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  1. Gamecocks are trending up. How far they’ll go in the SEC a hot topic July 19, 2018 The Southeastern Conference will release its media predictions for the 2018 season on Friday. Where South Carolina lands in those projections will be a mark of the Gamecocks’ progress and their perception entering Year 3 under Will Muschamp. Muschamp, South Carolina’s head coach, is pleased with the progress but cares little about the perception. “Goals and expectations are great, but if you don’t understand what it takes to attain those goals and you don’t understand the work and the everyday operation it’s going to take to be successful, then you’ll never achieve those things,” Muschamp said Thursday on the final day of SEC Media Days. “We’re a day-to-day organization. Right now, we’re trying to finish summer, and then we need to have a great training camp.” The Gamecocks finished second in the SEC East a year ago with a conference record of 5-3 to go along with an overall record of 9-4. Chances are, they’ll either be picked second or third in the East heading into this season. Defending conference champion and national runner-up Georgia is the clear favorite in the division with South Carolina and Florida jockeying for the next spot. I voted Georgia first, South Carolina second, Florida third, Kentucky fourth, Tennessee fifth, Missouri sixth and Vanderbilt seventh; but enough people might choose the Gators to give them the No. 2 spot. “I feel like we’re in a much better place right now than we were two years ago, obviously,” said Muschamp, referring to taking over a program that had finished 3-9 in the previous season. “I think we need to have a great training camp to have the type of season we want to have. Our goal does not change. It’s to win the East and win our state. We haven’t done that yet. We have made some progress, but we need to accomplish some things.” What those things could be this season Muschamp didn’t want to speculate, and it was clear he had passed that message on to the players who accompanied him to Atlanta as quarterback Jake Bentley, wide receiver Deebo Samuel and defensive end D.J. Wonnum all pointed toward training camp, which opens Aug. 3, and not beyond in the their media sessions. “I think it’s going to start with having a great training camp this year,” Bentley said (repeatedly), “having the right mindset, not the mindset that I’m tired or I’m sore but that it’s an opportunity to get better.” Muschamp pointed to the 2004 LSU national title team on which he was an assistant coach and other successful teams in his background to illustrate his point on the importance of the month of practice leading up to the Sept. 1 season-opener against Coastal Carolina. “They all had great training camps, and our guys are focused on training camp and having a great training camp,” he said. Of course, the media collected here wanted to talk about the Sept. 8 game against the Bulldogs that will establish the leader in the SEC East. “We know that game is looming, but the winner or loser of that game is not going to determine the East,” Muschamp said. “There’s a lot of football to be played after that game, regardless of the circumstances and the outcome of the game.” For the moment, there’s no football to be played, leaving us to wonder what everyone thinks about the Gamecocks heading into 2018 and how close it will be to reality of what is to come. THE STATE
  2. WATCH: Gamecocks field questions during final session of Media Days July 19, 2018 Jake Bentley during SEC Media Days Deebo Samuel during SEC Media Days D.J. Wonnum during SEC Media Days
  3. FeatheredCock

    2018 Opponent Preview: Georgia

    2018 Opponent Preview: Georgia July 19, 2018 armchairallamericans.com OPPONENT: Georgia Bulldogs WHEN: September 8, 2018 at 3:30 WHERE: Williams Brice Stadium (Columbia, SC) ALL-TIME SERIES RECORD: Georgia leads 50-18-2 LAST MEETING: Georgia beat South Carolina 24-10 on November 4, 2017 in Athens 2017 RECORD: Georgia finished last year 13-2 and 7-1 in the SEC. Head Coach… Kirby Smart is entering his third year and has an overall record of 17-5. Returning Starters… Georgia is returning 13 starters, with eight on offense and five on defense. How did they fare in 2017? In their 2017 campaign, Georgia had one of the best years in their program. In his second year, Kirby Smart led Georgia to a 13-2 record, which resulted from a division and conference win. Georgia also secured the two seed in the playoff where they defeated Oklahoma in a Rose Bowl thriller. They went on to lose against Alabama in the National Championship. Best Returning Player… QB Jake Fromm, Sophomore As a freshman, Fromm took the starting job from Jacob Eason and led the Bulldogs to the National Championship. In 2017, Fromm threw for 2,615 yards, 24 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. There’s a lot of speculation that incoming freshman Justin Fields will take the starting job, but it’s hard to imagine Fromm will lose his starting role. Overall Outlook… This game will have a huge impact on who wins the SEC East because this is the toughest conference game for South Carolina. Besides Georgia and Clemson, South Carolina’s schedule is favorable. If Deebo Samuel manages to stay healthy, the Gamecocks can surprise the college football world. A big home win against the national runner-ups for the Gamecocks early on will send shock-waves through the nation. If Georgia wins, they have a clear path back to the playoff. The ESPN FPI currently gives Georgia a 79.1 percent chance to beat South Carolina.
