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  1. Will Muschamp has answer to tackling troubles, it’s a stark one November 15, 2018 THE STATE Almost every week of the season, South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp has been asked at some point why his Gamecocks defenders aren’t tackling better. Many of those weeks, he’s asking himself the same question. “I think tackling is a lot of want to,” Muschamp said this week after what was the low point of his team’s tackling for the season, a 35-31 loss to Florida. “You’ve got to really want to throw your face in the fan and enjoy it, and we’ve got to continue to recruit to that.” Until the Gamecocks do “recruit to that,” Muschamp will keep harping on the technical details of bringing a ball carrier to the ground against his will. “A lot of it is focused on tracking the near hip, wrapping up, running your feet, getting back square to drive them back instead of getting more yards,” junior linebacker T.J. Brunson said. The Gamecocks talk about tackling with clinical precision. They have executed it much less efficiently, and that’s a big reason South Carolina’s defense is ranked 12th in the SEC in both points (28.7 per game) and yards (418.3 per game) allowed. “It’s always fundamental every single time we go through it,” Brunson said. “It’s always the same thing, always the fundamentals first, always back to the basics. Guys in our league you can’t butt them down, you have to wrap up, you have to bring your body and put your body on them and wrap up.” South Carolina’s linebackers and safeties in particular haven’t done a good job of that this season, Muschamp said. “We’re a little banged up at the safety position, and we haven’t been as productive at the linebacker position as we would have liked to be, just quite frankly,” he said. “I think those two positions have really hurt us as far as explosive plays. I think you go back to last year, (safeties) Chris Lammons and D.J. Smith were both very good tacklers. When the ball did hit the second level in a lot of those situations, the ball was on the ground. From a standpoint of a six- or eight-yard gain, as opposed to a 20-yard gain and an explosive run.” The Gamecocks’ focus on forcing turnovers is not to blame for the poor tackling, Brunson said. “It’s always, first man in wrap up, second man in come get the ball,” he said. “If you have a guy wrapped up and you have an opportunity to get the ball, you can go for it, but at the end of the day you have to wrap up and bring them down to the ground.” However, Muschamp said that has been a factor in times. “We do sometimes make mistakes, as far as sometimes trying to create a turnover instead of securing the tackle,” he said. In truth, everything has been a factor at times, and the cumulative result of all those factors has made it impossible for the Gamecocks to play effective defense this season. “I think things have kind of snowballed on us,” Muschamp said. “There a combination of things that have affected the tackling and obviously we continue to work on them.” And have to talk about them.
  2. FeatheredCock

    UTC coach Tom Arth with audio

    UTC coach Tom Arth (AUDIO) NOVEMBER 15, 2018 BY PHIL KORNBLUT First year UTC coach Tom Arth would love to end season with upset of USC UTC is the “money game” opponent for USC this Saturday night in Columbia. The Mocs have been a recent power in the Southern Conference winning or sharing the league championship from 2013-15. They have a first year head coach in Tom Arth and have suffered several close losses on their way to a 6-4 record, 4-4 in the SOCON. Earlier this week Arth talked with the media in Chattanooga about coming to Columbia to face an SEC opponent in the Gamecocks. UTC coach Tom Arth
  3. South Carolina’s quarterback terrorizing duo that never really was November 15, 2018 Maybe one just has to chalk it up to bad luck for South Carolina’s Bryson Allen-Williams and D.J. Wonnum. At the start of this football season, the duo didn’t even get a full game together before Wonnum hurt his foot. He returned for the Tennessee game, and Allen-Williams made it nearly two full games before an ankle injury against Ole Miss prompted surgery before the Florida game that will keep him out until the bowl. Thus, what had the potential to be a fearsome pass rush and edge-setting duo will end the season having hardly played with one another. “We talked about it a while ago,” Wonnum said. “We never get to be on the field at the same time. “Things happen for a reason.” In the preseason, they looked like two anchors for a defense that had to reload at some spots. Wonnum was coming off a breakout season in his first year as a starter. Allen-Williams was starting his second senior year, as a shoulder injury in USC’s third 2017 game ended his season early. There was talk of two veteran edge guys each providing a steady presence. The pair even worked off each other, with each able to play two positions, so Allen Williams could slide from linebacker to Buck pass rusher against spread teams and Wonnum could go from Buck to end. “That’s disappointing,” middle linebacker T.J. Brunson said about how things played out. “Especially having two guys like that that can get to the quarterback, it’s definitely not ideal to not have those guys at the same time.” When Wonnum was out, Allen-Williams stepped into his role. At 230 pounds, he did his best at the Buck defensive end position. It capped a winding journey for the Georgia product. He came to USC as a four-star prospect, but couldn’t find a role in his first two seasons, bouncing between defensive line and linebacker. As a junior, he was forced to play inside linebacker because of injury, but the past two years found his ideal home in the hybrid ‘backer/end role. Allen-Williams has 36 tackles, 10 for loss, a pair of sacks and five QB hurries. “Just thinking in terms of last night, kind of our seniors, Bryson is guy who is really special to me,” Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp said. “A guy I’ve known for a long time, (from) Cedar Grove High School. Had a very difficult junior season, was supposed to be his senior season last year with the labrum and having the surgery. “To have the ankle injury, and hopefully we will get him back for the bowl game. We appreciate everything he has done for us, but he and D.J. are both guys who in training camp looked really good on the edges.” This season, the Gamecocks pass rush hasn’t been as bad as in past years, but still not near the average nationally. But the defense as a whole has taken its share of injuries. Without Allen-Williams, the likes of Shameik Blackshear, Brad Johnson, Daniel Fennell and others will have to step up. Keir Thomas can also help at the bigger end spot, but USC is looking thinner on the outside with Aaron Sterling also hurt. Teammates said despite Allen-Williams’ second setback in as many seasons, if he’s down about it, he’s not showing it. They described him as someone who always had an upbeat outlook, even in the face of setback. Wonnum said when he was hurt, he turned to Allen-Williams to help him keep his mind right and keep focused. “I’m definitely sure he’s down,” Brunson said. “But he’s in a chipper mood a lot of the time. He’s one of those guys who is always looking forward to whatever is coming back.”
