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  1. Will Muschamp’s message to his seniors entering their final game December 14, 2018 Will Muschamp’s final game as a player wasn’t in a bowl. No, his 1994 Georgia Bulldogs didn’t make the postseason. They did, however, close with a 48-10 win against Georgia Tech in the Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate rivalry game, one week after tying No. 3 Auburn. So Muschamp closed his college career with a couple pretty good memories, and that theme flows into the message he’s giving his seniors as they head into the Belk Bowl matchup against Virginia on Dec. 29. “As much as anything, you’d like to go out with a win,” Muschamp said. “Your lasting memory of your last football game, you want to be in a situation where, a victorious locker room is a lot better than the other.” His two seasons have seen both sides of it. His first team sent the seniors out with an overtime loss against South Florida. The Gamecocks rallied after falling behind by double digits, but couldn’t out-duel an explosive Bulls attack and Quinton Flowers. That somber Birmingham Bowl was a stark contrast to the delirious, joyful players marching around the field after rallying from 16 points down and stunning favored Michigan in the Outback Bowl last season. The Gamecocks are four-point favorites against the Cavaliers. Virginia isn’t close to as strong a team as Michigan was, nor does the program have that helmet cache. But it’s one more game, one more shot for a small group of seniors that includes Bryson Allen-Williams, Jacob August, Steven Montac, K.C. Crosby and Rashad Fenton, to play. Allen-Williams is working back from ankle surgery to play. So there’s a message to them to cherish it, and a message to everyone else to support that group. “That, as much as anything, for the young player to understand, this is the last time that these young men will have the opportunity to wear a Gamecock uniform,” Muschamp said. “It’s important to send them out the right way.”
  2. South Carolina will attempt to get defensive end D.J. Wonnum an additional year of eligibility following an injury-shortened 2018 December 13, 2018 .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%} "South Carolina Gamecocks football coach Will Muschamp previews his team's Dec. 29 Belk Bowl matchup with the Virginia Cavaliers" “We are going to try to get a medical redshirt for him,” Gamecocks head coach Will Muschamp said Thursday at a news conference for the Dec. 29 Belk Bowl. If the medical redshirt season is approved, Wonnum would play next year as a junior again and would have the option of returning for the 2020 season. Wonnum played in only five games this year after suffering an ankle injury in the first game of the season. He had 11 tackles and two sacks and will not play in the Belk Bowl against Virginia after having surgery to repair the injury. The team is also applying for medical redshirts for safeties J.T. Ibe and Nick Harvey and linebacker Eldridge Thompson.
  3. Gamecocks down 2 more defensive starters for Belk Bowl December 13, 2018 South Carolina will be down two more starting defensive players for the Belk Bowl. Junior defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw and senior cornerback Keisean Nixon will both miss the Dec. 29 matchup with Virginia, Gamecocks head coach Will Muschamp said Thursday. Kinlaw had surgery recently to repair a labral tear in his hip. “We could have waited until after the bowl, but we wanted to go ahead and get him healthy for his senior season,” Muschamp said. Nixon has a fracture in his neck, which was discovered after the Akron game, Muschamp said. Nixon had experienced soreness and numbness during the season, Muschamp said. “It’s very disappointing for him,” Muschamp said. Muschamp had already confirmed that senior left guard Zack Bailey would miss the Belk Bowl due to a broken fibula he suffered in the team’s regular-season finale, but he offered a glimpse into how the Gamecocks might compensate for his absence. The Gamecocks plan to move junior Donell Stanley to left guard and have some combination of sophomore Chandler Farrell and freshman Hank Manos fill in at center. Aside from the aforementioned injuries, the only other South Carolina player who will miss the bowl game is receiver Deebo Samuel, who is sitting out to prepare for the NFL draft. Who will return off injury list for the Belk Bowl Bryan Allen-Williams, Jaycee Horn, Keir Thomas and Jaylin Dickerson are expected to play, Muschamp said. Gamecocks received good news as defenders Bryson Allen-Williams, Jaycee Horn, Keir Thomas and Jaylin Dickerson will be available for the Belk Bowl. Defensive end Aaron Sterling "should be available" December 29. D.J. Wonnum is still dealing with an ankle injury and at this point will likely apply for a medical redshirt. The Gamecocks (7-5) will take on the Cavaliers (7-5) at noon ET on Dec. 29 in Charlotte.
  4. Football 12/12/2018 11:00:00 AM Samuel Named First-Team All-American by AFCA FBS Coaches Gamecock Senior Recognized as an All-Purpose Performer University of South Carolina senior standout Deebo Samuel has been named to the 2018 AFCA Coaches' All-America first team as an all-purpose performer, it was announced today. Samuel, a 6-0, 210-pounder from Inman, S.C., led the Gamecocks with 62 receptions for 882 yards and 11 receiving touchdowns. He rushed eight times for 26 yards and returned 23 kickoffs for 570 yards, a 24.8-yard average. He also completed one pass attempt for a 13-yard touchdown. Samuel averaged 123.2 all-purpose yards per game and scored 13 touchdowns overall. He ranked tied for fifth in the SEC with 5.2 receptions, seventh with 73.5 receiving yards, fourth in kick return average and second in all-purpose yards per game. Samuel previously was named second-team All-American as a kick returner by the FWAA. He was a first team All-SEC selection as an all-purpose performer by both the Associated Press and the league's coaches. The coaches also named him first-team All-SEC as a return specialist. Both the AP and coaches had him as a second-team all-conference selection at wide receiver. Samuel has accepted an invitation to appear in the Reese's Senior Bowl, which will be held on January 26, 2019, in Mobile, Ala. 2018 AFCA FBS Coaches' All-America Team - First TeamOffensePos. Name Ht. Wt. Cl. School Coach Hometown (High School) WR Jerry Jeudy 6-1 192 So. Alabama Nick Saban Deerfield Beach, Fla. (Deerfield Beach) WR Andy Isabella 5-10 190 Sr. Massachusetts Mark Whipple Mayfield, Ohio (Mayfield) TE T.J. Hockenson 6-5 250 So. Iowa Kirk Ferentz Chariton, Iowa (Chariton) OL *Jonah Williams 6-5 301 Jr. Alabama Nick Saban Folsom, Calif. (Folsom) OL *Mitch Hyatt 6-5 310 Sr. Clemson Dabo Swinney Suwanee, Ga. (North Gwinnett) C Garrett Bradbury 6-3 300 Gr. NC State Dave Doeren Charlotte, N.C. (Christian) OL Beau Benzschawel 6-6 315 Sr. Wisconsin Paul Chryst Grafton, Wis. (Grafton) OL Ben Powers 6-4 313 Sr. Oklahoma Lincoln Riley Wichita, Kan. (Kapaun Mt. Carmel) QB Tua Tagovailoa 6-1 218 So. Alabama Nick Saban Ewa Beach, Hawaii (St. Louis) RB Jonathan Taylor 5-11 221 So. Wisconsin Paul Chryst Salem, N.J. (Salem) RB Darrell Henderson 5-9 200 Jr. Memphis Mike Norvell Batesville, Miss. (South Panola) DefensePos. Name Ht. Wt. Cl. School Coach Hometown (High School) DL Quinnen Williams 6-4 295 R-So. Alabama Nick Saban Birmingham, Ala. (Wenonah) DL Clelin Ferrell 6-4 265 R-Jr. Clemson Dabo Swinney Richmond, Va. (Benedictine College Prep) DL #Christian Wilkins 6-4 315 Gr. Clemson Dabo Swinney Springfield, Mass. (Suffield (Conn.) Academy) DL Dexter Lawrence 6-4 350 Jr. Clemson Dabo Swinney Wake Forest, N.C. (Wake Forest) LB Josh Allen 6-5 260 Sr. Kentucky Mark Stoops Montclair, N.J. (Montclair) LB Devin Bush 5-11 233 Jr. Michigan Jim Harbaugh Pembroke Pines, Fla. (Flanagan) LB Devin White 6-1 240 Jr. LSU Ed Orgeron Springhill, La. (North Webster) DB Deandre Baker 5-11 185 Sr. Georgia Kirby Smart Miami, Fla. (Miami Northwestern) DB Greedy Williams 6-3 184 So. LSU Ed Orgeron Shreveport, La. (Calvary Baptist Academy) DB Deionte Thompson 6-2 196 R-Jr. Alabama Nick Saban Orange, Texas (West Orange-Stark) DB Grant Delpit 6-3 203 So. LSU Ed Orgeron Houston, Texas (IMG Academy) SpecialistsPos. Name Ht. Wt. Cl. School Coach Hometown (High School) P Braden Mann 5-11 190 Jr. Texas A&M Jimbo Fisher Houston, Texas (Cy-Fair) PK Andre Szmyt 6-1 195 R-Fr. Syracuse Dino Babers Vernon Hills, Ill. (Vernon Hills) AP Deebo Samuel 6-0 210 R-Sr. South Carolina Will Muschamp Inman, S.C. (Chapman) *–2017 AFCA All-American #–2016 & 2017 AFCA All-American
  5. FeatheredCock

    Two Gamecocks Earn All-America Honors

    Football 12/10/2018 6:00:00 PM Two Gamecocks Earn All-America Honors Samuel Honored as a Kick Returner; Wonnum Named to Freshman Team December 11, 2018 GCF Staff Report From USC Sports Information Two University of South Carolina football players were recognized as All-Americans, in a pair of announcements made today. Senior Deebo Samuel was named second-team All-America by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) as a kick returner. The six-foot, 210-pounder from Inman, S.C., returned 23 kickoffs this season for a 24.8-yard average, including a 90-yard touchdown return against Ole Miss. Samuel wrapped up his Carolina career as the school's all-time leader in kick return average at 29.0 yards per return, while setting the school record and tying the SEC record with four career kickoff returns for touchdowns. Dylan Wonnum earned Freshman All-America honors as an offensive lineman by 247Sports. The 6-5, 310-pounder took over the right tackle position midway through the season and held that starting slot throughout the season's final six regular season games. He was previously named to the Coaches' Freshman All-SEC squad and was named the SEC Freshman of the Week for his performance in his starting debut against Tennessee. He is the first true freshman to start on the offensive line for the Gamecocks since Mike Matulis in 2011. The Gamecocks (7-5) will face the Virginia Cavaliers (7-5) out of the Atlantic Coast Conference in the 2018 Belk Bowl at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C., on Saturday, Dec. 29. Game time is set for noon and the contest will be televised nationally on ABC.
