Coastal Carolina Week Football Media Availability
Gamecocks Host Coastal Carolina at Noon Saturday on SEC Network
Select Will Muschamp Quotes
“The season has started. It’s great to be at Williams-Brice Stadium for our opener. We’re going into our third season. Our previous two openers have been on the road, so we’re excited to be here at noon on Sept. 1 against Coastal Carolina. I think we’ve made some progress through training camp. We’ll certainly find out Saturday. There are no re-dos. You can’t blow the whistle and start over again on game day. Our guys understand that. We’ve had good preparation to this point. Obviously we still have a Wednesday and Thursday practice and a Friday walkthrough (to go), then we tee it of on Saturday at noon. I cannot wait to get in front of our fan base. I’m excited about that as well.
“Coastal Carolina – (head coach) Joe Moglia last year had health issues, so it’s good to get him back on the sideline. He’s done a really good job there at Coastal. Jamey Chadwell, their offensive coordinator, did a fantastic job at Charleston Southern. He presents a lot of issues for you defensively as far as the spread run game with some option principles. They have two receivers that can really run on the outside, five returning starters on the offensive line, and (Kilton) Anderson, their quarterback, is a dual-threat guy who can do both things for them.
“Marvin Sanders, their defensive coordinator, is new. He was with Bo Pelini at Nebraska, one of the better defenses in college football at that time. When you’re preparing for a new coordinator, you’ve got to get ready for it all. You have no idea some of the things they might try and do, so we need to be able to adjust and adapt during the game. We certainly will be able to do that. Marvin is a really good football coach and will do a good job.
“We need to be well-prepared for Saturday. I like our preparation to this point. Obviously, we’re not there yet.
“Injury-wise, just to update you: Wyatt Campbell still has about a month before he will be cleared. Chad Terrell, we think, will be cleared at the end of September. It will be good to get Chad back. Jesus Gibbs has about three more weeks. Lavonte Valentine we think has got another week, week-and-a-half. Chavis Dawkins will probably be doubtful for Saturday at this point based on his ankle. I think we’ll get him back, certainly, in another week. Tyreek Johnson and Caleb Kinlaw are obviously out for the season.
“Very disappointing news from last week – Tavyn Jackson was forced to give up football. He has a sickle cell trait and based on how it was explained to me, you have certain percentages of the sickle cell trait, and unfortunately his is very high. After meeting with his family, Dr. (Jeff) Guy, Clint Haggard and our medical staff to hear all of the different avenues we traveled down, as far as seeing experts to try to find a solution and help Tavyn, this was the best answer. It’s very unfortunate. He’s an extremely talented young man as a player but even more so off the field. He’s extremely bright. He’ll be successful in whatever he does. That’s always a very difficult conversation to have, but his life is more important than football. That’s for sure. I hate that for him and us, but we’re certainly here to support him. He’s going to stay at the university and get his degree and help our football program in some form. I’m looking forward to that.”
On the kicker situation, which was won in camp by Parker White
“I think Parker has earned the job in camp. Certainly, like any other position, if he produces well at the position certainly he’s going to continue to kick for us. If we feel like we need to make a change to help our football team, it’s no different than any other position.”
On the difference between fall camp and game week
“Well, I think they are tired of hitting each other. That’s the first thing. Training camp, at a certain point, becomes very repetitive as far as the things we do. Now you’re seeing some different schemes with scout team. You’re seeing some different things as far as film is concerned. You’re having the opportunity to go play in Williams-Brice stadium in front of 80,000 people. They’re all looking forward to that. To have an opportunity to play in an environment like that, just sitting here, it gets me excited. So I know our players feel the same way.”
On the running back situation, which has Rico Dowdle, Mon Denson, A.J. Turner and Ty’Son Williams listed as co-starters
“I would envision all four of them playing. All deserve it. All four of those guys have had really good camps. Again, we need to get competition at every position like that. You understand that you’ve got an opportunity to go strain every single day, to earn your opportunity to play. They’ve made our football team better, because of that competition.”