  4. Good news here Redshirt freshman safety Jaylin Dickerson, who missed all of last season with a shoulder issue, has been cleared for camp.
  5. SEC Network Schedule Analysis at Media Day — 7/19/18 Jake Bentley on Set at SEC Media Day — 7/19/18
  6. How Jake Bentley handled the inevitable NFL question at SEC Media Days plus Deebo is back, and in style: ‘I’m capable of anything’ July 19, 2018 ATLANTA - The question was almost assured to be posed to South Carolina quarterback Jake Bentley at SEC Media Days on Thursday. It ended up being more detailed than most, asking what he thought he had to do, specifically in the Gamecocks biggest games, to put himself in position to leave for the NFL draft in 2019. The coach’s son fell back on the words of coach Will Muschamp. “Thing that coach Muschamp preaches is to be where your feet are,” Bentley said. “That just means, wherever you’re at, put all your focus and attention on that.” He added he tries not to look at that aspect at all. He’ll have that choice to make at year’s end, simply because of his build and style. He looks and seems like an NFL pocket QB: tall, good arm, good understanding of the game and a little mobility to boot. But he’s also got mechanical and footwork adjustments to make, a topic that’s been well-documented. Coming off a promising freshman season, he posted 2,794 yards, 18 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Those are solid numbers, but not the kind that scream “head off to the NFL.” That hasn’t stopped a few projections from pegging him as a first-round pick. If he finds his groove in Bryan McClendon’s new offense, he could put up numbers and perhaps show what’s needed to make that jump. But for the moment, that’s not where his feet are. “I’m really just not trying to focus on anything next level,” Bentley said. “Really just trying to do whatever I can to win games for our team this year.” Deebo is back, and in style: ‘I’m capable of anything’ July 19, 2018 ATLANTA - It will be difficult for Deebo Samuel to match the start he had to last season — six touchdowns and 450 all-purpose yards in 11 quarters of football. Still, that’s exactly what South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp expects from his senior wide receiver. “Absolutely, that’s what I’m expecting,” Will Muschamp said Thursday at SEC Media Days. “Last year, he was probably as electric and explosive player as there was in college football. That’s certainly our expectation.” Samuel re-introduced himself to the SEC on Thursday as one of three Gamecocks players traveling with Muschamp for a four-hour round of interviews. He did so, as usual, in style. The 6-foot, 210-pound Chapman native wore a white suit with glossy floral patterning, bright white shoes, black pants and a black bow tie, and was awarded the mythical “best dressed” of the week award by several media members. “I would think so,” Samuel said. When Samuel, who suffered a season-ending broken leg in the third game of the 2017 season, returns to the actual football field, most expect him to do it in similar high fashion. “It changes everything for South Carolina’s offense,” CBS Sports analyst Barrett Sallee said. “It gives you a security blanket,” former Georgia quarterback and current SEC Network analyst D.J. Shockley said. “He’s a guy who changes the mind frame of a quarterback, knowing, ‘If I get in trouble, I just have to find Deebo. He’s going to find away for me.’ ” In his career, he has 86 catches for 1,194 yards and five touchdowns, 17 carries for 128 yards and seven touchdowns and 19 kick returns for 649 yards and three touchdowns. Losing Samuel last year “took a toll on our whole team,” South Carolina quarterback Jake Bentley said. “To have him back out there, you can see the guy’s confidence in him,” Bentley said. “Obviously, I’m going to say my receiver is the best (in the SEC). That’s the kind of attitude you have to have as quarterbacks and receivers.” It’s the kind of attitude Samuel has about himself. On Thursday, he proclaimed himself 100 percent healthy and ready for whatever load the coaching staff puts on him during preseason camp and during the season. “I just pray that God keeps me healthy this whole season and whatever happens, happens,” he said. “I’m capable of anything.”