  6. Bryan McClendon’s comfort zone leads Gamecocks into end zone December 10, 2018 THE STATE When D.J. Shockley talked to Bryan McClendon before the season started, McClendon was excited but cautiously so headed into his first season as an offensive coordinator. When the friends and former Georgia teammates talked again at midseason, McClendon was much more confident, not just in himself but in his South Carolina football players. “He kind of went from, ‘I’m not sure these guys can handle everything I want to do,’ to, ‘We can do what we really want to,’” said Shockley, who was McClendon’s quarterback when the pair won the 2005 SEC championship. “He was way more confident in what he wanted to do, what he was seeing and what he wanted to call during the game.” The difference has shown on the field for the Gamecocks. South Carolina averaged 404 yards and 28.3 points per game through the first six games of the regular season. In the final six, it averaged 476.3 yards and 36.3 points. When D.J. Shockley talked to Bryan McClendon before the season started, McClendon was excited but cautiously so headed into his first season as an offensive coordinator. When the friends and former Georgia teammates talked again at midseason, McClendon was much more confident, not just in himself but in his South Carolina football players. “He kind of went from, ‘I’m not sure these guys can handle everything I want to do,’ to, ‘We can do what we really want to,’” said Shockley, who was McClendon’s quarterback when the pair won the 2005 SEC championship. “He was way more confident in what he wanted to do, what he was seeing and what he wanted to call during the game.” The difference has shown on the field for the Gamecocks. South Carolina averaged 404 yards and 28.3 points per game through the first six games of the regular season. In the final six, it averaged 476.3 yards and 36.3 points.
  7. How McIlwain, Nunez and other Gamecocks transfers did in 2018 December 09, 2018 Transfers are a fact of life in college football. Players want more opportunities, have grade issues or something goes wrong. In Will Muschamp’s first three seasons at South Carolina, transfers have happened often. Looking back at some of the players who left, stayed in college football, and what they did in the 2018 season. ▪ QB Brandon McIlwain, Cal – For a moment in the middle of the year, he’d worked his way into starting, then had his role reduced to running QB and hardly played down the stretch. In some ways that mirrors his lone Gamecocks season. He finished 80 for 129 for 763 yards with two touchdowns, eight interceptions and a 104.4 rating. He ran for 402 yards and four touchdowns. He had one 300-yard passing game and two 100-yard rushing games. ▪ QB Lorenzo Nunez, Southeastern Louisiana – The former passer did a little of everything in nine games for the Lions. He ran for 147 yards and a touchdown, threw for 58 on seven passes and caught 15 yards for 120 yards and a pair of scores. ▪ LB Jalen Dread, North Alabama – Made 28 tackles with a fumble recovery for a 7-3 FCS independent team. ▪ LB Sherrod Pittman, Tennessee Martin – Made 21 tackles, one for loss, with an interception in 11 games with two starts ▪ DE/LB Boosie Whitlow, Louisville – Made four tackles in six games ▪ DB Antoine Wilder, North Carolina A&T – The graduate transfer ended up leading the Aggies with 58 tackles. He had five tackles for loss, two interceptions, four pass breakup-ups and led the No. 5 scoring defense in FCS. ▪ WR Jerad Washington, Jacksonville State – Caught 10 passes for 97 yards. ▪ WR Shaq Davidson, Jacksonville State – caught 21 passes for 243 yards on four touchdowns in nine games. ▪ OL Pika Leota, Benadictine College – Named second-team all-conference for a 13-1 NAIA program which will play for an FCS title on Dec. 15. ▪ WR Jalen Christian, William & Mary – Caught 14 passes for 108 yards and a touchdown for a 4-6 team. ▪ WR Christian Owens, Georgia State – Caught 12 passes for 128 yards and two touchdowns. ▪ OL Trey Derouen, Buffalo – Started one game and played six for a 10-3 team.
