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Muschamp observations & transcript from final scrimmage WATCH: Will Muschamp Post-Scrimmage News Conference

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Muschamp observations &  transcript from final scrimmage WATCH: Will Muschamp Post-Scrimmage News Conference 


August 17, 2019



▪ RB Tavien Feaster stands out in scrimmage. Mucschamp had this to say “He looked good,” “Caught the ball well, ran the ball well. Had a really nice cut on a touchdown on an inside zone. So it was good; I thought he was good.” One strength of Feaster’s game that will upgrade the Gamecocks in the backfield is the way he’s able to catch the football, where the Gamecocks have struggled during Muschamp’s tenure here at South Carolina. “He catches the ball extremely well,” Muschamp said. “He’s like a receiver running routes. He has really good ball skills. But I thought he made some really good cuts on some runs. It was the first live contact he’s had since he’s been here, and I thought he ran the ball extremely well.


▪  Starter DB Israel Mukuamu getting snaps at new spot safety. “Israel’s always a guy that can slide in and play, has played a lot of safety for us in the last couple days,” Muschamp said. “Done a nice job. He brings us a lot of range back there."


▪ He was discouraged by some procedure and communication issues the team had during the scrimmage. Much of that was situation work (including one-minute and four-minute work, plus red zone), but he left with the sense there was a lot to clean up.


▪ Overall, the team got 120 snaps, plus some live kicking work.


▪ At this point in camp, the coaches feel as if the offense and defense are playing about even..


▪ Shi Smith had several good plays, including grabbing a 50-50 ball. Jake Bentley also had some explosive plays on offense, a seam ball and an outside ball. He also protected the ball, but there were some protection issues.


▪ Muschamp also singled out freshman wide receiver Josh Vann has having a strong day and strong camp.


▪ Muschamp said backup quarterbacks Dakereon Joyner and Ryan Hilinski are still somewhat even, though he had not yet watched the tape and delved in.

▪ Through camp, the staff likes where the offensive line.


▪ Darius Rush’s move from wide receiver to corner was based on him not getting much opportunity on offense.


▪ Right now, either Eric Douglas or Donell Stanley would be the team’s backup center.


▪ After seeing his career end with an injury, Kiel Pollard will be working with the coaching staff this fall.


Head Coach Will Muschamp post-scrimmage No. 2 presser (Saturday, August 17, 2019)

Opening Statement: 
"First of all want to start off with the Kiel Pollard situation - just really disappointed for Kiel and his family and for everybody involved in our organization as well. Guy we signed out of Moultrie, Ga., Colquitt County High School, state champion, player of the year in the state of Georgia and just a wonderful young man. He has done everything we've asked of him. He had really good freshman and sophomore years and kind of broke out in the later part of his junior season. He was in the best condition since he's been here, primed to have a great senior year and continue to play after college in my opinion. Very unfortunate situation - there was a small fracture in his neck which was going to heal within four to six weeks - had nothing to do with him not being able to play football. During our research in helping him get back, we discovered through two specialists, a neurologist in Atlanta and in Charlotte, that he had a cyst on his spinal cord. Thank goodness we found it. Kiel is going to graduate in December. He wants to get into coaching. He's not sure if he wants to be a high school coach or a college coach. He'll be successful in whatever he does. He's extremely bright. He relates well with anybody he meets. He's got that certain skill with people. He's going to be a part of our staff this fall moving forward. It was a message for our guys. This guy has handled his business the right way. He's graduating and getting your education is why you are here. Unfortunately in our game we all have expiration dates. Probably 1 percent of us all that play football, it ends on your terms. We've got a great example in our own building with Mike Peterson. He played 14 years uin the National Football League. He came to me when I was at Florida and said, 'They want me to play a 15th year, but I don't want to play anymore.' That doesn't happen very often. It certainly ended too soon for Kiel. We love him and just hate for this to happen to him. He's going to have some tough times in the fall and we all need to support him, and we will."

Got some good news on Evan Hinson. He's only going to be out three or four weeks. The surgery went much better than we thought, so excited about that. Kier Thomas will be cleared sometime next week. He's been doing a lot of individual work - he just hasn't done any 11-on-11. Other than that, we're doing well. Scrimmage today was a little bit sloppy - on both sides of the ball. We had some procedure issues, some communication issues that were disappointing for our second scrimmage. We got about 120 scrimmage snaps. We got some live kicking game done, which is always good - just have to clean a lot of things up as we continue to move forward. I thought there was some bright spots on both ends. We got a lot of situational work in. We had a four-minute drill to win the game - the offense was able to stay on the field to end the clock. We had a situation where the offense was able to get a first down coming out from the goal line, which is critical to be able to flip the field. We had a good one-minute situation that ended with a field goal to win the game. The defense did a really nice job in our red zone work. Looking forward to seeing the tape and where we are. We claim we want to do the things that take no talent very well, but we didn't today. That was disappointing. We'll address that as we move forward. Our guys are off tomorrow unless they have treatment. Then we'll have two training camp like practices on Monday and Tuesday. We'll be off on Wednesday, and then we'll start on North Carolina on Thursday."

On Rico Dowdle and Bryan Edwards... 
"They didn't go today, but they'll be cleared for Monday. Rico had a little bit of a bone bruise. We held him today, but he's fine. Bryan could have gone today, but he's fine and will be back on Monday."

On offense or defense doing more in camp so far... 
"I think it's been pretty even. There's been some good competition is the best way I can say it."

On how the three quarterbacks (Jake Bentley, Dakereon Joyner and Ryan Hilinski) looked today...
"We had some explosive plays offensively. I'm looking forward to watching the film and evaluation Dakereon and Ryan."