  4. South Carolina linebacker production statistics are alarming November 15, 2018 Ideally, linebackers should play between 50 and 60 snaps during a college football game. South Carolina junior T.J. Brunson played 83 against Florida last week. “We have been disappointed with the overall production (of the young linebackers), but I think Damani (Staley) has played well at times,” Gamecocks head coach Will Muschamp said. “Rosendo Louis and Ernest Jones both are guys we need to step up and give us more confidence to play them. They are certainly capable of doing that.” Their inability to do that nine games into the season has hamstrung a South Carolina defense that knew it had depth issues on defense entering the season. The Gamecocks (5-4) play Chattanooga on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in Williams-Brice Stadium. Louis was considered one of the jewels of the Gamecocks last signing class. The Deerfield Beach, Fla., native was considered one of the nation’s top 25 middle linebacker prospects and South Carolina talked him out of a verbal commitment to Florida State to come play for the Gamecocks. Louis enrolled early and participated in spring practice and was made Brunson’s understudy immediately. So far, he’s played in four games and totaled seven tackles. Jones, a fellow true freshman, has played in one game and has one tackle. Senior reserve Eldridge Thompson has been limited to three games by a shoulder injury. Junior Daniel Fennell, and Staley, a sophomore who is the son of former South Carolina star Duce Staley, are the only backup linebackers to offer much help at all this season. Fennell has 24 stops, and Staley has 13 tackles. Staley backs up Sherrod Greene at the weakside linebacker spot. Getting a young player ready to handle the middle linebacker role that Brunson plays is tougher, Muschamp said. “It’s hard at that position,” he said. “There is a lot going in the run game. You’re tied into the pass game as well. There is a lot of mental gymnastics going on at that position. You have to do a lot of things in our defense in the Mike position. We have tried to limit that with (the freshmen) in there.” The Gamecocks have played seven linebackers this year, but Brunson and Greene are doing almost all the heavy lifting. Brunson leads the team with 80 tackles, and Greene is third with 52. The other seven USC linebackers have a combined 50 tackles this season. Playing every snap against the Gators “was not too bad,” Brunson said, but Muschamp pointed out that his entire defense wore down in the fourth quarter of that game. “I’m sure it did,” Brunson admitted. “Running to the ball kind of conditions your body to play every snap so I didn’t notice too bad.”
  5. With Clemson looming, Gamecocks focus will be tested against Mocs November 14, 2018 THE STATE The South Carolina football team’s unofficial motto for the 2018 season – “Every week’s a season” – is getting its firmest test of that season this week. The Gamecocks (5-4) face FCS Chattanooga on Saturday night in Williams-Brice Stadium. The Mocs are coming off back-to-back losses to Furman and Mercer. Under any circumstances, this would be a difficult game for a coach to get his team to take very seriously, and South Carolina isn’t in normal circumstances. The Gamecocks are coming off their most disappointing loss of the season, a 35-31 defeat at Florida in which the led by 17 points with 16 minutes remaining, and face archrival and No. 2 Clemson next week. “Honestly, we haven’t even thought about Clemson,” South Carolina senior Zack Bailey said. “It hasn’t been something we’ve talked about. We are really focused on Chattanooga.” That’s a variation of what players all across the SEC are saying this week. In recent years, most of the team’s in the league have taken to scheduling lesser opponents in the next-to-last game of the season as a way to be better prepared for traditional rivalry games at the end of the year. A sampling of the week’s league slate: Citadel at Alabama, Idaho at Florida, Liberty at Auburn, UMass at Georgia and UAB at Texas A&M. The price coaches pay for that strategy is being asked annually if it’s difficult to get their players to focus on games like the one South Carolina will play. “I don’t think so,” Gamecocks head coach Will Muschamp said. “I think our guys are very mature to understand that it’s about our preparation this week. I really always challenge our guys and, to me, each week as a player, as a coach, you make a decision about your effort, about your energy, about your effort, your toughness, your discipline, each week, to bring it on Tuesday. And I thought we had a very good practice, a good tempo of practice (Tuesday).” This will be South Carolina’s first meeting with Chattanooga, while next week it will play its most bitter rivals. The Tigers lead the all-time series 69-42-4 and are on a four-game winning streak. “Every week’s a season,” South Carolina linebacker T.J. Brunson, falling back on the words Muschamp gave his team to begin the year. “We never look ahead on the schedule. It’s just whoever we have next. We prepare for every team like we prepare for everybody so it doesn’t really matter.” Muschamp is happy to hear his player regurgitating his words. He’ll be even happier if he sees them play like they believe them against the Mocs. He believes they will. “Our guys understand, it’s not really about the opponent, and regardless of who we play, it’s about us and our preparation and how we go about our business, because it’s really our mindset each week,” Muschamp said. “We can’t control who we play or where we play or what time. At the end of the day, we can control what we do, and that’s our preparation. And that’s every week for us.”
  6. How much are the Gamecocks favored by this weekend? Try more than four touchdowns November 14, 2018 The line for South Carolina’s tilt at Williams-Brice Stadium this weekend against Chattanooga out of the FCS was always going to be a large one. But even by those standards, Las Vegas expects the Gamecocks to roll. USC opened as a 30-point favorite and it was up to 30 1/2 by late Tuesday night. That, combined with an over/under of 80 means there’s an expectation for plenty of points, likely enough USC fans could see freshmen such as Dakereon Joyner for most of the fourth, if not during the third quarter. The Gamecocks won their opener against Coastal Carolina by 34, which stands as the program’s biggest win since topping the Chanticleers by 60 in 2013. This year the Gamecocks are 5-4 against the spread and just covered in a four-point loss to Florida. The Mocs are 5-5 against the spread. It’s the first meeting between the teams. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.