  8. FeatheredCock

    Gamecock Football Awards Announced

    Football 12/8/2018 10:25:00 AM Gamecock Football Awards Announced Allen-Williams, Bailey, Bentley and Brunson Named Team Captains GCF Staff Report | December 08, 2018 The University of South Carolina football program held its Senior Banquet at the Zone at Williams-Brice Stadium on Friday night. The following awards were presented: Coaches' Awards Dr. Harris Pastides Outstanding Student-Athlete Award........................ Donell Stanley, Jay Urich, Malik Young, Danny Gordon Community Service Award................................................................................ Spencer Eason-Riddle Strength & Conditioning Award................. Sadarius Hutcherson, Kyle Markway, Bryan Edwards Comeback Player of the Year Award............. Deebo Samuel, Bryson Allen-Williams, K.C. Crosby Offensive Scout Team Award............................................................................................ Hank Manos Defensive Scout Team Award.................................................................. Jason Senn, Javion Duncan Special Teams Scout Team Award.................................................................................... Jaylan Foster Nutrition Award.................................................................................................................. T.J. Brunson Players' Choice Awards Unselfish Teammate - Offense.................................................... Michael Scarnecchia, Jacob August Blake Camper, Dennis Daley Unselfish Teammate - Defense................................. T.J. Brunson, Rashad Fenton, Steven Montac Unselfish Teammate - Special Teams............................... Kiel Pollard, Keisean Nixon, Ben Asbury Tenacity Award - Offense.................................................................................................... Zack Bailey Tenacity Award - Defense................................................................................. Bryson Allen-Williams Tenacity Award - Special Teams......................................................................................... Kiel Pollard Most Valuable Player - Offense (Steve Spurier Award)............................................... Deebo Samuel Most Valuable Player - Defense (Joe Morrison Award)......................... T.J. Brunson, Javon Kinlaw Most Valuable Player - Special Teams (Jim Carlen Award)............ Joseph Charlton, Parker White Leadership Award - Offense............................................................................................... Jake Bentley Leadership Award - Defense.............................................................................................. T.J. Brunson Leadership Award - Special Teams...................................................................................... Kiel Pollard Most Explosive Player - Offense..................................................................................... Deebo Samuel Most Productive Player - Defense............................................................. T.J. Brunson, Jaycee Horn Most Productive Player - Special Teams....................................................................... Deebo Samuel Steve Wadiak MVP Award............................................................................................. Deebo Samuel Rex Enright Captains' Award..................................................... Bryson Allen-Williams, Zack Bailey Jake Bentley, T.J. Brunson PLAYERS MENTIONED #4 Bryson Allen-Williams LB 6' 1" 230 lbs Redshirt Senior #45 Ben Asbury LS 6' 0" 205 lbs Redshirt Senior #78 Zack Bailey OL 6' 6" 314 lbs Senior #19 Jake Bentley QB 6' 4" 224 lbs Junior #63 Blake Camper OL 6' 8" 309 lbs Senior #3 K.C. Crosby TE 6' 1" 229 lbs Redshirt Senior #61 Javion Duncan DL 5' 11" 273 lbs Redshirt Senior #89 Bryan Edwards WR 6' 3" 220 lbs Junior #47 Jaylan Foster DB 5' 10" 184 lbs Redshirt Sophomore #17 Danny Gordon QB 6' 0" 211 lbs Redshirt Senior
  9. South Carolina football names permanent team captains for 2018 season & other awards December 08, 2018 A new set of players will have their picture up in the South Carolina football hall of captains. The Gamecocks held their team banquet on Saturday night and handed out end-of-season awards. That included permanent team captains, which went to Bryson Allen-Williams, Zack Bailey, Jake Bentley and T.J. Brunson. The team rotates who is captain on a game-by-game basis, and elects the permanent ones at year’s end. The rest of USC’s awards: Coaches’ Awards Dr. Harris Pastides Outstanding Student-Athlete Award: Donell Stanley, Jay Urich, Malik Young, Danny Gordon Community Service Award Spencer Eason-Riddle Strength & Conditioning Award: Sadarius Hutcherson, Kyle Markway, Bryan Edwards Comeback Player of the Year Award” Deebo Samuel, Bryson Allen-Williams, K.C. Crosby Offensive Scout Team Award: Hank Manos Defensive Scout Team Award: Jason Senn, Javion Duncan Special Teams Scout Team Award: Jaylan Foster Nutrition Award: T.J. Brunson Players’ Choice Awards Unselfish Teammate - Offense Michael Scarnecchia, Jacob August Blake Camper, Dennis Daley Unselfish Teammate - Defense T.J. Brunson, Rashad Fenton, Steven Montac Unselfish Teammate - Special Teams Kiel Pollard, Keisean Nixon, Ben Asbury Tenacity Award - Offense Zack Bailey Tenacity Award - Defense Bryson Allen-Williams Tenacity Award - Special Teams Kiel Pollard Most Valuable Player - Offense (Steve Spurier Award) Deebo Samuel Most Valuable Player - Defense (Joe Morrison Award) T.J. Brunson, Javon Kinlaw Most Valuable Player - Special Teams (Jim Carlen Award) Joseph Charlton, Parker White Leadership Award - Offense Jake Bentley Leadership Award - Defense T.J. Brunson Leadership Award - Special Teams Kiel Pollard Most Explosive Player - Offense Deebo Samuel Most Productive Player - Defense T.J. Brunson, Jaycee Horn Most Productive Player - Special Teams Deebo Samuel Steve Wadiak MVP Award - Deebo Samuel
  10. 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. Which in itself will be like David and Goliath. David did take down Goliath. Gamecocks will need help just like David did. The Gamecocks will need help in ways like turnovers by the Tigers, off night by Clemson's mighty defense and there very potent offense. Gamecocks defense will have to show up, something they have not shown the past three years. Bently must play lights out, the running game will have to play a crucial part in time procession and the receivers catching in the clutch. Will take a perfect game by the Gamecocks and that still might not be enough. Clemson is that good. I figure Gamecocks will be double-digit underdogs. It could be a very ugly game. I could see Clemson beating Gamecocks by 27 plus. The game is at Death Vallery and they are playing for a natty. In closing a 7-5 season really is a step back. and with the 2019 slate looking even tougher with Alabama, Clemson, and Georgia looming for the 2019 season. All three are contenders to win the natty this year and next season as well. That means Gamecocks 2019 season could be more of the same maybe even worse win-wise. I still feel strongly good about Coach Muschamp and is staff. Top to bottom the staff is solid X and O plus they can recruit with the best. With Alabama, Clemson, and Georgia getting the cream of the crop of players makes it much harder for Muschamp and staff to be more successful. Other words they need help and sadly it is up to the staff to get the players to compete with the teams on the Gamecock schedule. Gamecocks need to beat one or two of the top teams on their schedule, somehow the staff has to be able to get the players to play at a higher level to have a chance for a breakout game. Just one win over any of the three Alabama, Clemson, and Georgia would boost the program help in turning the table in recruiting. Gamecocks have to win more battles with top recruits, give them a reason to come here compete for SEC division titles, SEC championship titles and to play in the playoffs, goals that can be reachable. But will take hard work from all. Need to lay the foundation need to be the A&M'S, Kentucky and keep on beating Tennessee and not losing ground to Florida. This season fans will have to settle for 7-5 and a low bowl along with a recruiting class closing out around 17 to 19 in the rankings. Not bad just not good enough to get where the fans can see championship play on the field of play. Good news talent is on the way in the 2019 class and will help in that direction, even better is the red-hot start they have for the 2020 class. Gamecocks are in on a lot of talented player for 2020. They have a chance to get a few 5-star players which are much needed. Yes, we are coming out of the tunnel and the Gamecocks will see daylight. It will just take time to get a solid base of talent that will compete with the top teams on the Gamecocks schedule year in year out.
  11. Muschamp grades his South Carolina freshman class: ‘Outstanding’ December 06, 2018 THE STATE South Carolina football coach Will Muschamp had to play so many freshmen in 2018, he had trouble remembering one of the most important ones as he listed them off. The new redshirt rule factored in, as did a slew of injuries on the defense, but he played enough that slipping his mind was Jaycee Horn, a opening-day starter who had a case as the team’s best overall defender. So what does he take from Year 1 with a class that saw 15 scholarship true freshmen play, including six or seven in rotations by year’s end? “I think it’s outstanding,” Muschamp said. “We really think we’ve hit on a lot of good players in this class.” Only a few players – some offensive linemen, a backup receiver and a lineman who left the team – didn’t see the field. Four of the newcomers started. Muschamp ran through every freshman who played and gave a few thoughts. ▪ OT Dylan Wonnum: “Coming in and starting at right tackle in some of the venues he played in, and played extremely well.” ▪ WR Josh Vann: “A guy that’s been a real pleasant surprise for us, especially coming off shoulder surgery in January a year ago. He was really shut down through the spring, and not really being cleared to do much of anything until about July. Says a lot about his progress, his intelligence.” ▪ RB Deshaun Fenwick: “A young guy that’s really come along for us. Given his opportunities, we think he’s done very well.” ▪ RB Lavonte Valentine: “Has been a little bit injured, but a guy, when he’s had opportunities on the field, has done some nice things for us.” ▪ OG Hank Manos: “Has gotten a lot stronger in the weight room. Made tremendous strides as far as those things are concerned. Just in a practice setting has done some really nice things for us, and a guy that we’ve been really pleased with.” ▪ S R.J. Roderick: “A guy that really has been forced into action. Played really well and the game is slowing down for him. Very intelligent player and a guy that is going to continue to progress the right way.” ▪ QB Dakereon Joyner: “In his opportunities has done some really nice things for us. His command has continued to improve to where we want it to be.” ▪ DLs Rick Sandidge, Josh Belk, Kingsley “JJ” Enagbare: “JJ Played a fantastic game (against Akron), really got a lot of pressure on the quarterback. First third-down rush was outstanding. Those three guys are SEC defensive linemen. Probably were put in to more action than they needed to this year. On the front end of it, it was tough, but we’re going to certainly benefit from it as we continue to move forward.” ▪ LBs Ernest Jones, Rosendo Louis: “Both are SEC linebackers. Both guys are heavy-handed, smart and good communicators, guys that we’re excited about moving forward.” ▪ CB Israel Mukuamu: “Started at safety (against Akron). Shows the intelligence. Keisean (Nixon) gets banged up, he goes to corner and defended extremely well. … Really excited about him as well.” ▪ S Jonathan Gipson – “Has done some nice things.” With the new redshirt rule, USC will get an extra year each for six freshmen who played and a junior college player, plus the batch that hasn’t yet seen the field. The team still has a decision to make on Jones, who showed well the past three games but can’t redshirt if he plays in the Belk Bowl. But after Year 1 in the new system, Muschamp was pleased with how his team was able to handle things. “I think we’ve pretty much managed it pretty well,” Muschamp said, “as far as those guys are concerned in guys that need the year back and guys that we felt like we needed to play.”
