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Muschamp Press Conference – 9/19/17 – Week #4 – Louisiana Tech With Videos,Notes & Quotes

Weekly News Conference

Muschamp Press Conference – 9/19/17 – Week #4 – Louisiana Tech With Videos,Notes & Quotes

September 19, 2017

Game Notes

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Weekly News Conference — 9/19/17



Payers

Taylor Stallworth Media Availability — 9/19/17



D.J. Smith Media Availability — 9/19/17



Alan Knott Media Availability — 9/19/17



Hayden Hurst Media Availability — 9/19/17



Bryan Edwards Media Availability — 9/19/17



Rico Dowdle Media Availability — 9/19/17



T.J. Brunson Media Availability — 9/19/17



Jake Bentley Weekly News Conference — 9/19/17




On Saturday’s theme, supporting Childhood Cancer Awareness Month…

“September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. The University of South Carolina Athletics Department is supporting Curing Kids Cancer at our game. Obviously I have a whistle here. I don’t know if I’ll be wearing it on game day, but we’re blowing the whistle on children’s cancer. This is a great organization. The Owen family started it in 2005, a year after they lost their nine-year-old son, Killian, to leukemia. Since the creation of this program, they’ve raised over $10 million to support research for curing pediatric cancer. Again, I think it’s a wonderful organization. It hits home with me; my nephew Jordan battled cancer and leukemia growing up. He’s since defeated cancer twice, the amazing young man that he is and what he’s done and accomplished. He was in remission for five years and was able to overcome it again this past year. Obviously I am proud of our University for supporting this organization and it has my full support as well.

Opening Statement
“(We play) Louisiana Tech here this Saturday at Williams-Brice at 3:30 pm. Again, I want to thank our fans for last Saturday night and the great environment they created for us. We need to coach and play better. We certainly will, and our preparation started today.

“Skip Holtz obviously was an assistant here for his dad and has done a fantastic job at Louisiana Tech. Their numbers, offensively, have been phenomenal. They spread the field. They create some tempo. They create a lot of issues. They have good team speed overall and certainly on offense with the skill position guys that can run. They do a really good job.

“Todd Fitch, the offensive coordinator, obviously was an assistant here as well. Blake Baker, their defensive coordinator, actually was a graduate assistant for me at the University of Texas. They’ll be well-coached. They were right there with Mississippi State, who’s got obviously a good football team this year. From the turnover standpoint and a blocked punt, they had a couple of things go against them and the game got away, but it was certainly an outstanding game as I’m watching the tape. We have our work cut out for us again. They had a great victory over Western Kentucky Saturday night in their conference. They’re 2-1, so we need to refocus, reset and rebound. That’s what we plan on doing.”

On the injury situation…
“Zack Bailey will be out this week. He has a high ankle sprain, so it may be a couple weeks. I’ll know more Thursday. We put him in a cast to limit the swelling, as much as anything. They’re going to pull the cast off Thursday morning and reevaluate it then. He certainly will not be playing Saturday. We’ll tweak after I know more Thursday. Dante Sawyer is fine. He practiced today; he was a little limited but he should be ready to go. I talked to Deebo Samuel this morning; he should be discharged within the next hour or two. The surgery went extremely well and his spirits were good.”

On replacing Deebo Samuel…
“I agree, it’s not one person stepping in and accomplishing those things. I think it’s multiple guys, and we have guys that we have confidence in. They have the ability to be very effective in what we’re trying to do. Randrecous Davis, OrTre Smith, Bryan Edwards, Terry Googer, Chad Terrell, those guys need to continue competing for us. They are certainly capable. Shi is going to continue to play in the slot. (Randrecous) will get more snaps in the slot. We’ll continue to try and get the best eleven on the field. That’s certainly what we need to do. Man down, man up. It’s an unfortunate situation for him, but one man’s misfortune is another man’s opportunity.”

On the team’s spirits practicing after a loss…
“I think we had a good practice today. It was a physical Tuesday, which is what we normally have anyways. We’re disappointed with being upset, but we have to move on at the end of the day. That’s how I felt the day went with our guys and our staff. When you turn the tape on Louisiana Tech, you better move on quick. They’ve got a good football team. I think that was a wakeup call as much as anything. We started with special teams this morning. They saw their team speed. They saw offensively and defensively some of the things that they do extremely well. Our guys realize we need to get ready to roll.”