  7. Some Gamecocks struggling to get over Florida loss November 13, 2018 THE STATE South Carolina’s football players are breaking one of the sport’s longest-standing, unwritten rules, but they can hardly help it. The 24-hour rule is common football player vernacular for the idea that players and teams get one day to feel good about a victory or bad about a loss before fully shifting their attention to the next game, but nearly 72 hours after the Gamecocks blew a 17-point lead and lost 35-31 to Florida, several South Carolina players still can’t shake it. “I think it gnaws at us. It gnaws at everybody,” senior offensive lineman Zack Bailey said. “It was a game we thought we had and were going good in. I don’t know what happened in the end, so it gnaws at us and kind of fuels us as well.” There was plenty at stake for the Gamecocks last week in Gainesville, Fla., chiefly the ability to finish with a winning record in the SEC. When they led the Gators by 17 with 16 minutes remaining, they appeared on their way to doing just that. Instead, Florida scored 21 straight points to end the game. Bailey was still thinking about it when he took the practice field Tuesday morning. “It’s something that burrs inside of you so when you go to practice, it might mean a little more, might be more focus on the details,” he said. The Gamecocks (5-4) take on Chattanooga on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in Williams-Brice Stadium. When South Carolina’s players met with the media Tuesday to discuss that game, more of the questions swirled around the last one. “It definitely hurts,” junior middle linebacker T.J. Brunson said. “You feel like you’re in a good spot to win the game and then you don’t win it. After the game you are reflecting on everything that went wrong. Even if it’s something that seems small, it always seems really big after the game. You look at yourself and see what you could have done better to help your team win and see that you maybe didn’t finish on a few plays. You just think about all the work you put into it and wish you had brought it that day the whole time.” Head coach Will Muschamp is willing to forgive his players for lingering on the Florida game if it increases the attention to detail this week. “There’s always teachable moments and it’s certainly easier to teach, unfortunately, after a very difficult loss,” he said. “Our guys understand that those games are probably going to come down to three or four or five plays in the fourth quarter that determine the game. We talk about it all the time and we’ve been on the winning side of that a bunch. As coaches, we’ve got to put our guys in positions to be successful and players have got to execute in those times. So, I think, more than anything that’s what (Bailey) is referring to.” South Carolina is 12-5 in games decided by seven or fewer points during Muschamp’s tenure. “I think that as quarterback more than maybe any other position you have to let go of a win or a loss very quickly,” Gamecocks quarterback Jake Bentley said. “We had to be on to Chattanooga on Sunday. I am past the Florida game and really just focused on Chattanooga.”
  8. Will Muschamp was asked about bringing DJ Durkin to Columbia. How he answered November 13, 2018 THE STATE Will Muschamp and DJ Durkin are friends and former coworkers, and South Carolina’s football coach has previously defended Durkin in the wake of disturbing allegations made against his program at Maryland. But now Durkin has been fired from Maryland after an internal review in the wake of player Jordan McNair’s death concluded that Durkin presided over a culture where players were afraid to speak out about abuses by members of the coaching staff. And Muschamp, who, before the review was released, blasted anonymous sources criticizing Durkin as “gutless,”publicly declined to say whether or not he would hire Durkin on his staff at USC if there was an opening. “I’m not going to get into hypotheticals,” Muschamp said in response to the question at his Tuesday press conference. “Yeah, he’s a very good friend, he’s been through a very difficult situation. It’s a tragic situation for everybody involved, stating with the McNair family and what they’ve been through. It’s just a tragic situation, I don’t know any other way to say it. But I don’t deal in hypotheticals.” Muschamp’s initial comments defending Durkin, who was his assistant and then defensive coordinator at Florida for four years, came in August, after an ESPN report detailed allegations of a toxic culture at Maryland. They were criticized by some who felt Muschamp was discrediting the allegations without considering the fear of retribution the anonymous sources faced. Shortly after that, Muschamp seemed to walk back his statement slightly, expressing sympathy for the family of McNair, who died of heat stroke in May during a team workout, and saying he was defending Durkin as a friend who had trouble believing the allegations of abuse. The question of when or even if Durkin will coach again is still very much up in the air — Kansas athletic director Jeff Long quickly shot down rumors that his school discussed its coaching vacancy with him. Of course, South Carolina does not have any openings at the moment that Durkin could fill — all of the Gamecocks’ defensive coaches have been with the program since 2016 or earlier — though Alabama head coach Nick Saban, Muschamp’s former boss, has helped several coaches looking to rebound from personal and professional setbacks by hiring them as analysts who can help game plan and break down film but can’t coach on the field or recruit.
  9. South Carolina football roster moves: Which veterans are looking to stay or go November 13, 2018 South Carolina football released the group of 20 players who will walk on senior day before the Chattanooga game. A few players who still have eligibility potential will walk or are seniors and won’t, and Will Muschamp explained the situation for all of them. ▪ Grad transfer Nick Harvey: Will not walk. The school has applied for him to get a sixth season, after concussions sidelined him most of this year. The school has not heard back about it. ▪ Linebacker Eldridge Thompson: The junior college transfer will walk, as his family had made plans to be here, but the staff has also applied for a sixth year for him. He hurt his shoulder and was lost for the season. ▪ Center Donell Stanley: He is a fifth-year junior and he will walk. He hasn’t made a decision on if he will come back. ▪ Offensive lineman Christian Pellage: The fourth-year junior will walk and end his time with the team.
  10. Here’s what Will Muschamp thinks of Gamecocks play-calling after watching tape November 11, 2018 THE STATE After watching tape from the Florida game, Muschamp defended the Gamecocks fourth quarter play-calling. South Carolina had 363 yards and 31 points in the first half but gained only 23 yards and scored no points in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Jake Bentley attempted only three passes in the fourth quarter and did not complete any of them, however that was a function of the Gamecocks’ RPO (run-pass option) system and not offensive coordinator Bryan McClendon’s play-calling. On two of South Carolina’s final three possessions of the game, five of the seven running plays were RPOs on which Bentley chose the running play because of the number of players the Gators had devoted to stop the passing game. “There have been some questions about the play-calling offensively there late. There was never any conversation about changing what we had been doing. The only conversation was to keep doing what we had been doing,” Muschamp said. “There’s nothing we did different in the second half. It’s all based on results. We didn’t get the results we wanted.” The RPOs worked well in the first half, including on two third downs in which the Gamecocks converted with running plays. “I was pleased with the decisions Jake made based on the run box,” said Muschamp, who also praised the work of offensive coordinator Bryan McClendon. The Gamecocks are sixth in the SEC in yards after Saturday’s game, averaging 410.7 points per game. They are tied for fifth in the conference in scoring with 31 points per game. “Offensively, I thought we played well,” Muschamp said. “We were very successful in our RPO game. Our quick game was very good.”