  7. Nine top Muschamp moments from 2018 SEC Media Days July 19, 2018 South Carolina football finally got its moment in the spotlight at SEC Media Days on Thursday, as coach Will Muschamp and three players spoke with the press in Atlanta at the College Football Hall of Fame. The Gamecocks were the last team to appear at the unofficial opening event of the season, and Muschamp offered his opinions, analysis, jokes and perspective on a wide range of topics. Here are some of the best moments. Fashion choices Muschamp had an answer locked and loaded when asked why he always wears all black on the sidelines during games. “I look skinnier. It’s true. I need it,” he said, to laughs. “I need all the help I can get. (Men’s basketball coach) Frank Martin tells me to wear loose shirts, but I can’t untuck my shirt on gameday. That wouldn’t look very good.” Recruiting Georgia hard This is the first time the SEC football media days have been held outside the state of Alabama, and Muschamp took the opportunity to highlight the job he and his coaching staff have done to raid South Carolina’s neighboring state for talent. “It’s great to be in Atlanta. We have 24 players from the state of Georgia on our roster. We have 16 from the Atlanta area. We made it a priority when we came to South Carolina to recruit the state of Georgia. Those guys are thriving at our place. It’s a three-hour ride from Atlanta to Columbia, and it’s amazing, those guys come to our place and say what a wonderful place it is,” Muschamp said. Chocolate cake and blitzes? When asked about the overall quality of quarterbacks in the SEC, Muschamp spoke about the depth of signal callers across the league and also pointed out that as more offenses use run-pass options (RPOs), his defense will need to play man-to-man coverage and get more pressure without blitzing extra defenders. That led to an interesting analogy. “We need to rush four guys better,” Muschamp said. “We need to be able to affect the quarterback with rushing four guys, because you can’t get into a pressure deal all the time in playing man coverage. Too much chocolate cake will make you sick, and that will dang sure make you sick.” Deebo unchained Muschamp is not tamping down expectations for USC star receiver Deebo Samuel, even as he comes back from injury. Muschamp said he fully expects Samuel to come back and play at a high level right away. “Deebo for 11 quarters last year was probably the most explosive player in college football, so we’re looking forward to giving him the ball a bunch and him having a healthy senior season,” Muschamp said. As for the team’s plans on special teams, where Samuel will serve as kick returner? “We don’t plan on fair-catching any.” Lake wars Muschamp couldn’t pass up another opportunity to rib Alabama coach Nick Saban for getting stranded on a lake with some of his players. It was originally reported that Saban’s boat ran out of gas, but he told media members Wednesday that it was an issue with the engine. That didn’t stop Muschamp when he was asked about his summer vacations. “We always have a good time (at the lake),” he said. “We didn’t run out of gas or anything. It was awesome. ... I’m not buying (Saban’s) bypass line.” He also explained why those trips to the lake are good for the players. “I think more than anything it’s important for them to see myself and our staff not as coaches, but as husbands, as fathers,” Muschamp said. “At the end of the day, if they understand that you really care about them, they’re going to play harder for you.” THE STATE
  8. #SEC Media Days 2018: Mason thinks best is ahead for Vanderbilt (AUDIO) JULY 19, 2018 BY PHIL KORNBLUT Derek Mason likes his team and the additions he made to his staff USC has what appears to be a favorable SEC schedule for 2018. The Gamecocks will host Georgia, Texas A&M, Missouri and Tennessee and will travel to Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Ole Miss and Florida. We’re previewing the Gamecocks’ SEC opponents from Media Days 2018 in Atlanta. Here’s a look at Vanderbilt which just finished out of the bowl picture last season with a 5-7 record. Head Coach: Derek Mason (5th season, 18-31, 6-26 SEC) 2017 record: 5-7 SEC record: 1-7 Postseason: None Returning Starters: 8 offense 4 defense 0 specialist Top returners on offense: QB Kyle Shurmur (2823-26-10); WR Kalija Lipscomb (37-610-8) Top returners on defense: SAF LaDarius Wiley (88 TT 5 PBU), LB Charles Wright (43 TT, 10.5 TFL, 9 SKS) The USC game: September 22nd in Nashville Mason gives his preview of the Commodores