  12. Football 12/6/2018 |GCF Staff Report | From USC Sports Information Wonnum and Horn Named to SEC All-Freshman Team Gamecocks Place Two on All-Freshman Squad Selected by the SEC Coaches University of South Carolina true freshmen Dylan Wonnum and Jaycee Horn were named to the 2018 SEC All-Freshmen team, as selected by the league's 14 head football coaches, it was announced today. Wonnum, a 6-5, 310-pounder from Tucker, Ga., started each of the last five games of the regular season at the right tackle position. He made his first career start in the win over Tennessee, becoming the first freshman to start on the offensive line for the Gamecocks since Mike Matulis in 2011. Wonnum was recognized as the SEC Freshman of the Week for his performance in that contest and, along with older brother, D.J., who was the SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week, became the first set of brothers to be honored by the league in the same week. Horn, a 6-1, 195-pounder from Alpharetta, Ga., was a starter from Game 1 for the Gamecocks. He recorded 39 tackles with 3.0 tackles for loss, and eight pass breakups. He ranked fifth among SEC freshmen with 3.9 tackles per game and second in passes defended with eight. Horn was the SEC Freshman of the Week for his performance against Missouri and was named to 247Sports 2018 Midseason True Freshman All-America team. The Gamecocks (7-5) will face the Virginia Cavaliers (7-5) out of the Atlantic Coast Conference in the 2018 Belk Bowl at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C., on Saturday, Dec. 29. Game time is set for noon and the contest will be televised nationally on ABC.
  13. Was USC’s season a disappointment? Or were expectations set too high? December 04, 2018 THE STATE South Carolina football coach Will Muschamp isn’t one to delve into questions such as this: Was his third season disappointing? But he is a man who often sums things up succinctly. As he fielded questions about the Gamecocks’ trip to the Belk Bowl, he pointed out something simple: South Carolina is a 7-5 football team, and that’s not what he’d prefer. This season opened with high expectations. Maybe too high. Plenty of folks saw nine, maybe 10 wins on the schedule, one littered with rebuild jobs. And yet there were some voices, Las Vegas and several statistical projections, which argued, no, 7½ wins was a better baseline. At this juncture, USC is at that seven-win mark. It would be hard to argue that’s not a disappointment, considering the offensive pieces available and the coaching staff’s history on defense, but it’s maybe not the disappointment those nine- and 10-win projections would say. At the outset, the bedrock of the lofty win projections was this: USC would finally get over the four-year Kentucky hump and a set of four rebuilds, plus a changing of the guard with Missouri’s offense would allow the Gamecocks to go 5-1 or 6-0. Instead, there might have been some underrating of how quickly a power can bounce back with a good coach. USC went 3-3 in those games, with two close losses and three close wins. ▪ Kentucky made the jump many expected USC to, winning nine games and making the Citrus Bowl (would have won 10 if not for a weird Tennessee upset). ▪ Texas A&M went 8-4 in Jimbo Fisher’s first season, which was boosted by a late upset of LSU and holding on late in Columbia. ▪ Florida went from 4-8 to 9-3 and will play in the Peach Bowl, aided by coming back from down 17 against USC. Had folks expected USC to face four teams of nine-win quality and two more eight-win teams, there might’ve been more caution. (Granted, the Gamecocks had the ability to knock each one down a win.) South Carolina did grit out a win with a backup QB against a good Missouri team. It managed to snatch close victories against five-win squads Ole Miss and Tennessee. But even with adjusted expectations, there are a few sticking points. The best chance at a signature win was in Gainesville, and USC was in great position to do it. That would’ve salvaged eight wins and been a victory against a traditional power that was playing well. But the Gators scored on their final three drives and USC could neither score nor move the ball. The other sticking point was the schizophrenic way USC played through the first 5½ games. There were a litany of mistakes against Georgia, Kentucky and in the first half against Texas A&M, and even against Vanderbilt. (The Missouri game was an oddity in itself.) That’s not to say USC would’ve beaten UK or UGA, but it likely wouldn’t have fallen behind 14-0 in the opening moments at home against the Bulldogs or 24-3 at halftime in Lexington. That’s to say nothing of the game against the Aggies, when USC shot itself in the foot, went down 16-0 and didn’t have enough to complete the comeback. So the schedule was harder than expected, but USC also didn’t play that well. The offense took half the season to get going, and by the time it did, injuries ensured the defense, which had its own issues, was in bad shape. Perhaps history will be kinder, and the lofty expectations will recede as time passes. The three 11-win teams in a row from 2011 were at the time often looked at as a missed chance considering none produced an SEC East title, but that part of it seems to have waned. In the end, it’s hard not to see 2018 as a disappointment of sorts, but not one quite so severe as the preseason expectations would say.
  14. Football 12/4/2018 GCF Staff Report | From USC Sports Information Samuel, Bailey and Charlton Earn Coaches' All-SEC Honors Samuel Named to Both First and Second Teams; Bailey and Charlton Named to Second Team A trio of University of South Carolina football players were named to the 2018 SEC postseason All-SEC squads as selected by the league's 14 coaches, it was announced today. Deebo Samuel earned first team honors as both an all-purpose performer and return specialist and was a second-team selection at wide receiver. Offensive lineman Zack Bailey and punter Joseph Charlton joined Samuel on the second-team unit. Samuel, a 6-0, 210-pounder from Inman, S.C., led the Gamecocks with 62 receptions for 882 yards and 11 receiving touchdowns. He rushed eight times for 26 yards and returned 23 kickoffs for 570 yards, a 24.8-yard average. He also completed one pass attempt for a 13-yard touchdown. Samuel averaged 123.2 all-purpose yards per game and scored 13 touchdowns overall. He ranked tied for fifth in the SEC with 5.2 receptions, seventh with 73.5 receiving yards, fourth in kick return average and second in all-purpose yards per game. Bailey was a key figure in helping the Gamecock offense average 32.6 points and 440.2 yards of total offense per game, both high marks since 2013. The 6-6, 314-pounder from Summerville, S.C., started all 12 games during the season and 38 in his career, most on the squad. Carolina had back-to-back games in which it logged 600 yards of offense for the first time in school history, and set a school record with five games of 500 yards of offense. Charlton, a 6-5, 188-pound junior from Columbia, set the school record with a 44.8-yard punting average for a single season, and is the career leader in punting average at 44.0-yards per kick. Of his 43 punts, 24 were fair catches, 16 were inside the 20 and 13 traveled 50 yards or more, with a long of 66. The Gamecocks ranked 12th in the country in net punting with a mark of 40.95 yards. The Gamecocks (7-5) will face the Virginia Cavaliers (7-5) out of the Atlantic Coast Conference in the 2018 Belk Bowl at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C., on Saturday, Dec. 29. Game time is set for noon and the contest will be televised nationally on ABC.