  11. Did the Gamecocks take a step forward or one step back after the very disappointing loss to Florida? By Henry Fusco November 12, 2018 Gamecock will go bowling should be 6-4 going into the Clemson game. But really Clemson game will be the last chance for the Gamecocks have to but a positive spin on the season by beating Clemson. (MORE)
  12. Scouting South Carolina’s next opponent: Chattanooga November 11, 2018 Chattanooga (6-4, 4-4 Southern Conference) at (South Carolina (5-4, 4-4 SEC) When: 7:30 p.m. Where: Williams-Brice Stadium TV: SEC Network Alternate Three storylines 1. The Gamecocks missed a golden opportunity to clinch bowl eligibility — and a winning SEC record — at Florida. Blowing the 17-point second half lead against the Gators means Carolina is down to three opportunities to get back in the postseason. Simple goal: Beating one of Chattanooga, Clemson or Akron to become bowl-eligible for a third consecutive season, something that’s only happened once before in USC history. Tougher goal: Winning all three games and matching last year’s regular season win total. 2. The opponent — an FCS team coming off consecutive losses to Furman and Mercer — shouldn’t represent all that stiff of a challenge, but it’s still a game the Gamecocks want to use to shore up several things, most notably the defense. USC has given up a combined 1,144 yards of offense over its last two games. The unit, crushed by injury, gets Clemson — the nation’s ninth-ranked offense — in less than two weeks. 3. South Carolina is 7-1 against FCS opponents in this Week 12/pre-Clemson slot since 2010. The only loss, of course, came Nov. 21, 2015, against The Citadel as Shawn Elliott was playing out his tenure as USC’s interim coach. On this weekend in 2013, Will Muschamp’s Florida Gators lost to Georgia Southern. This game marks Chattanooga’s first against an SEC team since falling to LSU by 35 last season. Three Chattanooga players to watch 1. Chattanooga receiver Bryce Nunnelly set a program record earlier this season when he recorded four 100-yard receiving games. in a row The 6-foot-2, 190-pound sophomore has made 74 catches for 1,096 yards and seven touchdowns in 2018. 2. Quarterback Nick Tiano threw for 300-plus yards in consecutive games earlier this season. That was a first by a Moc since B.J. Coleman in 2010. Tiano, a 6-5, 240-pound junior, is a former three-star prospect who began his career at Mississippi State. He appeared in six games as a Bulldog freshman in 2016. 3. Chattanooga entered last weekend 12th in the FCS in scoring defense and 10th in turnover margin. Linebacker Marshall Cooper is at the heart of the Mocs’ defensive unit. He leads the team with 89 tackles. He’s also forced a couple fumbles and has an interception.
  13. Gamecocks start fast, fall short in The Swamp 35-31 November 10, 2018 Will Muschamp’s struggles at The Swamp continued on Saturday. South Carolina lost an 18-point second half lead and fell to No. 19 Florida 35-31 in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, where Muschamp previously served as the Gators head coach. The Gamecocks lead 31-14 after Rico Dowdle scored on a 4-yard run with 4:41 left in the third quarter, and South Carolina still led by 18 points with 16 minutes left in the game. However, the Gators scored 21 unanswered from that point. Florida rushed for 368 yards and scored all five of its touchdowns on the ground against a Gamecocks defense ranked 12th in the SEC against the run. It was the most yards rushing allowed by the Gamecocks since LSU gained 396 on the ground in 2015, Steve Spurrier’s final game as the South Carolina head coach. For the first three quarters, the game belonged to the Gamecocks who were looking to snap an eight-game losing streak against ranked teams. Muschamp has now lost eight of his last 10 games as a head coach in The Swamp. His last SEC victory in Gainesville came on Sept. 13, 2014, in a 36-30 overtime win over Kentucky. THREE POINTS Star of the game: South Carolina senior wide receiver Deebo Samuel finished with 201 all-purpose yards, including the longest reception of his career, an 89-yard gain that set up the Gamecocks’ fourth touchdown of the game. Samuel also recovered a Florida punt while playing the gunner position on the punt team. Play of the game: After South Carolina had stopped Florida on three plays from the 2-yard line, Gators quarterback Feleipe Franks scored on a 1-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-goal to give Florida its first lead of the game at 35-31 with 4:09 left. Stat of the game: The Gamecocks and Gators were a combined 14-of-21 on third down in the first half. OBSERVATIONS Allen-Williams, Sterling out: Defensive ends Bryson Allen-Williams and Aaron Sterling did not make the trip to Florida due to injuries. Allen-Williams suffered an ankle injury against Ole Miss, and Sterling suffered a knee injury. Head coach Will Muschamp held out hope all week that both would be able to play against the Gators. Instead, the Gamecocks moved defensive tackle Keir Thomas to end to start the game and gave Kobe Smith the second start of his career at defensive tackle. Thomas was injured during the game. The Surly Swamp: Florida’s fans were antsy as the game started. The Gators already had lost to Kentucky and Missouri at home in head coach Dan Mullen’s first year with the school. Florida fans booed starting Gators quarterback Feleipe Franks after a first quarter incompletion, and Franks made a shushing motion to his home fans after scoring on a 10-yard run in the second quarter to tie the score at 14-14. The boos came back out in force in the third quarter when the Gators made a conservative play call on a long third down. Dan August returns: South Carolina’s first score of the game came on a 2-yard pass to senior tight end Jacob August. It was the second touchdown of August’s career. His first came in 2015 when Steve Spurrier was his head coach. Spurrier, who is now a consultant at Florida and was in attendance Saturday, jokingly called Jacob August “Dan August” after a 1970s television character played by Burt Reynolds. NEXT Who: South Carolina vs. Chattanooga When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17 Where: Williams-Brice Stadium, Columbia, SC TV: SEC Network alternate
