Missouri Week Football Media Availability
Gamecocks Host Tigers on Saturday at Noon on SEC Network
“We’re looking forward to Saturday, obviously, playing Missouri here at Williams-Brice Stadium. (It’s a) noon kickoff. We need our crowd to be there and be loud. (Missouri does) a lot at the line of scrimmage. They have a good football team, and we need to be out in full force. I know our players will appreciate it. I know our fans will be excited about getting us back home.
“They’ve got a really good offensive football team. Drew Lock can make all the throws. We’ve faced him the last few years; he’s an outstanding player. (There are) really good skill people around him at the running back position. (Damarea) Crockett, (Larry) Rountree and (Tyler) Badie are all really good players. (They have) speed on the edges, (Emanuel) Hall and then (Johnathon) Johnson and (Nate) Brown are guys that can really run vertically and change the direction and complexion of the game quickly. The two tight ends are 6-6, 250 or 260 and run and have ball skills. I think both guys play on the basketball team, of they should if they’re not. But they’re really good athletes. (They have) four out of five guys back on the offensive line. Derek Dooley is their offensive coordinator. He’s new this year and has done a really nice job of tying in some run game, which they ran the ball with Josh (Heupel) last year, but they’re a little more committed to me and still playing with a really high tempo offensively.
“Defensively, Barry (Odom) is a defensive head coach. It all starts with Terry Beckner. I know Terry. I recruited Terry when I was at Auburn. Terry is a really good football player, very disruptive, but that’s the way they play up front. They’re very disruptive in the front, (with) movement and different things they create for you. They do a really nice job there. (Cale) Garrett is a really good linebacker. Brandon Lee flashes to me at SAM linebacker. They’ve got a solid secondary and (are) good on special teams. We need to play well.”
On his team’s injury situation heading into the Missouri game
“Eldridge Thompson with a shoulder is probably questionable. He practiced today, but I don’t know that he will be in a full-contact situation. I’ll know more probably tomorrow and Thursday, obviously, moving forward. Jamyest Williams has a shoulder. He’s probable. He did practice today, but I want to see how he handles some contact. He was in a non-contact situation (today). Jake Bentley, with a knee, is probable. He practiced today. He had to get treatment today and had class after that, so I apologize that he wasn’t able to meet with you guys. Jacob August is going through the concussion protocol right now. I don’t really have an update on that at this time. Bryan Edwards practiced today and is probable with an ankle. He moved around, and we’ll see how much more he can do tomorrow. J.T. Ibe is out. It’s nothing serious, but I don’t think we’ll get him back until probably after the open week with a sprained knee. OrTre Smith is having surgery Friday, so he’ll be out for the season. Josh Belk continues to have an ankle, and D.J. Wonnum I still think we’ll get back after the open week.
“That’s kind of where we are. We need to, as a team, do the simple things better, bottom line, whether it’s catching the football, whether it’s holding on to the ball, gap control defensively. That’s really the emphasis to me with our football team: let’s do ‘simple’ better. That’s where we are.”
On Jake Bentley and if he moved around well at practice Tuesday
“No, he’s still sore. But again, it’s a long time until Saturday, and I think he’ll be fine.”
On the candidates to start at safety with J.T. Ibe ruled out
“With (Jamyest Williams), we still have to work through some things with him for the rest of this week and some practice today. He’s moving around well. Nick Harvey, Javon Charleston, R.J. Rodrick and Jaylin Dickerson repped in there today, so those guys will have the opportunity. Whoever practices the best is the one who will play on Saturday. If you practice the right way you’ll have the opportunity to earn to play on Saturday.”
On the line between playing with intensity and committing penalties
“I think there is an obvious line. We were the least-penalized team in the Southeastern Conference a year ago, and we still played really intense football. When you self-inflict wounds such as personal conduct penalties, we’re not going to tolerate it. It’s been addressed. If I’m in a situation where I can sub and get you out of the game, unfortunately we are very thin in some spots, so I have a hard time subbing. I don’t want to penalize our entire football team because a guy makes a really poor decision, but it is being addressed. We have discipline in our organization. There were 11 penalties on the other side of the ball too on Saturday. There were 22 total penalties. So again, I’m not tolerating it at all; it hurt our football team in some real critical situations. It really hurt us in the game. We were the least-penalized team in the SEC a year ago, and we’ve got discipline in our organization.”
On the way the team is handling Jaycee Horn’s personal foul penalty from last week
“Again, they know how we need to respond. Jaycee is a freshman; he made a mistake. You know what, at the end of the day, he’s really excited about playing for South Carolina. And we step over the line sometimes. I would rather say ‘woah’, than ‘giddy up.’ With Jaycee Horn, I have to say that a lot, which is an awesome thing to be able to say. I wish we had more, to be honest with you. Really good players that I have been around, you have to say that a lot. A lot. You had to pull them back; you had to pull them off of the field. The good defenses I have been around, you have to do that a lot. It’s really fun. Really fun. And we will get there.”