  15. Just how long did the injury list get for the Gamecocks on this year's grid-iron December 03, 2018 Gamecock football team suffered 14 season-ending injuries during the 2018 regular season, and 14 Gamecocks who have starting experience missed at least one game because of injury. Injury list: OUT FOR THE SEASON Javon Charleston – The junior defensive back suffered a season-ending foot injury. Charleston played in seven games and had eight tackles this season. *Daniel Fennell – The junior defensive lineman has started five games but suffered a season-ending knee injury against Clemson. He had 29 tackles and a sack this season. Jovaughn Gwyn – The freshman lineman suffered a season-ending foot injury in the preseason. Nick Harvey – The graduate transfer safety from Texas A&M played in four games this season but has missed the last six games because of a concussion. He could receive a sixth year of eligibility. *J.T. Ibe – The graduate transfer safety started the first four games before suffering a season-ending knee injury. He could receive a sixth year of eligibility. Tayvn Jackson – The redshirt freshman defensive back had to retire from football during the preseason because of the presence of the sickle cell trait. Tyreek Johnson – The freshman defensive lineman suffered a season-ending knee injury in preseason practice. Caleb Kinlaw – The senior running back walk-on suffered a season-ending knee injury in fall camp. *OrTre Smith – The sophomore wide receiver had season-ending surgery to repair a subluxating kneecap in the third week of the season. *Aaron Sterling – The sophomore defensive end has missed the last four games and is questionable for the bowl game because of a meniscus injury in his knee. Chad Terrell – The sophomore wide receiver suffered a torn ACL in the preseason and hasn’t played this year. Eldridge Thompson – The senior linebacker had season-ending shoulder surgery after the third game of the season. He is expected to receive a redshirt this year and return to the team next year. Lavonte Valentine – The freshman running back was limited during the preseason because of a pre-existing knee injury. He has not played this year. *Jamyest Williams – The sophomore defensive back had 32 tackles through the first eight games of the year before having season-ending shoulder surgery. MISSED ONE OR MORE GAMES *Bryson Allen-Williams – The senior defensive lineman had 36 tackles and two sacks through the first six games but suffered an ankle injury against Ole Miss and has missed the last four games. He is expected to return for the bowl game. Josh Belk – The freshman defensive tackle missed seven games because of an ankle injury but returned to the lineup against Chattanooga. *Randrecous Davis – The sophomore wide receiver had a 27-yard catch in the first game of the season but has missed the last six games because of a nagging groin injury. He is not expected to play in the bowl game. *Chavis Dawkins – The junior wide receiver missed the first two games of the season because of an ankle injury. *Mon Denson – The junior running back missed four games in the first half of the season because of a hamstring injury. He has returned to have two 100-plus yard rushing games in the second half of the season. Jaylin Dickerson – The freshman safety has missed the last three games because of a hamstring injury. He is expected to play in the bowl game. *Rico Dowdle – The junior running back started the first six games of the year but he missed the Chattanooga game and was limited against Florida and Clemson because of an ankle injury. J.J. Enagbare – The freshman defensive lineman missed the Clemson game because of a head injury. *Jaycee Horn – The freshman defensive back missed the Clemson and Akron games because of an ankle sprain. Horn has started nine games this year and had 39 tackles and eight pass breakups. He is expected to play in the bowl game. *A.J. Turner – The junior running back, who has been shifted to defensive back this week because of all the injuries at that position, missed the Texas A&M game because of a head injury and didn’t have a carry against Clemson because of a separate injury. *Ty’Son Williams – The junior running back, who has started two games this year, has missed the last four games because of a broken bone in his hand. He is expected to play in the bowl game. *D.J. Wonnum – The junior defensive end missed five games in the first half of the season because of an ankle injury, and he hasn’t been full strength since. He had surgery last week and did not play against Clemson or Akron. He is not expected to return for the bowl game.
  16. These USC juniors have decisions to make. Who’s most likely to leave early? November 29, 201 THE STATE South Carolina’s football coach and quarterback aren’t ready to talk about the Gamecocks juniors and the NFL, but that doesn’t mean it’s too early for USC fans to start to wonder about it. The Gamecocks have five juniors, including quarterback Jake Bentley, who could be NFL Draft picks if they leave college a year early. Bentley said this week that he hasn’t submitted paperwork to the NFL for early evaluation, a practice that has become commonplace around college football and is encouraged by many college coaches. “I don’t know (if I will or not),” Bentley. “I’m just trying to beat Akron right now. There is still a lot that I personally and we as a team haven’t accomplished yet.” Head coach Will Muschamp hasn’t talked to Bentley or any of his potentially draftable juniors about their plans and won’t until the regular season is complete, he said. “We play Akron on Saturday,” Muschamp said. “That’s what we’re worried about right now.” The Gamecocks (6-5) take on Akron (4-7) on Saturday in Williams-Brice Stadium at noon. Until Muschamp or the players are ready to talk about it, the rest of us can speculate about it so here are the four juniors with the greatest pro potential at the moment and our opinion of the likelihood they make an early leap to the NFL. Center Donell Stanley (85 percent) Stanley could be a senior this season but reclassified during the offseason after receiving a medical redshirt exemption from the NCAA. The 6-foot-3, 315-pound Floydale native has started 24 games in his career, including every game this year at center. Stanley said last week that he hasn’t made a final decision, but he showed his hand to some degree by participating in Senior Day ceremonies before the Chattanooga game. Defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw (75 percent) The 6-foot-6, 305-pound Charleston native hasn’t had the kind of statistically dominant season that South Carolina fans hoped he might have, but he’s still got nine tackles-for-loss and 3.5 sacks. And he’s still 6-foot-6, weighs 305 pounds and has the type of athleticism that will impress at the NFL Combine. The premium placed on explosive interior defensive linemen might make an early jump too temping for Kinlaw to pass on. Wide receiver Bryan Edwards (35 percent) Edwards is the only one of these five players who pops up on any of the early draft prospects rankings. He’s considered the eighth-best wide receiver prospect in the country by CBSSports.com. Teammate Deebo Samuel, a senior, is fifth. NFL scouts who have come through Columbia to see Samuel couldn’t help but see that Edwards is 6-foot-3, 220 pounds and averaging 14.9 yards per catch this season. He’s a pro. It’s just a matter of when. Quarterback Jake Bentley (20 percent) Bentley is on the hottest streak of his collegiate career. He’s thrown 14 touchdowns and two interceptions in his last four games, and he’s coming off a 510-yard, five-touchdown performance against the second-ranked defense in the country. At 6-foot-4, 224 pounds, he’s got the prototypical size for a pro quarterback. There might have been a time he was thinking about an early jump, but a slow start to the season probably convinced him that one more year would serve USC and his long-term pro potential better. Middle linebacker T.J. Brunson (10 percent) The Gamecocks’ leading tackler (88 stops) is 6-foot-1, 240 pounds, but he’d have a tough time standing out in a talented group of inside linebacker prospects this year.
  17. Big decision coming for one Gamecock: help the team now … or later November 28, 2018 THE STATE South Carolina football coach Will Muschamp was clear about this: Ernest Jones will play Saturday against Akron. Whether the freshman linebacker will play in the Gamecocks’ bowl game is a much more complicated question. Jones has already played three games, meaning he can get one more before losing his redshirt. He and Josh Belk are the only Gamecocks who still have that in doubt, and Muschamp has already said Belk will play and burn the year of eligibility. But Jones’ status remains up in the air. “We’ve talked about that,” Muschamp said. “It’s something I’d like to discuss with Ernest first. He’s definitely going to play this weekend, and then we’ll have a plan for the bowl game on what we want to do as far as that’s concerned.” The 6-foot-2, 235-pound linebacker appeared destined for a redshirt after a fractured back limited him in spring ball and there was some depth at the linebacker spots. Then that depth vanished, primarily because of injuries at other spots. First Eldridge Thompson was lost for the year. Damani Staley has been in and out of the lineup. Then attrition at the strongside spot moved Rosendo Louis out there, and he had to play more because of a woefully thin secondary. Jones played in the opener deep in a blowout, and then didn’t see the field for eight games. He got in during the blowout of Chattanooga, and then as Louis was stuck on the outside against Clemson, Jones played 24 snaps. He had five tackles against Clemson and Chattanooga, and forced a fumble against the Mocs. If he doesn’t step on the field for the bowl, it’s a whole extra year on campus. That might be something he wants, or it might not be. The team might desperately need him in the bowl, but it might now as well. So the question lingers. “That’s something we’ve discussed,” Muschamp said
  18. Muschamp weekly news conference Notes/Quotes plus videos coach & selected players GCF Staff Report November 27, 2018 VIDEOS BELOW Opening Statement "(We play) Akron here at Williams-Brice Stadium at noon (Saturday). It's the last home game for 20 seniors. Certainly, we need to send them out the right way and have our crowd out in full force to send these guys off right. There's a lot they've given to our program. I really appreciate them. "Akron is 4-7, but they beat Northwestern earlier in the year. Certainly, we need to have a great week of preparation. I've got a lot of respect for Coach (Terry) Bowden. I worked for him in 1995 and 1996 at Auburn. He gave me my first job. I'm certainly appreciative of him for that, and I'm very familiar with their staff and most of the guys there at Akron. They'll do a good job and play well and coach well. "Kato Nelson, the quarterback, is a dual threat guy and can do both. They really use him in the RPOs and some in the run game. He throws the ball well. (Van) Edwards is a really good back with a big lower body. We're going to need to play the run better. (Andre) Williams and (Kwadarrius) Smith are two guys on the outside that really catch your eye as far as offensively, guys that make plays down the field for the. (Brian) Bell is a really good linebacker for them. They're primarily a four-down team. Both safeties, (Jordan) George and (Alvin) Davis are really good players. They do a nice job pressuring the quarterback in the different packages that they have." On the team's injury situation and positional updates "Jaycee Horn was in a boot today. We still may get him for Saturday. We'll see how that goes. In pregame Saturday night, he just didn't feel good about pressing off and such. We still have an opportunity to get him back. Other than that, we should be good to go. A.J. Turner is going to rep at nickel for us this week. A.J. is a guy that, on special teams, you really see instinctively him being able to make plays and field blocks. He is a good tackler and a good space player. He has the look to be a good man coverage guy. He's a good athlete, so we're going to give him the opportunity to play on the defensive side of the ball this week. On what he tells his players after this past Saturday's game and heading into this week's game against Akron "I think it's the approach of your program. It's not something you come in that week and say 'this is what we do.' It's what we talk about every week of the season, and we mean it, and we move forward. We, as coaches, spend the same amount of time in the office whether we are playing Akron, or whoever we are playing. It's part of our preparation; our players understand that. Our players understand it's not about the logo and who we are playing, it's about us; it's about our preparation, and how we prepare through the week to get ready for our ball game. Every game is a mindset game, and you have to have the right mindset, the right energy, the right focus, the right effort, toughness, and discipline on Saturday afternoon at noon. Those are all things we talk about all the time. The opponent is nameless and faceless; it's our job to make a decision to be who we are on game day. And you have to do that by preparing the right way." On when they decided to move A.J. Turner over to the defensive side of the ball "AJ's been kidding with me for three years about playing defense. He's a guy that showed, special teams-wise, we have some depth at the running back position right now, and have some guys that we have confidence in. It's nothing that he hasn't done at running back; it's just that there is an opportunity possibly for him to move over and certainly help us this week, and we will see how it goes moving forward. He has a great attitude and came in to meet with (Travaris Robinson) for a lot of Monday and to go through and just make sure he's learning some different concepts that we teach and being able to get him on the line and playing. AJ's extremely bright." On if he though Jake Bentley should have been SEC Player of the Week "I'm going to try and be politically correct. We are not big into individual awards here. It's not who we are; it's about the team. Jake would be the first one to tell you that. Jake played well because of how he prepares, how he watches film, how he practices. Jake played well because our offensive line played well, because they prepared the right way. I told our team, offensively, we are playing really good football, and I think a lot of it goes back to our preparation and how we practice. Our offensive line is straining in practice. I'd say the same for the other three position groups offensively: the tight ends, the receivers, the running backs, those guys are all practicing and competing the right way, and that's a credit to them. But I do think it is important, when a young man does some special things, to get recognized for it. He's the first quarterback in Southeastern Conference history to throw for that many yards against a top-five team, and five touchdowns. In the history of the league, (it) has never been done before. That's pretty impressive, in my opinion. But I have learned; I've been in this league a long time, so I have learned that we have a saying: 'it just means more.' It just means more sometimes, depending on what your logo is. Call it like it is." On the hiring of Mack Brown at the University of North Carolina "I'm happy Coach Brown is back in it. Good situation. He was obviously at North Carolina and had great success there. He will do a great job. He's an outstanding football coach, you look at what he did at the University of Texas. When he came there, obviously they were struggling with a lot of different things, and (he) really built that program to where it is now. He will do a really good job. You learn from everybody you work for, as far as different ways to do things and different ways to manage things, and I think Mack was a master at managing the organization. He did a fantastic job with those things and I really learned a lot from him, and certainly it helped me in my career. I am very appreciative of that." On the message he is giving his team this week "I talked to the team this morning and said it's interesting how things work sometimes, how the Good Lord works in mysterious ways. Next year we have two open days. We practiced that this year, because of the hurricane. We had an open date, then played Vanderbilt, then had our normal open date that had already been scheduled. Next year we have five games, and then an open date, then we play Georgia, then we play six and have an open date, then play Clemson. So, we have been able to go through that process now. We understand that. The guys will tell you; I like to be able to practice things, regardless of whether it's situational football. Our goal is to go to Atlanta, and if you go to Atlanta, you will be practicing at this time next year. We need to get used to practicing this week." On if this past Saturday's game can carry over into next year through the offseason "We lost the game; that's the bottom line. We went up there to win the football game, and we came back with a loss. Other than that, just going back schematically and looking at things you did well and some things you probably would have done differently. I do think for some very young players that we have on the field, I think that you can gain some confidence from it, and we move forward." On depth at the buck position "(Kingsley Enagbare) is a guy that can move outside and do that. We have some combinations of Rosendo Louis, who can do that as well, a guy that can go play on the edge if need be. We'll have some bodies there." On the addition of the Dec. 1 game and the adjustments the Gamecocks have made with bowl preparation and recruiting "Obviously, we got an extra week of the season. We don't know what bowl we're going to, so once we know Sunday we'll make the appropriate adjustments. It changes recruiting. We'd have been on the road (last) Sunday. The majority, I'd say all of the staff will be out Thursday. We practice in the morning, so we're able to go out Thursday afternoon and Thursday night. The majority of us will be out Friday around our walkthroughs that we have here in preparation for the game. During the season, the coordinators and myself and both line coaches, we typically stay in during the season, so coaches, we do go out recruiting on Friday. We do get, I think, 42 evaluations in the fall, so it's not totally different." On the maturity of Jake Bentley in the second half of the season "I think that you don't want to take away anybody's personality as a player, but you certainly don't want to let your emotions affect your outcome, your productivity as a player. He's an emotional player, so you don't want to take that away from him, but I think he's certainly channeled that at times maybe better. He's playing efficient football, so we need to continue doing what we're doing. On the