  14. Gamecocks start fast, fall short in The Swamp 35-31 November 10, 2018 Will Muschamp’s struggles at The Swamp continued on Saturday. South Carolina lost an 18-point second half lead and fell to No. 19 Florida 35-31 in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, where Muschamp previously served as the Gators head coach. The Gamecocks lead 31-14 after Rico Dowdle scored on a 4-yard run with 4:41 left in the third quarter, and South Carolina still led by 18 points with 16 minutes left in the game. However, the Gators scored 21 unanswered from that point. Florida rushed for 368 yards and scored all five of its touchdowns on the ground against a Gamecocks defense ranked 12th in the SEC against the run. It was the most yards rushing allowed by the Gamecocks since LSU gained 396 on the ground in 2015, Steve Spurrier’s final game as the South Carolina head coach. For the first three quarters, the game belonged to the Gamecocks who were looking to snap an eight-game losing streak against ranked teams. Muschamp has now lost eight of his last 10 games as a head coach in The Swamp. His last SEC victory in Gainesville came on Sept. 13, 2014, in a 36-30 overtime win over Kentucky. THREE POINTS Star of the game: South Carolina senior wide receiver Deebo Samuel finished with 201 all-purpose yards, including the longest reception of his career, an 89-yard gain that set up the Gamecocks’ fourth touchdown of the game. Samuel also recovered a Florida punt while playing the gunner position on the punt team. Play of the game: After South Carolina had stopped Florida on three plays from the 2-yard line, Gators quarterback Feleipe Franks scored on a 1-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-goal to give Florida its first lead of the game at 35-31 with 4:09 left. Stat of the game: The Gamecocks and Gators were a combined 14-of-21 on third down in the first half. OBSERVATIONS Allen-Williams, Sterling out: Defensive ends Bryson Allen-Williams and Aaron Sterling did not make the trip to Florida due to injuries. Allen-Williams suffered an ankle injury against Ole Miss, and Sterling suffered a knee injury. Head coach Will Muschamp held out hope all week that both would be able to play against the Gators. Instead, the Gamecocks moved defensive tackle Keir Thomas to end to start the game and gave Kobe Smith the second start of his career at defensive tackle. Thomas was injured during the game. The Surly Swamp: Florida’s fans were antsy as the game started. The Gators already had lost to Kentucky and Missouri at home in head coach Dan Mullen’s first year with the school. Florida fans booed starting Gators quarterback Feleipe Franks after a first quarter incompletion, and Franks made a shushing motion to his home fans after scoring on a 10-yard run in the second quarter to tie the score at 14-14. The boos came back out in force in the third quarter when the Gators made a conservative play call on a long third down. Dan August returns: South Carolina’s first score of the game came on a 2-yard pass to senior tight end Jacob August. It was the second touchdown of August’s career. His first came in 2015 when Steve Spurrier was his head coach. Spurrier, who is now a consultant at Florida and was in attendance Saturday, jokingly called Jacob August “Dan August” after a 1970s television character played by Burt Reynolds. NEXT Who: South Carolina vs. Chattanooga When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17 Where: Williams-Brice Stadium, Columbia, SC TV: SEC Network alternate
  15. Why Will Muschamp is ‘excited’ about Shameik Blackshear as his role might grow November 09, 2018 THE STATE When South Carolina football coach Will Muschamp was asked about his team’s sudden potential deficit at defensive end, the first name he reached for was Shameik Blackshear. That’s a big step considering how far the junior from Bluffton has had to come. South Carolina will likely be without defensive end/linebacker Bryson Allen-Williams against Florida. USC still has D.J. Wonnum as an anchor on one side, and Aaron Sterling is likely to play despite a knee injury. But USC will still need more beyond those two, and the 6-foot-5, 270-pound Blackshear is next up after a strong day against Ole Miss. “Really proud of Shameik,” Muschamp said on his weekly call-in show. “Shameik made a huge play for us on third down, a quarterback keeper off what we call a quarterback slice action. Made a big play on third down to force them to punt for the first time in the second half. That was a big play in the game.” He finished the game with a pair of tackles, one for loss. On that play, his holder fake forced the quarterback to keep the ball and then he chased him down. Blackshear’s star-crossed career has been well-documented. He came to USC as a four-star, one-time five-star recruit. After playing early he took a medical redshirt, but not before some tweets that caused a small controversy. Then he was shot multiple times in an incident after his freshman season. He worked his way back, and has grown into a rotation player. It has neither been easy nor quick, but at this point, he’s become a contributor, something that wasn’t a guarantee even this offseason. Muschamp named other players who could chip in at end: linebacker/Buck defensive end Daniel Fennell, Buck Brad Johnson, end/tackle Keir Thomas, freshman tackle Kingsley Enagbare. But Blackshear was the first name he dropped, a player who might suddenly find more weight on his shoulders as USC looks for a big upset in The Swamp. “He continues to improve,” Muschamp said. “He continues to produce. And that’s the most important thing he’s got to continue to do. So really excited about Shameik.” .mcclatchy-embed{position:relative;padding:40px 0 56.25%;height:0;overflow:hidden;max-width:100%}.mcclatchy-embed iframe{position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%}
  16. Gamecock injury report vs Florida November 09, 2018 South Carolina football coach Will Muschamp didn’t want to use the word “doubtful” to describe the status of key pass rusher Bryson Allen Williams, preferring the word “hopeful.” Still, the implication was it’s a long shot for him to play against the Gators at best with an ankle injury. Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp updated his team’s injury report heading into the trip to Gainesville. Muschamp also said defensive end Aaron Sterling was battling a knee injury. Other players Muschamp mentioned included: ▪ Rico Dowdle is not yet at full speed, but fellow tailbacks Ty’Son Williams and A.J. Turner will play ▪ Offensive linemen Dennis Daley and Malik Young will play ▪ Opening day starting safety J.T. Ibe could return as soon as the Chattanooga game next week from a knee injury. He’s been out since the Kentucky game. Muschamp also said reserve defensive backs R.J. Roderick and Jaylin Dickerson responded well to moving into the No. 2 and 3 safety spots. Behind them are cornerback Rashad Fenton and safety Jonathan Gipson, who has yet to play this season.
