WITH VIDEOS COACH & SELECTED PLAYERS: Coach Muschamp weekly news conference talking Clemson
GCF Staff Report
November 20, 2018
VIDEOS BELOW ARTICLE
Will Muschamp Press Conference – 11/20/18 – Game #11 – Clemson
“(We play) Clemson Saturday night, a 7 o’clock kickoff. (It’s) one of the great rivalries in college football, a passionate game, very important to our state and obviously to the University of South Carolina.
“Clemson’s got a good football team. You start on offense. Trevor Lawrence can make all the throws. He’s got tremendous arm talent, and they’re good in what they do offensively. They’ve given him the whole playbook. He’s really done a good job taking care of the football, (making) explosive plays down the field, getting the ball in the right spot. In the run game and the pass game. (He’s) done a really nice job. (They’re) really talented on the perimeter, (with) Tee Higgins and Amari Rodgers. Hunter Renfrow has been there forever, (plus) Justyn Ross and Derion Kendrick, some guys outside. (They’re) very explosive in the throwing game and they get them the ball in different ways. They do a nice job in space. (Travis) Etienne, the running back, is a guy I’ve been very impressed with. (He has a) really strong lower body. He’s got big-time speed. (Tavien) Feaster is another guy they feature back there, but Travis is a guy that really catches your eye when you watch the tape. He’s made a lot of big plays for them throughout this year and really, their run game has been remarkably better from a year ago in my opinion, watching them and watching him run this year.
“Defensively, (it’s) the same front four we’ve faced for three years: (Dexter) Lawrence, (Christian) Wilkins, (Clelin) Farrell and (Austin) Bryant. They’re very talented players, and Brent (Venables) does a good job mixing things up with those guys. Tre Lamar and Kendall Joseph are two really good linebackers that do a nice job, and (they have) some talented guys on the back end. They’ve got really good team speed. Special teams – they do a really nice job, and they’ve got some really good specialists.”
On the team’s injury situation…
“Injury-wise, for us, Jaycee (Horn) practiced today. He should be fine for the game. A.J. (Turner) practiced. He should be fine. I’m hoping to get Aaron Sterling back. He practiced some today, not the whole practice, but I’m hoping to get him back for Saturday, at least in a part-time role. Everybody else is good to go.”
On the running back rotation assuming every back is healthy for Saturday...
"Whoever practices the best and gives us the best opportunity to win the game on Saturday will be the ones that carry the ball. Mon (Denson) and A.J. (Turner) have been fine.”
On if Ty’son Williams is still wearing a cast...
“Yeah, they have tried to cut it back a little to help him carry the ball better. It’s been a little bit of an issue.”
On what sticks out to him from his first two South Carolina vs. Clemson matchups...
“We have got to do a better job coaching and playing. That’s the bottom line. Continuing to build our program. I give Coach (Dabo) Sweeney and his staff credit; they have done a really good job. The (NFL) draft speaks for itself, as far as the guys in April every year. We’ve got to continue to build to that. It takes time sometimes. Again, we have to coach better and play better.”
On what is different about the South Carolina vs. Clemson rivalry compared to other rivalries he has been a part of...
“They are all unique in their own ways. We don’t really, other than the Carolina Panthers, don’t have a pro team in our state. It’s very similar to the Iron Bowl, as far as that’s concerned. You are either on one side or the other. There are not a lot of fans from other universities in our state other than South Carolina and Clemson. That, to me, is what is unique. I would probably say the same for the state of Alabama: you’re either Auburn, or you’re Alabama. That’s what would make this unique to me.”
On handling the hostile environment and being able to score early...
“We have started well this year. I think we are much better offensively this year then we had been the past two years. We’ve made some strides there. We’ve been very good starting games offensively here, especially recently. There’s no question that it’s important, in any road game, to get off to a good start. They play very well from ahead; that’s been the case for most of the year. There’s no question getting out of the gates fast is important.”
On the best way for his players to handle a spirited environment…
“You’ve just got to keep your composure. It’s going to be an emotional game. Anytime that you have a familiarity with your opponent, which we do obviously, and a lot of carryover and crossover within the state, you’ve got to keep your composure. We had a couple situations last year where we lost our composure in a couple critical situations, keeping the drive alive, and then an offsetting penalty where we retaliated to a situation we shouldn’t have. At the end of the day, you have to keep your composure and don’t hurt your football team.”
On people in the fan base comparing South Carolina and Clemson...
