Will Muschamp Weekly News Conference With Videos Coach & Selected Players Plus Notes & Quotes
Sept. 25, 2018
"We've got Kentucky in Lexington on Saturday night at 7:30 on the SEC Network. (When you) turn the tape on, they've got an outstanding football team. There's a reason they are where they are. They're a very athletic football team. They've got a lot of length at multiple positions. They've got very good team speed. They're physical on both lines of scrimmage. Mark (Stoops) and his staff have done a good job recruiting with him going into his sixth year there at Kentucky.
"Defensively, they're second in our league in total defense. They're third in scoring. (They're) very active. They play the way you are supposed to play. They've got eight senior starters so they're very experience. They're very active at the linebacker position, especially Jordan Jones. He's a very instinctive player, and I think Josh Allen is probably an elite rusher, one of the better rushers in our league and certainly the country. They've got a lot of guys who can make a difference. They get their hands on a lot of balls in the secondary, a lot of length – 6-2, 6-3 plus – and they run extremely well. They've recruited extremely well on that side of the ball.
"Offensively, Eddie Gran is their offensive coordinator. He's done an outstanding job. They lead our league with 270 yards rushing (per game). Obviously, Benny Snell is an outstanding back. He runs violent, runs tough. (He's) competitive (and) runs the way you're supposed to run. I really respect him. (They have a) big, physical offensive line. They do a good job getting a hat on a hat in the run game and in protections. (A.J.) Rose and (Sihiem) King are really good running backs that back (Snell) up. Terry Wilson has been a very good addition for them. He signed with Oregon out of high school and then went to junior college for a year. He's completing right at 67 percent of his passes. He can really run. He's a very athletic guy, so we've got to do a good job with pass rush lanes and being disciplined on all of the zone reads and different looks they give you. (C.J.) Conrad is an outstanding tight end, and Lynn Bowden, who's got 20 receptions on the year, is a really explosive guy on the perimeter. They'll use him a lot of different ways.
"Special teams – Dean Hood is a very good coach. He's their coordinator and does a great job. They play very aggressively on special teams and again, they've really recruited to good team speed. That's what shows up on tape, and it shows where they are right now. They've got a good football team. We've got our work cut out for us.
"I thought we had a really good practice today in our preparation. Our guys understand we need to go play well."
On the team's current injury situation
"Injury-wise, K.C. Crosby had surgery on his finger. He should be fine for game day. He did not practice today. I think he'll practice in parts tomorrow and certainly be full-go on Thursday. OrTre Smith is going to have surgery next week (on a) genetic issue on his knee. It's a subluxed knee cap. It slides out about 40 percent. It is very, very painful. It's something he's been dealing with over a long period of time, obviously, but certainly it's something that has really affected him this training camp. He's had a hard time with it. We've exhausted about every measure we could medically to alleviate the pain, days off and different things. I'm really frustrated for him. I know he's been really frustrated this fall not playing at his full-go potential. We'll have the surgery. That'll end his season for this year. He should be back for spring ball, and Jamel Cook will sit this year as far as eligibility is concerned.
On the approach of Deebo Samuel after he suffered a season-ending injury last year against Kentucky
"He's got a very business-like approach. Both Deebo and Bryson Allen-Williams, both were hurt in this ball game last year. We dealt with a serious blow losing both of those guys last year. I have been very pleased with how they have approached today and our first day back as far as practice is concerned. I am very pleased with their progress."
On his defense's approach to containing Kentucky running back Benny Snell
"Well you've got to swarm the ball field; that's the bottom line. When you play really good backs, they are going to make you miss. They are going to break some tackles. You've got to swarm the football; you've got to leverage the ball the right way. The ball carrier is never down until the whistle blows. You've got to finish on the ball carrier, and you have to have the right mindset going into the game. And I think that's something really important when you play a back like Snell, because he is a guy you're going to have to gang-tackle to get on the ground."
On the emphasis his coaching staff puts on defense going against a Kentucky team that leads the SEC in rushing
"It's the same emphasis we have every week; it's about winning your one-on-ones. At the end of the day, football is a game where you're matched up against another person. Sometimes you may have to face a double-team, but you have got to win your one-on-ones. We talk in terms of winning downs, which wins possessions, and if you win enough possessions, you win games. So, our approach never changes, as far as that is concerned."