  17. Did Ole Miss field factor in to Gamecocks injuries? Will Muschamp gives his thoughts November 08, 2018 THE STATE South Carolina football coach Will Muschamp wouldn’t go so far as to blame the field at Ole Miss for a slew of injuries that hammered his team in Oxford. But he didn’t say it wasn’t a factor. Muschamp was faced with the question on his weekly call-in show, and he said there was a range of factors. But a field that host Todd Ellis called “chopped up,” didn’t help. “The playing field wasn’t the best, I will say that,” Muschamp said. But it wasn’t the only factor there. “Just some unusual things at first,” Muschamp said. “Javon Charleston gets rolled up on the sideline. He has a mid-foot sprain, which is a Lisfranc injury, which is a very unusual injury. He had surgery (Thursday), which went extremely well. (Jamyest Williams) was struggling with the shoulder all year. A couple ankles here and there. Just some guys banged up. This part of the season is part of that. “At the end of the day, it’s unfortunate.” Charleston and fellow safety Jamyest Williams were both lost for the season. Tailback Rico Dowdle hurt his ankle and is questionable for this week against Florida. Fellow runner Ty’Son Williams broke his hand. Defensive lineman Aaron Sterling hurt his knee, while linebacker/Buck Bryson Allen-Williams hurt his ankle and has a low chance to play at Florida. Beyond that, there was a collection of short-term injuries to the likes of R.J. Roderick, Steven Montac and others. It was enough of an injury list that Muschamp didn’t even address it after the game.
  18. Is a change to South Carolina’s script responsible for better offense? November 08, 2018 THE STATE South Carolina scored 27 points in the first half against Ole Miss last week, matching their total points from the previous four first halves. There are plenty of theories about why, most importantly that the Rebels have the worst defense in the SEC. Gamecocks quarterback Jake Bentley thinks there is an overlooked reason. It has to do with South Carolina’s opening script of plays that it takes into every game. During the week, Gamecocks offensive coordinator Bryan McClendon decides on the first eight play calls he will make to start the game barring an unforeseen situation regarding field position or down and distance. “If it gets to third-and-10, coach will go to his third down call, but if we’re moving the ball and getting first downs, he’ll stay along that script until we get down in the tight red zone,” Bentley said. “It’s just plays that we feel really good about based on film work, based on what looked good during the week. We want to get those called first knowing that we want to start the game off fast.” The reason Bentley thinks the script was more effective against the Rebels is that McClendon has come to the players for more suggestions of late. “That’s one thing that has increased these past few weeks is that just input from a lot of guys on the team,” Bentley said. “He’s going to (wide receivers) Deebo (Samuel), Bryan (Edwards), Shi (Smith), just asking them what they like, and I think it’s worked out really well for us.” The Gamecocks, who finalize their script on Thursdays, are fifth in the SEC in scoring (31 ppg) and seventh in the conference in yards (413.8 per game). The offensive confidence “is very high,” Bentley said. “A lot of guys are making a lot of plays. There are a lot of guys who are stepping up. There are a lot of ways to attack a defense. A lot of guys see the talent that we have.”
  19. ‘Detailed. Demanding.’ How Gamecocks’ offensive line coach is pushing right buttons November 07, 2018 THE STATE South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp calls offensive line coach Eric Wolford “very demanding,” but Gamecocks fans can’t tell from Wolford’s professorial approach on game days. “He doesn’t yell and scream on game day. He gets that out during the week,” senior offensive lineman Blake Camper explained. Wolford’s approach has worked this year for the Gamecocks offensive line, the one unit on the team to consistently draw praise from Muschamp despite juggling its lineup throughout the season. He was announced Wednesday as candidate for the Broyles Award, given each year to the nation’s top assistant coach. Wolford, who was Youngstown State’s head coach from 2010-2014, joined South Carolina’s staff in 2017, replacing Shawn Elliott. “He has a big picture approach,” Muschamp said. “Sometimes offensive line coaches have a very myopic opinion of things. They look at one thing and how it affects five guys. Eric’s been a head coach before. He sees the run game. He sees the pass game. He sees the concepts. He understands defensive structure. I think he’s just very detailed.” Wolford, like the rest of South Carolina’s assistant coaches, does not speak to the media during the season. He speaks to the players plenty during the week, though. “His coaching style? If you mess up, he yells,” sophomore guard Sadarius Hutcherson said. “He’ll yell almost every time. At the end of the day, on Saturdays it’s so much easier. He doesn’t yell on Saturday.” The idea, Camper said, is to make practices harder than games. “We have a Gamecocks standard, you could say,” Camper said. “The offensive line has a standard for ourselves that we want to play at the highest level we can. His push on us really helps us know the better we play on the practice field the better we play in the game. That’s something he really stresses.” Center Donell Stanley and guards Hutcherson and Zack Bailey have started every game this season and played almost every snap, but there hasn’t been nearly that kind of stability at offensive tackle. The Gamecocks have started four different players at tackle due to injuries and the development of true freshman Dylan Wonnum. This week, the Gamecocks are preparing for Florida with three of those tackles — Camper, Dennis Daley and Malik Young — slowed by minor injuries. Camper started the season at right tackle but finished last week’s 48-44 win over Ole Miss at left tackle. Wolford has prepared his lineman since the offseason for the possibility of moving around during the season. “He just really emphasizes that players know different positions. He switches it up certain days of the week. One day you could be at one position, the next day you’re at another,” Camper said. “It helps prepare you for any kind of situation that could happen. I was happy I could go in and play effectively and help the team win. I look forward to this weekend and seeing how it plays out.” The Gamecocks (5-3 overall, 4-3 SEC) take on No. 19 Florida (6-3, 4-3) on Saturday at noon in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. South Carolina is fourth in the SEC in sacks allowed per game at 1.38, a statistic that will be tested by the blitz-happy Gators, who are third in the conference in sacks per game at 2.56. The Gamecocks believe Wolford has them prepared. “When you’re demanding and you get positive results, players respect that,” Muschamp said. “I think he’s got a good balance of being very demanding but also being very fair and our players understand the results they get.”
  20. Gamecocks add another starter to injury list for Florida game November 06, 2018 Add another name to South Carolina’s lengthy injury list. Senior defensive end Bryson Allen-Williams missed Tuesday’s practice due to an ankle injury and is questionable for the Gamecocks game against Florida on Saturday at noon. Allen-Williams is fifth on the team in tackles this season with 36. He leads the Gamecocks in tackles-for-loss with 10 and in quarterback hurries with five. He has played 48 games in his South Carolina career, with 21 starts, and totaled 171 tackles, 27.5 tackles-for-loss and 6.5 sacks. “That’s definitely a big loss,” senior cornerback Rashad Fenton said. “We are definitely going to miss Bryson. He brings a ton of energy. Like coach said, next man up. I am sure the next man is going to bring just as much intensity.” The 6-foot-1, 230-pound Allen-Williams missed the final 10 games of the 2017 season due to a shoulder injury and took a redshirt season in order to return and play this year. On Monday, Allen-Williams tweeted, “God’s plan for your life is always bigger than yours.” South Carolina’s two leading rushers remain questionable for the Florida game as well. Rico Dowdle did not practice due to an ankle injury, and Ty’Son Williams practiced but wore a hard cast on his left hand. Williams, who suffered a broken bone in his hand against Ole Miss, will not be able to play effectively unless he is able to move to a smaller cast later in the week, he said. Defensive end Aaron Sterling also missed Tuesday’s practice due to a knee injury and is questionable for the Florida game. Earlier this week, Muschamp announced that safeties Jamyest Williams (shoulder) and Javon Charleston (shoulder) suffered season-ending injuries in the Ole Miss game. Wide receiver OrTre Smith (knee), linebacker Eldridge Thompson (shoulder), defensive lineman Jovaughn Gwyn (foot), defensive lineman Tyreek Johnson (knee) and running back Caleb Kinlaw (knee) previously had been ruled out for the season due to injury. Safeties J.T. Ibe (knee) and Nick Harvey (concussion) have each have missed long stretches due to injury.
  21. South Carolina trying anything possible to shore up secondary November 06, 2018 South Carolina has three experienced safeties available heading into Saturday’s game against Florida. Cornerback Rashad Fenton is ready to move over from cornerback if the Gamecocks need a fourth against the Gators, and head coach Will Muschamp will be taking applications the rest of the week for the fifth spot. “Everybody has to be ready to play every position,” senior safety Steven Montac said. South Carolina (5-3 overall, 4-3 SEC) will face No. 19 Florida (6-3, 4-3) at noon Saturday in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Fla., and it will be doing it with a secondary that has been battered by injuries. Jamyest Williams (shoulder) and Javon Charleston (foot) have both been lost for the season. J.T. Ibe (knee) and Nick Harvey (concussion) have each missed at least the last three games and won’t play against the Gators. That leaves Montac, true freshman R.J. Roderick and redshirt freshman Jaylin Dickerson, who has five tackles this season, as the only available and experienced safeties. This might not be a terrible week to be short in the secondary, though, considering Florida is 11th in the SEC in passing offense and 10th in the conference in passing attempts. “None of us can get hurt,” Dickerson said. “If we’ve got small boo-boos or little injuries, we’ve got to stick it out, be tough.” True freshman Jonathan Gipson and senior walk-on Jason Senn had a more visible role at the position during Tuesday’s practice, Dickerson said. Head coach Will Muschamp even suggested wide receiver Shi Smith could be used as an emergency cornerback to free up another cornerback to move to safety. Smith “was a really good defensive back at Union (High School),” Muschamp said. “He’s got good cover skills, good ball skills, ball judgment down the field. He’s tough, he can tackle. So we just met with him to mentally prepare him. If we get into a jam, we need to communicate with him on the things he needs to do.” Third-string quarterback Dakereon Joyner will not be asked to fill in at safety, Muschamp said. “We’re committed to him at quarterback,” Muschamp said. That may be the only option that is off the table, though. “I am ready to play,” Fenton said. “Whatever I have to do to help the team I am going to do.” The development of true freshman cornerbacks Jaycee Horn and Israel Mukuamu gives the Gamecocks the ability to move Fenton if needed. “I have a lot of confidence in our young guys,” Montac said. “I feel like we have some of the best young DBs in the nation. R.J., Jaylin Dickerson, we’ve got Jaycee Horn, we’ve got Izzy, we have some talented young guys. I feel very confident when they’re out there with me.” Muschamp is getting more confident with his young players, which is a good thing considering he’s been forced into playing four freshmen together in the defensive backfield this year due to injuries. “It’s good as we move forward,” Muschamp said. “It may give me a couple of gray hairs, but those guys are all extremely bright, they work really hard. The thing we’ve got to realize as we install and look at different things is we’re not asking them to do too much. We’re not asking them to think. They need to reacting on game day, playing fast.”