On the team’s concepts and if players are struggling because they are trying to do too much
“I don’t know about that. We just need to do the basic fundamentals. That’s what we need to do better. We had some guys open that we missed. We had some guys (where) we threw the ball to that didn’t catch it. We fell down running for a touchdown. I mean, there were just simple things we need to do better. We get bounced out of a gap for a 24-yard run (where) we should have never (get bounced). (That’s) one of our base calls in what we do. We’re calling that call to settle everybody down, and we get bounced outside of a gap. Again, we just need to do the simple things better.
On the team’s struggles to force turnovers
“It’s extremely frustrating when you look at the first four games. We have four turnovers. As much as we emphasize it and go through it, that has been an extremely disappointing part of not creating momentum for our team, creating field position for our team in those situations. It has been something we are continuing to address and we have to find ways to get the ball off of people.”
On Jake Bentley and if he and the team have confidence in him as the starting quarterback
“Absolutely. 100 percent.”
On the reasons he is confident in Bentley as the starter
“The way he commands our offense. He didn’t play well the other night. We didn’t throw and catch it very well versus Kentucky. We will call it like it is. It wasn’t all on him, and at the end of the day, our football team, our players, and myself have 110 percent confidence in Jake and how he will perform Saturday.”
On the tempo the team is using offensively
“I think it’s helped us. I think you look at some situations, go back to our last ball game as far as running the ball, I think the tempo helped us in some situations. As I said, in the summer and going into training camp, it’s more about dictating the tempo of the game. There are some times where we are a bit more methodical as far as those things are concerned. We felt like in the last game especially because of the multiple fronts, we needed to be able to get into the right play. We brought two plays to the line and let Jake go from there. The tempo has helped us in certainly stressing the defense out as much as anything else.
On the number of different concepts that the team is currently utilizing defensively
“We’re at a bare minimum right now, where we are installation-wise, as far as giving the offense some issues on game day and what we’re carrying into a game.
On the amount of defensive concepts that the team is using compared to last season
“I don’t know. At the end of the day, it’s not about what team did what last year. It’s about what we can do with this football team this year. We’re carrying enough into a game to be successful, I do know that.”
On the things backup quarterback Michael Scarnecchia does well if he is called upon
“I think Mike throws the ball extremely well. He just hasn’t been exposed to that many opportunities. Against Coastal, when he came in, he threw the ball extremely well. The deep ball to (Randrecous Davis) was an outstanding throw. He did some nice things Saturday night. I’ve got confidence in Mike, as far as administering and running our offense. There won’t be a whole lot of change in who we are as long as Mike is in the game.”
On the leadership of the team after a tough loss last week
“I think these guys have taken ownership in what we need to do as a whole, starting with me. I need to do a better job of putting guys in situations to be successful. When they’re in those situations, they take ownership of what they need to do. Let’s make it happen.”
On the progress of freshman quarterback Dakereon Joyner
“He got some snaps today with the first group. He obviously is a guy that continues to progress well. We’ll see how it goes.”
On the challenge of facing Missouri’s up-tempo attack
“You’ve got to get lined up. You’ve got to get your cleats in the dirt. That’s the biggest thing when you play a team like this. You’ve got to understand that part of it. We did tempo periods again with our offense today. We’ll continue to do it tomorrow. It’s just all about aligning, assignments, eye control in the right spot, and don’t let the tempo get you out of kilter. That’s the bottom line. You can’t let it get you off rhythm, and that’s what it has done for (Missouri) in a lot of situations. Those to me are the critical things we’ve got to do.”
On his approach to the team and how that changes based on the success the team is experiencing
“I think every team is different. All players are different, and any message to a team can be handled differently by different players obviously. Going back through it and watching the tape in our first quarter of the season, we’re not doing some of the very simple things about football. We try and make this thing complex, (but) it’s a really simple game. Some of the simple things, we’re not doing very well. We’re not taking care of the football. We’re not getting the ball off people. The number one goal in our organization is the ball – it’s taking care of it and getting it off people on defense. We don’t have that. Explosive play-wise, we’ve been pretty good offensively. We’re right at 31 explosives through our first four games, which is right at 8-10 a game, which is kind of our goal each week as far as a 10-yard run or a 20-yard pass. Defensively, I think we’ve defended it okay, not so much in the run game at times. Again, I go back to doing the simple things well. I address each week the things as a football team that we need to improve on. Obviously, it breaks down with Bryan (McClendon) offensively and (Travaris Robinson) defensively and Coleman (Hutzler) on special teams. But ‘how does it affect our team’ is my view.”
On the play for K.C. Crosby and if he will get the ‘club’ off of his hand this week
“Yeah, they’re going to work on that. I didn’t get him in the other night. It was a pretty cumbersome club there, but we’re trying to work to needle that down a little bit and put him in a better situation to catch the football.”