On the status of wide receiver Chad Terrell, who suffered an ACL injury in the offseason
"He did practice some today in a non-contact jersey. He has not been cleared for contact. This was the first day he has been cleared to practice with us. He went, probably seven periods or so and looked good, but he has not been cleared for contact yet. I would guess two weeks, three weeks maybe."
On his program's losing streak against Kentucky and how he addresses it with the team
"We haven't talked about it. It's the 2018 South Carolina football team vs. the 2018 Kentucky football team."
On the differences between this year's Kentucky team and past Kentucky teams
"I think that they play very good complimentary football defensively… I think they're second in our league in third-down conversions offensively. They're very efficient, because they manage for third down. They make it very difficult for you to get off the field. They don't give you a lot of negative plays on offense, so they're not in a lot of bad down-and-distance situations. Their special teams are always going to be a positive for them as far as the battle for field position is concerned. Again, I think it's a very complete team (when) you look at offense, defense and special teams and how they play. You've got to credit Mark (Stoops) and his staff."
On the importance of offensive line play after that group had success last week vs. Vanderbilt
"Absolutely. This is a very stout group inside. They've got really good edges, obviously, with (Josh) Allen being one of those edges. They do a really good job with that. But I've said through training camp (that) I've been really pleased with the progress our offensive line has made. We've got to continue to bring the young players along. That's going to be an important part moving forward. There's a lot of football to be played, but they progress that we've made – I've been extremely pleased."
On the progress of Javon Kinlaw
"You either get better or worse every single day, whether you're a coach or a player, it doesn't really matter. He's been a guy that's come to work every day with the right kind of mindset and mentality to improve and get better. He certainly had a very productive day Saturday. The challenge now moving forward is 'so what, now what?' What are you going to do now? He understands that. The first thing (I said when) I saw him Sunday, it wasn't 'great job,' it was 'so what, now what? What are you going to do now?' That's what he needs to respond with, and that's what I believe he will.
On the personnel decisions that his staff is making, going into the fourth game with the effect of the new redshirt rule
"We've had those discussions when we meet on Wednesday on Thursday as a staff. We have discussions on who's up for the game and situationally. We have a lot of discussions as far as those things are concerned."
How South Carolina is navigating NCAA’s new redshirt rule
South Carolina is heading into Game No. 4 of the 2018 season, and with the NCAA’s new redshirt rule, it means a few decisions could be in the works.
Across the sport, teams are seeing players, ones who are playing but not playing enough for their liking, announce they’d like to transfer and take a redshirt to save a year of eligibility. The new rule lets players see action in four games and still take a redshirt.
That’s an unintended consequence, and there’s still roster management elements that factor in. USC coach Will Muschamp said it’s an every-week conversation.
“We’ve had those discussions as far as when we meet on Wednesdays and Thursdays as a staff,” Muschamp said. “We have discussions about who is up for the game, situationally.”
Thus far, Oklahoma State has lost one of the 10 most productive receivers in the school’s history, while a trio of Auburn players, two sophomores and a junior, all left before last weekend’s Arkansas game.
There was also talk of former starting Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant perhaps shutting things down this season to have a chance at a job elsewhere.
The Gamecocks don’t appear to have anyone who fits the bill of a scholarship player having a smaller role than expected but also heading into his fourth game this weekend.
South Carolina has played 10 true freshmen, with between four and six in serious roles. The questions then turn to others, such as offensive lineman Dylan Wonnum or linebacker Ernest Jones, who saw action sparingly in a blowout.
“We have a lot of discussions as far as those things are concerned,” Muschamp said.
Will Muschamp Weekly News Conference — 9/25/18
Ty'Son Williams Media Availability — 9/25/18
Donell Stanley Media Availability — 9/25/18
Keir Thomas Media Availability — 9/25/18
Deebo Samuel Media Availability — 9/25/18
Javon Kinlaw Media Availability — 9/25/18
Sherrod Greene Media Availability — 9/25/18
Bryan Edwards Media Availability — 9/25/18
T.J. Brunson Media Availability — 9/25/18
Bryson Allen-Williams Media Availability — 9/25/18
Jake Bentley Weekly News Conference — 9/25/18
From USC Sports Information