  9. #SEC Media Days: Gamecock players express confidence about upcoming season (AUDIO) JULY 19, 2018 BY PHIL KORNBLUT Jake Bentley is ready to take his place among the nation’s elite quarterbacks Quarterback Jake Bentley, receiver Deebo Samuel and defensive end DJ Wonnum, three of the best players USC has to offer on this year’s team, represented their teammates Thursday at SEC Media Days in Atlanta. Each should receive strong consideration for a sport on the pre-season All-SEC team to be announced Friday. Here’s what they had to say as they made a stop in the electronic media room as part of their run thru the media. Jake Bentley (2794 YDS 18 TDS 12 INTS 62.2%) Deebo Samuel is ready to return to the field after broken leg last season Deebo Samuel (86 career receptions, 1194 YDS, 15 TDS) DJ Wonnum should be one of the SEC’s best defensive ends this season DJ Wonnum (57 TT,  13 TFL, 6 SKS)
  10. FeatheredCock

    Samuel named to Biletnikoff Watch List

    Samuel named to Biletnikoff Watch List July 19, 2018 COLUMBIA, S.C. – University of South Carolina senior Deebo Samuel has been named to the 2018 preseason watch list for the Biletnikoff Award, which honors college football’s outstanding receiver, the Tallahassee Quarterback Club (TQC) Foundation announced today.Any player, regardless of position (wide receiver, tight end, slot back, and running back) who catches a pass is eligible for the award. As such, the Biletnikoff Award recognizes college football's outstanding receiver, not merely college football's outstanding wide receiver. The award recipient is selected by the highly distinguished Biletnikoff Award National Selection Committee, a group of prominent college football journalists, commentators, announcers, Biletnikoff Award winners, and other former receivers.Samuel, a 6-0, 210-pounder from Inman, S.C., is one of the most electrifying players in college football. He owns 86 career receptions for 1,194 yards and has scored 15 career touchdowns - seven on the ground, five receiving and three via kickoff return. Samuel is the school’s record-holder in kick returns for touchdowns.Receivers are periodically added to the watch list as their season performances dictate. Actual, not potential, performance is the basis for inclusion on the Biletnikoff Award Watch List.The 2018 Biletnikoff Award winner will be presented live on December 6, 2018, on The Home Depot College Football Awards presented by Gildan to be broadcast 7:00 - 9:00pm (EST) on ESPN. College and pro football hall of famer Fred Biletnikoff will announce the 2018 Biletnikoff Award winner on the show.The 2018 Biletnikoff Award winner will be presented the Biletnikoff Award trophy by college and pro football hall of famer Fred Biletnikoff and keynoter & 1993 Lombardi Award and Jim Parker Award winner Aaron Taylor before 550 patrons at the Biletnikoff Award Banquet at the University Center Club at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee on Saturday, February 16, 2019.The Tallahassee Quarterback Club Foundation, Inc., will announce the ten Biletnikoff Award semifinalists on November 12, 2018, following the vote by the distinguished members of the Biletnikoff Award National Selection Committee. Likewise, the three finalists will be declared, following another vote, on November 20, 2018.The name Biletnikoff is synonymous with the term receiver. Fred Biletnikoff, a member of the pro and college football halls of fame, was a consensus All-America receiver at Florida State University, and an All-Pro receiver for the Oakland Raiders. He caught 589 passes for 8,974 yards and 76 touchdowns in his 14-year Raiders career from 1965 through 1978
  11. FB: Will Muschamp SEC Media Day News Conference Transcript & Video Will Muschamp SEC Media Day News Conference — 7/18/18 FB: Will Muschamp SEC Media Day July 19, 2018