On the team’s effort against Kentucky…
“I think we played with great effort. I think we competed extremely hard in the game. Let’s not confuse a loss with a lack of effort. That frustrates me when I hear that, because that’s not always the case. It’s an easy cop-out. Saying, ‘Oh they lost the game. Obviously, they didn’t play very well, or obviously they weren’t very focused.’ We were focused the first play of the game. We seemed to be very focused, defensively, the second play of the game. We had positive results. At the end of the day it comes down to execution. We need to coach better and we need to play better. We haven’t had an issue with offsides throughout training camp or throughout the the first two ball games on the road. We had an issue with it four times the other night. Whether it’s dialing in, focusing, or whatever you want to call it; at the end of the day we need to execute better.”

On the offensive play-calling…
“I think at the end of the day, we’d like to execute a little better. I think we had a hard time getting in a rhythm Saturday. You go four-straight three-and-outs, but defensively you don’t get off the field. It’s a team game. You have to create opportunities for yourself to get into a rhythm.

“We got into a pretty good rhythm when Jake completed 16-straight. Would he have liked to have the ball back for a touchdown to Bryan Edwards? Absolutely. There was no question about that. That was a good play call. We’d like to have the ball back to K.C. (Crosby) on their sideline, I believe it was the second play of the game or maybe the third or fourth. We certainly would’ve liked to have some of those back.
“But at the end of the day, we threw for over 300 yards. (Jake) was 16-of-16 at one point in the game, which is outstanding. He completed close to 70-percent of his passes. We need to run the ball better. That’s an issue. You’ve got nine running back runs in the first half and four in the second half.

“We’re in a little bit of the RPO world right now, based on the boxes. The first play of the game was an RPO. We had three explosives in the game. We had multiple explosives in the first two games, because of good decision-making from the quarterback position and the receiver position in those situations. It creates a lot of one-on-ones down the field. We need to be more effective running the football. That’s going to help our passing game. That’s going to help everything. That’s going to help our defense. It’s going to help everything.”

On replacing Deebo Samuel and if it takes multiple people stepping up…
“I feel like you can with multiple people. I look at our tight end position. K.C. Crosby has been a playmaker for us and hasn’t gotten as many touches or looks as we would like. He had one the other night on a slant on the goal line. Hayden Hurst continues to play well for us. I think it’s a collective effort as far as those things are concerned. I think with the collective effort of the guys that we’ve got, we’re certainly capable.”

On the kicking game…
“The issue is that we missed three field goals and an extra point. Other than that, our coverage units were outstanding. They sky-kicked for the most part. Our field position on kickoff return was very good. The only issue we had in the kicking game was kicking the field goals and extra points. Parker White will kick field goals this weekend.”

On quarterback’s leadership after a loss…
“Absolutely. I think Jake Bentley has all the leadership ability and the belief in the team to rebound from a tough defeat and move forward.”

On the running back rotation…
“Bobby (Bentley) rotates the running backs during game situations. We have a lot of confidence in A.J. Turner, and he runs extremely hard. He runs the inside zone extremely well. Certainly, when you don’t have the results you want, it’s easy to question that, and I understand that part of it. We have confidence in all three backs. We had 13 touches by the running backs the other night. Certainly, Ty’Son Williams was in the game for 21 or 22 snaps. Rico Dowdle was in for 27 snaps and A.J. was in for 11. So, in those situations we certainly have revisited not who is in the game, but what we do in short yardage and goal line. We will continue to try and prove that situational football part of our game.”


On Louisiana Tech defensive end Jaylon Ferguson…
“(He’s an) outstanding pass rusher (who) can affect the game, (including) end of the game for them last week against Western Kentucky as they’re trying to win the game. He gets them the ball back for the end of the game. He’s got loose hips that can really rush the passers. He’s a powerful man. He’s a guy we need to account for in the pass rush.”

On the team’s execution on third- and fourth-and-short situations…
“I think in those situations you’ve got to evaluate, first of all, schematically what we’re doing. We need to revisit some of those things that we have sensibly done since the game. Challenge the guys a little bit and understand the situation a little bit more. Being able to get one-yard, and I think it’s a combination of both. “

On the play-calling balance between run and pass plays…
“In the first 26 plays, we called 13 runs. Again, some of those are RPO’s based on the run box, like the first play of the game which was a 68-yard touchdown. We want to give Jake the ability to be able to see a bad run box and throw the ball outside. We had runs caught when Ty’Son [Williams] was in the game and some of those were RPO’s but we threw the ball on the perimeter. We’ve got to be able to create more situations just to run the football, and we will do that. We also don’t want to take the ball out of the hands of a guy that’s really a good player in Jake Bentley, making really good decisions down the field. (He’s) creating a lot of the explosive plays we have had on offense this year to date; in the first three games (a lot) have been through the RPO’s. A lot of those are called runs, but based on a bad box, we are throwing the football.”

