I’ve talked to the staff about, making sure the young guys are dialed in to what we need to do and their focus is where it needs to be at practice. Sometimes that’s hard for a young player to separate. We’ve got a bunch of young guys playing and playing well. That’s certainly what we expect them to do. I think it’s probably a balance of 50/50, maybe more mental than physical at this point, but certainly we’re going to need to match their physicality Saturday.”

On the confidence he has in his team…

“I’ve got a lot of confidence in this football team. We’ve had our share of adversity, something probably out of our control, but I think our guys have responded extremely well. I’ve got all the confidence in the world in this team, as far as how we’re going to respond Saturday and moving forward. There’s no question. We had a good day today. I expect us to have another good day tomorrow. I like the leadership on this football team. I enjoy being around this football team. They work extremely hard. They’re a good bunch to be around. So I’ve got all the confidence in the world on how we will respond.”

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