On the progress of freshman Jaycee Horn, who is listed at the top of the depth chart out of fall camp
“He has really good man coverage skills. He uses his length very well. He finishes on the top of routes. When I sit there and ask our receivers, I go to Bryan Edwards and Deebo Samuel and say ‘who do you like?’ They say ‘Jaycee is good, coach.’ I kind of trust players on that. He’s got good zone instincts, and repeatedly, through camp, he’s making plays on the ball. He has a ball-hawk mentality. He gets his hands on the ball a lot. When you’re able to do that, I tell guys all the time: we’re going to figure out a way to get you on the field if you get your hands on the ball.'”
On the biggest areas of improvement for the offense over the past month
“I think there are several things. First off, our tempo has been much better, as far as us getting on the ball and dictating the tempo of the game. I think that’s Bryan (McClendon’s) mentality as a play-caller. It all goes back to the mentality of the play-caller. (We’re) very aggressive in what we’re trying to do down the field. In order to create explosive plays, you’ve got to take some shots. To me, I go back to the tempo, what we’re playing with, is going to help us in the run game. It’s going to help us in protecting Jake. It’s going to help us sustain more drives.”
On the team’s biggest unknowns heading into the first week of the season
“The unknown would be depth on both sides of the line of scrimmage. I mentioned some young men earlier – Dylan Wonnum, Jovaughn Gwyn, Jordan Rhodes – those guys haven’t played. Chandler Farrell (hasn’t played) in game-like situations. Rick Sandidge, (Kingsley) Enagbare – those guys have not played in game-type situations. (There are) unknowns with some of the freshmen listed in the two-deep. They’re definitely going to play. How are they going to respond in front of 80,000 people? Those are always concerns going into the game. I have the utmost confidence in all of those young men, but how will they respond when the lights turn on? That’s something you never know.”
On the tight end situation
“All four guys (K.C. Crosby, Jacob August, Kyle Markway and Kiel Pollard) will play. K.C., obviously, does a really good job in the slot. He’s also a guy that will play in the C-area and block. Kiel has really elevated himself in the slot. Jacob can do both, and Kyle can do both. Again, all four of those guys will play, and depending on how well they play, we’ll determine (playing time) moving forward. Evan Hinson is going to get some snaps as well. We’ve got some different packages for him. That’s a guy who really elevated himself as camp continued to move forward.”
On the new rule allowing players to play four games and maintain their redshirt season, and how his staff will manage potential redshirts
“We’ve had a lot of discussions about that, and we had another one yesterday. Situationally, who are we playing? We’ve had discussions about certain individuals. Given the opportunity, going into the game, we’d like to be able gave them game experience. It all goes back to the same thing – is he going to help us win the football game? If so, then we’re playing him, period, end of sentence. Then you’ve got those guys that you star, you give them an asterisk to say ‘okay, if we get the opportunity, we’re going to play this guy in the game.’ But again, those situations, we plan for game day, and sometimes the situation changes on game day (depending) on how the game is flowing and how the game is going. We plan for that, and obviously we’re prepared for a lot of different scenarios that could happen.”
On his mentality the night before the season-opening game
“I am excited about it. You prepare your football team. You do everything you can do to put them in a position to be successful. You make sure they’re loose, they’re focused, and they understand the fun is in winning. That’s where my mindset is, once the hay is in the barn, so to speak. We get through with our walkthroughs on Friday. We have a team dinner on Friday night. We’ve got a couple of walkthroughs here and there. We’re just trying to make sure they’re focused on what they need to do to be successful. The great thing is we’re kicking off at noon, so when we get up in the morning, we’re ready to go. Pregame meal is at 8 o’clock. Special teams walkthrough is at 7:45. We’ll have another walkthrough before we get on the buses. Then we’ll get on the buses, come to Williams-Brice and see the Gamecock nation.”