On the offensive line's run blocking in the scrimmage...
"I thought we had some creases in the run game. We did so much situational work today, so it wasn't so much just move the ball. It's kind of hard in some situations to look. Again, I think we've done a nice job in the run game throughout training camp in blocking a pretty good front."

On how Tavien Feaster looked today...
"Good, he caugh the ball well, ran the ball well. He made a really nice cut on touchdown on an inside zone play. I thought he looked good."

On receivers who have stood out... 
"Two guys that stood out to me today were Josh Vann and Shi (Smith). Those guys have had really good camps. Shi has had an exceptional camp. He's a really difficult guy to cover. He's got really good catch radius down the field, and he's got really good speed and he's got good open field quickness as far as evading people and making people miss. I think he's had a really good training camp. Josh Vann has had a really good camp to this point. It all goes back to this summer - the type of summer both of those guys had. They really busted it all summer. They went after it hard all summer. They've come into camp and had really good camps. Randrecous (Davis) has done some really nice things. Those three guys have jumped out at us. And of course Bryan (Edwards) has had a really good camp as well."

On how D.J. Wonnom has looked...
"He's looked as good as he's looked. He looks really good. He's playing well. I think he's rusing the passer extremely well, playing the runs well, leveraging well. He's right at 260 (pounds), and I'm really pleased with how he's playing. You've just got to account for him offensively. When you go into a game, it's all about matchups. We've got to make sure we're getting the protection to No. 8, and we've got to make sure there's somebody helping there. His football intelligence is off the charts as far as just knowledge of the game, knowledge of situations. He's not a guy that you have to sit there and walk-through everything. He gets it, and he understands it. He also is a great leader. He doesn't say a lot, but he demonstrates his leadership ability in positively effecting people around him. It's as good as I've been around. Having him on the field there's a lot of different positives he brings to our organization past just the fact that he's a good football player."

On if they're any further along in the process of identifying a No. 2 quarterback...
"Well, we'll watch the tape. Today was obviously a huge evaluation. The two scrimmages are big in that evaluation process - not just at that position, but a lot of positions. This is the hard part when you get to this practice. Week one it may not be the best option, but in week five it's going to be the best option. That's going to help our football team. You've got to continue to bring those guys along knowing that eventually that's going to overtake as far as his ability and talent is concerned. You've got to project a little bit, and that's what we have to do a good job of tonight and tomorrow morning."

On the red zone work in the scrimmage...
"We spend a lot of time in the red zone, regardless of how we've done. It's something that is one of our core five items in playing to win is playing well in the red zone and understanding that we've got to get points 100 percent of the time and 70 percent of the time, we need to score touchdowns. Defensively, 60 percent of the time, we want to hold them to field goals. If you do that, you'll lead the country in those categories. I think we've made some improvements. Obviously, we'll have a test on August 31."

On red zone execution and ball security in the scrimmage...
"Well, it's good and bad. The defense had a really good red-zone period, so it was not so good for the offense. I don't know that we had a turnover for the entire scrimmage, and I think we only had one turnover on a fourth-down desperation situation last week where you have to put the ball up and see if someone can make a play. We've protected the ball better since the early part of training camp."

On the young defensive backs and the energy they bring...
"It is. We put a lot on them. We teach everything by concepts. Sometimes they have some good moments and not so good moments. Jammie's done some really good things at both safety and nickel and he's going to be a really good player for us this year. John Dixon has been a guy that's really shown up and had a couple of nice knock downs in the end zone today on a couple of 50/50 balls that I thought were played extremely well. Cam Smith showed up today and made a couple of plays on some balls. To be able to see them being in the right spots is what I'm looking for. Shilo (Sanders) has done some nice things. I've been very pleased with all of those guys. Shilo's repped at the nickel position. We've looked at him a little bit at safety as well. I've been pleased with their progress and are all going to play for us this year."

On starters at safety and nickel and the play of J.T. Ibe...
"J.T.'s had a really good camp. He strained his pec, so I think we're going to get him back next week at some point. He's the only guy that's had a lingering issue. It's a similar situation to what happened to him at Rice. It was about a two-week deal before he was able to come back so we'll see how that progresses. Right now, Jamyest (Williams) has had a really good camp and has done a nice job for us there. Jammie's (Robinson) done some nice things there and Israel (Mukuamu) is always a guy that can slide in and play and has played a lot of safety for us the last couple of days and has done a nice job. He brings us a lot of range back there."

On Ernest Jones' leadership...
"You hear his voice a lot. He does a really nice job. He brings a lot of juice and energy every single day. At that position, especially at this time in camp, that's something you've got to have on your football team and he's certainly a guy that has a lot of juice and energy and affects everybody around him in a positive way in my estimation. That makes him what he is. He's very smart and intelligent. He makes all of our calls, so I've been really pleased with the training camp he's had. He's been outstanding."

On Tavien Feaster...
"He catches the ball extremely well. He's like a receiver running routes as far as those things. He's got really good ball skills. I thought he made a couple of really nice cuts on some runs today and it was the first live contact he's had since he's been here. I thought he ran the ball well."

On Jake Bentley's performance at the scrimmage...
"He's taking care of the football and that's the big thing. I thought there were some explosive plays out there. He hit Shi (Smith) on two balls on a seam ball and an outside ball and he dropped one in on Josh Vann on a really well thrown ball. We have to continue to clean some things up on protection. Obviously, our quarterbacks aren't live so it would have been interesting if we would have got a couple of those off, so we'll have to go back and make sure we clean some of those things up. We were better than we were for the first scrimmage but it will be interesting to watch the film. I thought Jake had a really good week, in my opinion. You go back and look at Wednesday and Thursday 's practice. We didn't do as much on Friday but then again today, he strung together four of five really good days."

Edited by FeatheredCock

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