possibility of A.J. Turner playing defense next season "We'll look at that. This is something we've talked about before as a staff. We'll see what's best for our football team and what's best for A.J." On the rotation of defensive linemen with the recent slew of injuries "The good news is we do have some depth. Jabari Ellis has only played, I think, in one game, so he'll be up for this week. You look at Javon (Kinlaw) and Kobe (Smith) inside, (along with) Josh (Belk) and (Rick Sandidge). (Kingsley Enagbare) is going to play more end and buck in this game. Shameik (Blackshear) and Griffin Gentry played a good bit Saturday night. Brad Johnson did a nice job Saturday night, so we've got plenty of guys to go around, and we've got some depth at the position." On the strengths of Akron's defense "They have two pick-sixes against Northwestern. They've done a nice job. You look at the two safeties that are really active in man and zone. They do a really nice job at linebacker. (Brian) Bell is very active. He makes a lot of plays. He's from Lowndes County down in Valdosta, Ga. The two defensive ends do a nice job pressuring the quarterback. Todd Stroud, their defensive coordinator, is a guy I've known for a long time. He does a really good job defensively. His background is with the defensive front. He was with Chuck Amato at NC State, and they had some great defensive lines there. They're well-coached. The do a nice job." On the positions he'd like to emphasize in recruiting and the possibility of changes within the coaching staff "From a recruiting standpoint, obviously defensive back. I'd like more offensive linemen. You're never going to turn down a good defensive lineman if that emerge there. That's obviously a little bit of an emphasis, but again, you're always trying to sign the best players that can help your organization. That's the key part of that. As far as the coaching stuff is concerned, we're on the verge of some really good things here, moving into the new Ken and Cyndi Long Operations Facility in the first of January. We're on the verge of some special things here, and (with) our staff, I don't anticipate any changes. I know our guys are working extremely hard (and) excited about our future." Will Muschamp Weekly News Conference — 11/27/18 Jake Bentley News Conference — 11/27/18 Will Tommie Media Availability — 11/27/18 Kobe Smith Media Availability — 11/27/18 Michael Scarnecchia Media Availability — 11/27/18 Kiel Pollard Media Availability — 11/27/18 Kyle Markway Media Availability — 11/27/18 Sadarius Hutcherson Media Availability — 11/27/18 Danny Gordon Media Availability — 11/27/18 Chandler Farrell Media Availability — 11/27/18 Zack Bailey Media Availability — 11/27/18 Jacob August Media Availability — 11/27/18 From USC Sports Information
  19. Which young Gamecock linemen are getting more work, standing out to Will Muschamp November 27, 2018 THE STATE South Carolina’s defensive line has taken it on the chin this season. The top three edge players, Bryson Allen-Williams, D.J. Wonnum, Aaron Sterling, are all done for the year. Against Clemson, tackle Keir Thomas was knocked out, Javon Kinlaw was hurt but later returned and freshman Kingsley Enagbare was out with an undisclosed injury. So the next group had to step in. The outcome wasn’t great against a Tigers front heavy on All-ACC talent, but Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp saw a few bright spots. “I thought Ricky (Sandidge) did a nice job,” Muschamp said. “I though Ricky showed up, flashed, made some plays. Got to continue to work on pad level, that’s something that has to continue to come. Brad Johnson ended up playing right at 90 snaps in the game, logged his most playing time, did some nice things. “Josh Belk, again pad level, we’ve got to continue to improve on.” Sandidge, a four-star freshman who officially picked the Gamecocks on signing day, made seven tackles, including USC’s only one for loss. He was not an early enrollee, but has been at the back end of the rotation all year. Sandidge had to step into the breach as his spot was primarily held by Wonnum and Allen-Williams. He managed four tackles in the pass-rushing role, playing only a few miles away from his home town of Pendleton. As the Gamecocks turn toward facing Akron to close out the regular season, Muschamp promised to try out one new name, as USC goes even deeper into that rotation. “We’ll try and get Jabari Ellis up this week,” Muschamp said. “Try to get him running a little bit, and then we’ll get JJ back this week, which will be good. Kobe Smith continues to have a steady year. MJ (Webb) got some snaps, Javion Duncan, who is a walk-on, got some snaps.” Ellis is a junior college transfer who projected to help shore up the middle. The 6-foot-3, 280-pounder never really got up to speed after enrolling for the summer and has only played in USC’s first two games this season. USC was replacing a few key players up front coming off last season and between injuries and other factors, hasn’t been that effective this season. Opponents have run the ball efficiently, and there hasn’t been much disruption. Outside Allen-Williams and maybe Kinlaw, USC should return most of the group for next year. But that won’t help this week, as the staff will go even deeper into the group looking for more from the younger players. “It’s a good thing we do have some depth at the position,” Muschamp siad. “Obviously hurting with some of the guys that are injured, especially on the edge.”
  20. Jake Bentley changes make him a better Quarterback November 26, 2018 On Oct. 23, three days after South Carolina was beaten 26-23 by Texas A&M in Williams-Brice Stadium, Gamecocks junior quarterback Jake Bentley met with the media and said he intended to get a better, or at least different, handle on his emotions. In the five games since, Bentley has completed 69.7 percent of his passes for 1,603 yards, 15 touchdowns and three interceptions, and South Carolina is 3-2. The Gamecocks (6-5) finish the regular season Saturday against Akron (4-7) in Williams-Brice Stadium. “He’s an emotional guy,” head coach Will Muschamp said of Bentley. “That’s why he’s got the respect of his teammates. Are there times at that position you need to tone it down? Certainly you could point to things, but I’m glad he’s our quarterback. The confidence that our football team and our staff have in him is pretty evident. His emotions make him who he is. I think he’s played really good football. I thought he was pretty emotional Saturday night and I thought he played well. His emotions are fine with me.” Muschamp said that a day after Bentley threw for a career-high 510 yards, five touchdowns and one interception against the nation’s No. 2 defense in a 56-35 loss to Clemson. Muschamp also said he hasn’t “noticed a whole lot of change” in Bentley’s emotions since the quarterback pledged to channel those emotions differently. “He’s a competitive son of a gun now, he gets after it,” Muschamp said. Bentley’s proclamation came after a video showing him slamming his helmet into a chair on the sideline against Texas A&M. In the five games prior to that, he had completed 60.5 percent of his passes for 1,151 yards, 10 touchdowns and seven interceptions. “I have to be the same guy the whole game,” he said that week. “Motivation is temporary. We have to have the mindset to be fired up and be ready to go each and every play, each and every quarter. I have to be that even-keeled guy. If it’s going good or going bad, I want to be that guy that is consistent. Obviously, I’m an emotional guy. I get fired up more than some others, but I have to be able to control that.” He’s controlling that, and everything else, better since that moment.
  21. Five things we learned from South Carolina’s loss to Clemson November 26, 2018 THE STATE South Carolina (6-5) fell 56-35 to No. 2 Clemson (12-0) on Saturday in Memorial Stadium in Clemson, S.C. Here are five things we learned from the game: Bryan McClendon is making himself a hot commodity The Gamecocks’ first-year offensive coordinator earned himself some attention on Saturday night and will start popping up on smaller school head coaching candidate lists sooner rather than later after South Carolina gained 600 yards against the nation’s second-ranked defense. It was the 11th-most yards the Gamecocks have ever gained and the second-most they have gained in this rivalry. Last week, South Carolina had 602 yards against Chattanooga, making this the second season in school history that the Gamecocks have had 600 or more yards in two games. (The first team to do it was Steve Taneyhill’s 1995 South Carolina team.) South Carolina has had more than 500 yards of offense five times this season. ‘Next man up’ is a great slogan but a bad way to live South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp and his players are conditioned to say “next man up” every time another defender gets injured, but that only works for so long. The Gamecocks’ battered defense had almost no chance against the Tigers without Bryson Allen-Williams, D.J. Wonnum, Aaron Sterling, Jaycee Horn, etc. Clemson gained 744 yards, the only team ever to top 700 against the Gamecocks. There’s little reason to expect it to get any better in the final two games of the season, against Akron this week and in the bowl game. Jake Bentley put his big game blues to rest That’s tough to do in a 21-point loss, but throwing for five touchdowns and one interception on the road against the No. 2 team in the country is tough, too. The Gamecocks’ junior quarterback threw for a career-high 510 yards (on a career-high 50 attempts). He needed to be almost perfect to give South Carolina a chance against the Tigers, and he almost was. Bentley is now 1-10 against ranked teams, but he (and his fans) now have the faith he can change that statistic next season. Deebo Samuel made the most of his opportunity After a quiet season, South Carolina’s senior wide receiver needed a big game in a big game to get himself back in the front of the mind of NFL talent evaluators. He got it. Samuel had 10 catches for a career-high 210 yards, including a 75-yard touchdown catch, and three total touchdowns. He also had catches for 44 and 32 yards, showing off the same explosiveness he flashed at the start of 2017. College football is just different now The Gamecocks and Tigers combined for 1,344 yards, a record for the rivalry. South Carolina averaged 8 yards per play. Clemson averaged 8.1. It was the fourth straight game in which the Gamecocks and their opponent have combined for more than 900 yards. Part of that is the state of the South Carolina defense, but part of it is the evolution of college football. Offensive coordinators are a step ahead of defensive coordinators at the moment and rules regarding player safety have only amplified that advantage. Expect more yards from everyone in the future.
  22. Who’s responsible for Parker White’s turnaround? This former Gamecock kicking great November 22, 2018 THE STATE When most Gamecock fans remember Parker White’s freshman season, they recall a maddeningly inconsistent kicker who had plenty of leg but struggled mightily at times to put the ball through the uprights. All told, White made just four of 14 field goal attempts from 40 or more yards en route to a 56 percent make rate, 104th among 108 qualified kickers. But amid that trying season, there was a field goal attempt White can recall well — a 40-yard make early in the fourth quarter of South Carolina’s rivalry game with Clemson, a game USC lost 34-10. That kick was the start of a stretch, still ongoing, in which White has hit 16 of 19 field goal attempts, an 84.2 percent rate. In 2018 alone, his 86.7 percent rate ranks tied for 12th in the nation and tied for third in the SEC. “I remember Clemson was like a (40-yarder), and I didn’t make too many of those last year, so that was a big confidence booster,” White said. “And so ever since that kick I think I’ve been confident, and also the work I put in in the offseason has been really beneficial.” There have been several keys to White’s dramatic improvement — for one, coach Will Muschamp has only had him attempt three field goals of 40 or more yards, and he’s continued to hammer home chip shots. But even on those longer attempts, White’s make rate is up. Part of that is a more focused, simplified approach, he said. “It’s more or less going one kick at a time and really focusing on my job,” White said. “I think freshman year, a lot of times I maybe focused on what stadium we were in or what uniforms we were wearing, but this year I’ve kinda focused mainly on just being where my feet are and taking it one kick at a time.” Perhaps most key, however, has been White’s offseason work with another Gamecock kicking great — Ryan Succop, now with the NFL’s Tennessee Titans. Succop ranks third all-time in South Carolina program history in both field goals made and field goals attempted. “One of the main things is he taught me a pretty good warmup to do as far as stretching and a good routine with that,” White said. “But also like some technique things, some specifics like steps and those technical details. Obviously he’s a very talented kicker and one of the best in the league.” Succop currently ranks 11th in the NFL in field goals made this season and 15th in field goal percentage. He also ranks 11th among active kickers in field goals made and 54th in league history. Despite Succop’s schedule as a professional and the fact that he and White never came close to overlapping at USC, the two have still exchanged texts throughout the season, another boost for White in his bounce-back campaign. And though the two have yet to speak this week ahead of White facing off against the same team that sparked his turnaround, White does have an easy way of keeping up with Succop. “I see that he’s doing pretty well. I got him on my fantasy team,” White said.
  23. Four-star Gamecocks freshman Josh Belk got his most work in months. How’d he do? November 18, 2018 The arc of Josh Belk’s season at South Carolina hasn’t been a smooth one. After the former four-star defensive tackle transferred from Clemson, he had to wait until days before the season opener to find out if he could play this year. He got in against Coastal Carolina and Georgia, both blowouts, and then got shelved because of an ankle injury and conditioning issues. It had been seven games across nine weeks since the big defensive tackle had stepped on the field for the Gamecocks, but Saturday in a 49-9 win against Chattanooga, he got his chance and got it early. “I’d like to watch the tape, but I saw he defeated some blocks, got off some blocks,” Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp said. “They ran the power Sam to our sideline twice, and he disengaged on the center well and made a play. So just continuing to come on. When you’re a young player, the game’s just got to continue to slow down for you and the more turns and reps you get, the better you’ll get at it.” For the game, he made a pair of tackles, and he was playing early because of a spate of injuries on the defensive front. Because of injuries at end, Keir Thomas spent some time on the outside. Javon Kinlaw didn’t play much with a nagging injury, and even freshman Rick Sandidge had to be helped off the field. They Gamecocks are set to return their three young blue chip tackles – Belk, Sandidge, Kingsley Enagbare – next season, along with Kobe Smith and Kinlaw if he doesn’t go to the NFL. USC has three more games, so it remains to be seen if Belk will end up redshirting. He can play one more this season and still save a year of eligibility. His Saturday was just about getting back out there and getting some work against a perhaps overmatched foe. He’s had an off path, enrolling at Clemson, leaving after a semester, landing in Columbia and then dealing with adversity. And his teammates recognize what it meant for him to make that return to the field. “He’s come a long way,” middle linebacker T.J. Brunson said. “He’s been working his tail off since the ankle injury thing. He’s a guy who’s hungry. He wants to make play. “When he’s out there, he’s playing really hard. That’s all you can really ask for.”
  24. 9 Chattanooga 6-5 49 South Carolina 6-4 Score By Quarters Team 1st 2nd 3rd 4th F Chattanooga 0 3 0 6 9 South Carolina 14 14 7 14 49 Game Recap: Football | 11/17/2018 11:48:00 PM | By PETE IACOBELLI (AP Sports Writer) | GCF Staff Report Bentley's 4 TDs Lift South Carolina to 49-9 Win Over Mocs With Gallery, Videos, Stats & More VIDEOS POSTGAME: Will Muschamp on Chattanooga — 11/17/18 POSTGAME: Jake Bentley, Shi Smith on Chattanooga — 11/17/18 POSTGAME: T.J. Brunson, A.J. Turner on Chattanooga — 11/17/18 POSTGAME: Jason Senn, Daniel Fennell on Chattanooga — 11/17/18 Story Links PHOTO GALLERY GAME STATISTICS POSTGAME NOTES POSTGAME QUOTES Next Game: at Clemson 11/24/2018 | 7 p.m. ESPN Gamecock Sports Network from IMG College BUY TICKETS LISTEN LIVE FULL SCHEDULE ROSTER COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Quarterback Jake Bentley chatted with one of his favorite targets in receiver Deebo Samuel, honored on Senior Night who reflected on how much he'd miss playing at South Carolina. "I told him in winning this game, we'd have a little bit more time together," Bentley said. Bentley threw for 339 yards and tied his career best with four touchdowns as the Gamecocks became bowl eligible with a 49-9 victory over Chattanooga on Saturday night. A.J. Turner, a junior with eight career touchdowns coming in, accounted for three TDs for the Gamecocks (6-4) against the Mocs (6-5) of the Football Championship Subdivision. "It's not about the touchdowns, it's about us being able to play together," Turner said. The win was an important one for the Gamecocks (6-4), whose time was running out at trying to make the postseason. South Carolina goes to powerhouse state rival No. 2 Clemson next week where it will be heavy underdogs. Without the Chattanooga win, the Gamecocks' postseason hopes would've rested on a makeup contest with Akron on Dec. 1. "We've been through adversity this year," Bentley said. "It's great to know we've got some postseason ball ahead of us." The Gamecocks, who fell to FCS opponent The Citadel here three years ago, didn't want to mess around with Chattanooga. Bentley and Turner made sure they started fast with touchdowns on their first three possessions. Bentley was 5-of-6 passing on South Carolina's opening possession, including a 16-yard TD throw to Turner. He was at it again the next time he got the ball with a 12-play drive that ended with a 6-yard TD throw to Turner. Turner was front and center on the next drive, too, finishing the series with an 11-yard scoring run. Turner had only one touchdown in eight games this season before breaking out big against Chattanooga in the opening half. Bentley, who was 25 of 29 passing, didn't stop after the break in adding scoring throws of 53 yards to Shi Smith and 61 yards to Samuel. Bentley tied his career high of four touchdowns first accomplished in a win over Coastal Carolina in September. Samuel finished with five catches for 112 yards, his second straight game with over 100 yards receiving. Chattanooga was overmatched from the start. The Mocs had a field goal and an extra point blocked. They were just one of eight on third-down tries in the opening half. Chattanooga's lone TD came when receiver Bryce Nunnelly threw a 2-yard scoring pass to a wide open quarterback Nick Tiano with less than five minutes left in the game. They were in the thick of the Southern Conference race the first two months of the season, but fell to 0-3 in November with this loss. Mocs coach Tom Arth was pleased with his team's effort. "I thought we left some plays out there," he said. "That's the hard part." GAME CHANGER A.J. Turner was on the receiving end of two touchdown passes from Jake Bentley in the first quarter of the win over Chattanooga. Turner caught three passes for 34 yards and rushed for 65 yards and a touchdown as the Gamecocks never trailed in the 40-point win. KEY STAT 602 — The Carolina offense had 602 yards in the win over the Mocs as Jake Bentley went 25-for-29 for 339 yards while Deshaun Fenwick, who played in his first career game as a Gamecock, eclipsed the 100-yard barrier, rushing for 112 yards on 17 carries as South Carolina earned its sixth win of the season, becoming bowl eligible. UP NEXT Carolina faces Palmetto State rival and #2/2 Clemson Saturday night (Nov. 24) at 7 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN. From USC Sports Information
  25. 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.

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