On the issues running the ball and stopping the run on Saturday against Kentucky…
“As far as running the football, I think you give more guys touches and more opportunities will get better – better results in the running game. I think we have narrowed down a little bit some of things we can do well –blocks and certain looks during the game and narrow those things down. As far as stopping (Kentucky running back Benny) Snell, he had 32 carries for right at 100 yards which, is 3 yards a carry. That’s not bad against a good back. The disappointing part was as many positive runs as he had after contact. That was disappointing. He had a 12-yard run and a 10-yard run. They had 14 snaps from the Wildcat for 17 yards. That’s 1.2 yards a carry. That’s pretty good defensively. They had really 44 rushes – I’m talking total run plays – for 144 yards which is right at three yards a carry. Again, could we have been a little crisper tackling? Sure, but against a team that’s going to run 44 times and get three yards a carry, you’re going to take that going into the game.”

On the progress of the defense over last season…
“We are much improved from a year ago. Just look at us playing the run Saturday night opposed from a year ago, as far as playing blocks. Could we improve, absolutely. We need a lot of room for improvement. That was a much different running game that we’ve faced all year as far as the gap schemes are concerned and the concentration on being able to run the football. We have a lot of room for improvement. Certainly third down has been an issue. That is something we’ve got to improve on tremendously. Those are the things that I’ve looked at from a defensive standpoint of being able to get our offense in a rhythm and getting them the ball back. That is something we can certainly improve on defensively.”


On the timetable of Deebo Samuel’s return…
“We haven’t had any conversation with him or the medical staff right now. It’s a tough deal for him. Talking to him Saturday night after the game, I don’t think this is the appropriate time to address that right now. He is in the hospital and getting out right now I think as we speak. Certainly, we will address that moving forward, but I just don’t think it’s an appropriate time.”

On the replacement for Deebo Samuel in the kick return game…
“Right now Rashad Fenton is the kick returner and A.J. (Turner) will stay as the off returner. Rico (Dowdle) is a guy who can go back. Shi Smith is a guy who can go back. Ty’Son Williams can go back as an off returner. So, we have some options.”

On the team’s problems defensive on third down…
“I think on third down the other night, their quarterback’s legs obviously hurt us in a couple of situations. I think they did a nice job scheming us up on a speed sweep. They outflanked us on an 18-yard run by (Sihiem) King. Give them credit on that. He made a couple of throws here and there. I don’t know that it was one area that you would point your finger at and say ‘this is the issue; this is the problem.’ There are some things we need to tie up. And again, like we did in the run game, maybe there are some things there as far as what we’re doing. Our guys can play faster and make those plays in those situations.”

On the offensive line positions with Zack Bailey out for Saturday’s game…
“Right now Malik Young will play right tackle. Dennis (Daley) will stay at left tackle. Cory (Helms), Alan (Knott) and Donnell (Stanley) will stay inside. D.J. Park is a guy that can play across the board. Sadarius Hutcherson can do some different things for us as far as playing multiple spots. Blake Camper as well, so we’ve got some guys with some multiplicity.”

On the offensive line’s pass protection through three games…
“The other night, they dropped eight a good bit. They did a nice job, when they dropped seven, of matching some routes pretty well. They made Jake hold the ball a little bit longer than we wanted to a couple of times. We have to give them credit; they have scholarships too. When they have pressure, we’ve got a hat on a hat. We’re not always perfect, but we’ve gotten on the right guys. We haven’t cut guys loose, and we’re pretty pleased with the four-man rush stuff people have used against us.”


On Louisiana Tech’s offensive schemes and how the Gamecocks will play defense against them…
“They spread the field. They play with some tempo. They will mix tempos on you. The quarterback’s got good arm talent. He’s a guy that’s also got legs as well. They’ve got skill guys all over the place. They line them up in multiple spots. They do a nice job in the run game, as far as the one-back stuff that they do. Again, the numbers that Skip has put up since he’s been at Louisiana Tech are outstanding as far as his offensive numbers are concerned.”
Muschamp Press Conference – 9/19/17 – Week #4 – Louisiana Tech

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