“Well, I can’t control anything outside of our program and what they do. At the end of the day, I am focused on the University of South Carolina and what we need to do to continue to take steps forward in our program and compete for championships. That’s what we are about, and the commitment level we have shown with our operations facility and the new things we are doing moving forward. I will worry about the things that I can control, and that’s South Carolina.”
On if he will bring up the last two meetings when he addresses his team…
“I think more than anything, we went up there our first year and had some guys that flat out didn’t compete, and that wasn’t going to happen again. That was our message to our football team, about competing. That’s the situation we were in, that first year unfortunately, that’s why we are here. You have to continue to coach through that and continue to build the culture that you want in your organization. We are much better now then we were then.”
On Jake Bentley’s maturation heading into his third game against Clemson…
“He’s a three-year starter. Not only is he better, we are much better around him. Much better on the offensive line, much better at the receiver position, much better at the running back position. We are better overall. It’s not just one person’s responsibility to go out and play well. It’s everyone’s responsibility. We are better around him.”
On the team’s offensive success over the last three games…
“You get to a certain point where you have more confidence in what you’re doing. I think our offensive staff has done a nice job. We spend a lot of time talking about how we want to open the game. They have done a really good job of narrowing down and repping some things earlier in the week for our players to feel comfortable and have the confidence in what they are doing. I think it’s a two-prong effect of our staff doing a good job and our players really carrying it over on game day.”
On the impact a healthy Deebo Samuel has had on the offense this year…
“You look at some of the explosive plays Saturday, the slant down in Gainesville – he’s a running back after he catches the ball. He’s got a very thick lower body. He’s a hard guy to tackle in space. He runs through contact extremely well. When you have a guy like that and you get in space and you’re able to run through contact, and you obviously have the speed that he has, you can create some explosive plays. That’s what he’s done for us. You look at the bubble (screen) this past Saturday, just off the top of my head. He’s on the perimeter, and he stiff-arms a guy. Now we’re inside the 1-yard line. So, those are things he obviously brings to the table because of his strength and his girth in his lower body, and he obviously has tremendous speed. Again, he also attracts a lot of attention and creates opportunities for other people as well.”
On his relationship with Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney…
“Obviously, there’s some crossover, some different things you do. I’ve got respect for what he’s done with their program. He’s done a nice job.”
On controlling the emotions of his secondary Saturday…
“I’m just hoping they line up in the right spot. (laughs) They’ll be fine. Most of those guys have gone down to Gainesville. They’ve been on the road and played in our atmosphere. They’ll be fine.”
On Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables and his defenses’ characteristics…
“Brent was at Oklahoma when I was at Texas. His guys play hard. You turn the tape on, and whatever strengths that they may play to, the biggest compliment I give Brent is his guys play hard. They’re going to step on the field, and he’s going to demand that they play hard. That was true at Oklahoma, and it certainly is true today as well.”
Injury Report: Two former starters could return for South Carolina on Saturday
South Carolina could get a couple of injured one-time starters back for Saturday’s game against Clemson.
Defensive lineman Aaron Sterling has missed the last two games after suffering a knee injury against Ole Miss but returned to practice in a limited capacity on Tuesday. Sterling, who has started four games at end this year, has 15 tackles and a sack this year.
“Hoping to get Aaron Sterling back,” head coach Will Muschamp said Tuesday. “I’m hoping to get him back at least in a part-time role.”
Running back Ty’Son Williams, who has started two games this year, still is wearing a cast due to a broken bone in hand suffered against Ole Miss. The cast has kept him out of the last two games, but the team’s doctors are hoping to have him in a smaller brace by Saturday, which would allow him to return to the field against the Tigers.
Defensive back Jaycee Horn (ankle) practiced Tuesday and will play Saturday, Muschamp said.
The Gamecocks (6-4) take on No. 2 Clemson (11-0) on Saturday at 7 p.m. The Tigers have won four straight in the rivalry.
Will Muschamp Weekly News Conference — 11/20/18
Parker White Media Availability — 11/20/18
Donell Stanley Media Availability — 11/20/18
Zack Bailey Media Availability — 11/20/18
Jacob August Media Availability — 11/20/18
T.J. Brunson Media Availability — 11/20/18
Deebo Samuel Media Availability — 11/20/18
Bryan Edwards Media Availability — 11/20/18
A.J. Turner Media Availability — 11/20/18
Jake Bentley News Conference — 11/20/18
From USC Sports Information