  12. SEC coach on USC assistant: ‘He’ll be a coordinator and head coach in this league’ July 19, 2018 LinkedIn Google+ Pinterest Reddit Print Order Reprint of this Story Gus Malzahn gave Bobby Bentley his first big break with an SEC program. Now the Auburn coach sees bigger things for South Carolina’s running backs coach. “He’ll be a coordinator and head coach in this league,” Malzahn said at SEC Media Days. Bentley was brought on by Malzahn as an analyst in 2014. After two years, Bentley made the jump to position coach at USC. But that was after a dominant run as a high school coach at Byrnes, where he built a dynasty and won for consecutive state titles. It was that high school background that first connected the two men, as Byrnes faced Malzahn’s Springdale team in 7-on-7 events. “We just developed a good relationship and I just felt like he had a good chance of being a big-time coach in college,” Malzahn said. “When I first got here in 2013, I really tried to make an effort to get more good guys in college football. He was one of the guys that I felt real strong about could get to college football and be successful. That would get to college football, make a difference in kids’ lives. Take the business side out.” Bentley had been head coach at Presbyterian for two seasons, and then returned to Byrnes as offensive coordinator and then a short stint as head coach. This season, USC returns a deep and experienced backfield looking for better production. With Bentley living in Auburn, it meant his son Jake, now South Carolina’s quarterback, was playing out his high school football career in town. Jake Bentley jumped to the college level, eschewing his senior year, so he, like his father, went right from Auburn to the Gamecocks. “Jake, he’s a phenomenal player,” Malzahn said. “Very proud to watch him and that he’s successful. Read more here: https://www.thestate.com/sports/college/university-of-south-carolina/usc-football/article215156115.html#storylink=cpy
  13. South Carolina’s Will Muschamp speaks on Javon Charleston situation July 19, 2018 It wasn’t a surprise South Carolina football coach Will Muschamp would get asked about suspended defensive back Javon Charleston on Thursday as SEC Media Days. And it wasn’t much of a surprise how he answered. “He’s still suspended at this time,” Muschamp said. “And I don’t have any other comment.” Charleston was arrested on assault and burglary charges after an altercation involving a former girlfriend. The girlfriend has since spoken out about the situation, saying she wants the charges dropped. Charleston was a walk-on receiver who moved to defense and earned a scholarship. He grew into a special teams ace last season.
  14. Will Muschamp gives an update on South Carolina’s injuries heading into camp July 19, 2018 South Carolina football coach Will Muschamp updated his team’s injury situation heading into fall camp at SEC Media Days. -Tailback Lavonte Valentine should be cleared during camp after missing the spring while recovering from a torn ACL. -Wide receiver Chad Terrell, who tore his ACL in the spring, is on schedule to return in late September or early October. -Defensive tackle Jabari Ellis had his knee scoped, a minor procedure. -Grad transfer safety J.T. Ibe had a hip procedure in the spring and should be cleared for camp. - Redshirt freshman safety Jaylin Dickerson, who missed all of last season with a shoulder issue, has been cleared for camp.
  15. Missouri quarterback remembers Williams-Brice water bottle, has plan for 2018 game July 18, 2018 ATLANTA - The last time Drew Lock played in Williams-Brice Stadium, a fan threw a water bottle toward him on the field. He’s expecting more on Oct. 6 when his Missouri Tigers return to play South Carolina. “I picked it up and drank it on the field,” Missouri’s senior quarterback said on the third day of SEC Media Days. “That was frowned upon after I did it. It was water. I’ve been asked about that. I’m never going to do that again. I’ll just pile them up next to me because I assume I’ll get more thrown at me.” Lock is 1-2 in his career against the Gamecocks, winning his true freshman season in Columbia, Mo., and then losing 31-21 in the water bottle game and 31-13 last year. The player who some consider the top NFL Draft prospect at the position in the country didn’t seem to have any ill will about the water bottle incident. “South Carolina is a great place to play,” he said.

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