  22. Football 11/6/2018 GCF Staff Report Florida Week Football Media Availability With The HeadCoach & Assorted Players Gamecocks Face Gators on Saturday in Gainesville at Noon on ESPN VIDEOS   Opening Statement (MORE)
  23. Gators might play ‘three quarterbacks’ against Gamecocks November 05, 2018 It wasn’t long ago when South Carolina football discussion started with a quarterback debate. But since Jake Bentley has returned to good health, the Gamecocks have gone 2-1 and the push for Michael Scarnecchia has died down. It’ll be Bentley starting for the 28th time in his career Saturday when USC (5-3, 4-3 SEC) travels to face No. 19 Florida (6-3, 4-3). The Gators, meanwhile, don’t have that kind of QB certainty. Feleipe Franks started last week’s loss to Missouri, but was pulled in the second half for Kyle Trask. In Trask’s first extended action of his career, the sophomore completed 10 of 18 passes for 126 yards and a touchdown. Among the SEC’s 14 starting QBs, Franks has slipped to 12th in completion percentage (55.6), 10th in yards per attempt (7.1) and eighth in rating (133.25). The Gators have dropped consecutive games by a combined score of 74-34. UF coach Dan Mullen said Monday that all options are on the table. “We’ll look and see how practice goes,” Mullen told reporters during a news conference in Gainesville. “We might play two quarterbacks, we might play three. I want to see. We’re still putting the game plan together and I just want to see, as we put the game plan together and we go out and practice it, who gives us the best chance to win. “That’s kind of how we’ve done it throughout the whole year.” Franks made eight starts last season, the final in the Jim McElwain era at Florida. The 6-foot-6, 227-pound sophomore has career totals of 3,033 yards, 25 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. He went of 10 of 25 for 174 yards and a pick in UF’s loss to Carolina last year in Columbia. Trask is a 6-5, 234-pounder who missed all of last year with an injury. “He throws a nice ball,” Mullen said of Trask. “He runs hard. He’s got good size. Very similar to Feleipe. Feleipe probably has a little stronger arm, probably a little more athletic. Trask might be a little bit more physical when he runs the ball.” Mullen’s third option? It’s likely Emory Jones. Jones is a true freshman and former four-star recruit who picked the Gators over pursuit from the likes of Ohio State, FSU, Auburn and Alabama. He’s appeared twice this season, including two weeks ago when he carried four times for 12 yards in the loss to Georgia. Mullen on Monday seemed hesitant to rush Jones into full-duty anytime soon. “You got to look at Emory within his development,” Mullen said. “There’s an injustice to put guys on the field before they’re completely ready to go play. Now if I think Emory’s completely ready to go play, we could go play him. If he’s going to give us the best chance to win, we’ll go do that.
  24. Some Gamecocks could shift positions to address injury issues, including key defender November 05, 2018 THE STATE At the moment, South Carolina football only has three healthy options at safety in Steven Montac, R.J. Roderick and Jaylin Dickerson. That’s enough a team could survive with, but not comfortably or confidently with the risk for more players going down. So Will Muschamp and his staff are already talking about a few other options to move to the position to shore it up. But they’re not sure who, yet. “We had a discussion about that (Sunday),” Muschamp said. “We’ll continue that (Monday) to get ready for Tuesday’s practice on who we need to prepare to get ready and meet with those guys (Monday) afternoon and (Monday) night,” That’s a result of the news Jamyest Williams and Javon Charleston are out for the season. USC was already down graduate transfer safeties J.T. Ibe, who the team is hoping to get back soon after a knee injury, and Nick Harvey, who has been stuck in concussion protocol. Muschamp said one player already had enough background to have perhaps played in a pinch, but he’s also a senior corner who is one of the team’s best cover men. “We were prepared with Rashad Fenton can go play safety if he needs to,” Muschamp said. ”He knows our defense extremely well and he can go play a safety spot to give us a fourth going into the game. We will make some preparations past that.” Muschamp didn’t say who might move, but the Gamecocks moved a range of players to safety during the offseason, trying to help a position that struggled for consistency all season. In terms of corners, USC has Fenton, Jaycee Horn, Keisean Nixon and true freshman Isreal Mukuamu, plus a smattering of walk-ons and redshirting freshman Jonathan Gipson. Horn has already worked at nickel and on the outside in his true freshman season. Mukuamu has the height to play safety at 6-foot-4, and Nixon was at points a candidate for the position before settling in at corner. Beyond the defensive back group, former safety Zay Brown is now at linebacker, but has yet to see the field in a year and a half. Some of USC’s receivers have high school backgrounds on defense, but the best ones are also top offensive players (Bryan Edwards played defense against a Hail Mary earlier this season). In South Carolina’s first two seasons with Muschamp, the team has often had to rely almost exclusively on two or three safeties for long stretches, granted, the attrition that has pushed USC at one specific spot is a first for Muschamp. “It’s been unusual,” Muschamp said. “Thank goodness we’ve got a little depth at the position and got some young guys, especially that stepped up. It’s unfortunate, but is what it is.”
  25. Will Muschamp announces multiple season-ending injuries after win against Ole Miss November 04, 2018 South Carolina has lost two safeties for the season. Jamyest Williams will have shoulder surgery this week and miss the remainder of the season, and Javon Charleston will have foot surgery and miss the rest of the season, Gamecocks head coach Will Muschamp announced Sunday night. Both players were injured in Saturday’s 48-44 win over Ole Miss. “Everybody else right now to me is day-to-day and I will know more Tuesday,” Muschamp said. “I feel good about getting all those other guys back.” Running backs Rico Dowdle and Ty’Son Williams were also injured in the game as were defensive end Aaron Sterling and Malik Young. “I think we’ll get (Dowdle and Williams) back this week,” Muschamp said. “Rico has an ankle. They don’t think it’s one of the high ankle deals, and Ty’Son has a bruise on his hand.” Junior linebacker T.J. Brunson expects his teammates to pick up whatever slack is left by the litany of injuries. “Next man up,” Brunson said. “We practice that, too. Whenever your number is called, be ready to go in. We don’t expect a drop off just because someone new is in.” Dowdle is South Carolina’s leading rusher, with 98 carries for 490 yards and three touchdowns. Williams is the second-leading rusher with 66 carries for 319 yards and four touchdowns. Sterling has 15 tackles and a sack this season. Safeties J.T. Ibe (knee) and Nick Harvey (concussion) will be out again this week.

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