The South Carolina Gamecocks will not have the luxury of facing a lower-level FBS or FCS squad to start out the season. Their first test of 2017 remains a mammoth one.
For just the third time in school history, the Gamecocks will open in Charlotte against an opponent from the state of North Carolina, facing an NC State Wolfpack team its won the last two meetings with.
Will Muschamp knows that those numbers go out the window with a team that still has some question marks ahead of their first game. The main concerns for the team remain defensive depth and the revamped offensive line, which will get an immediate litmus test against a legitimate defensive front-four.
Muschamp on NC State:
Muschamp on NC State Defensive Line:
As far as the defensive depth: the addition of Skai Moore from an injury that kept him out all of 2016 should sure up the linebacking unit.
Muschamp on Skai Moore and LBs:
Newcomers in the secondary including Jamyest Williams and Javon Charleston will be tested early, flanked among experienced returners such as JaMarcus King, Chris Lammons and DJ Smith.
One area where is no concern is at quarterback, where Muschamp remains confident the offense can pick up from the momentum from which it ended last year.
Muschamp on QB Jake Bentley:
Along with a ready stable of receivers, Muschamp plans to utilize TEs Hayden Hurst and KC Crosby as pass-catchers to supplant their blocking ability:
Muschamp on TEs:
- Muschamp has yet to name a starting placekicker, with Alex Woznick and Parker White still battling for the job.
- The Gamecocks will start Rico Dowdle at running back, but AJ Turner and TySon Williams will receive significant playing time.
- The Gamecocks will be designated as the home team; but will wear their road white uniforms.
- Muschamp said WR Randrecous Davis and DB Tavyn Jackson will not play this week, but DB Steven Montac should practice Tuesday and be available in a backup role Saturday.
- The game will be staffed by an ACC officiating crew.
Below is the first week depth chart for the Gamecocks: