Gamecocks head coach Will Muschamp acknowledged during his Tuesday press conference to learning much during his time with Nick Saban on concepts ranging from offseason programs to player evaluation. But Muschamp spent little time discussing his past jobs under the six-time national champion, instead emphasizing the impact Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa will have on Saturday’s matchup. “He’s close to 80 percent as far his completion percentage. He can create off-rhythm plays that are very difficult to defend … you have to do a nice job of being disciplined in your rush lanes, restrict the pocket and don’t let him evade, especially to his left hand.”
South Carolina and Alabama will kick off 3:30 Saturday, at Williams-Brice Stadium. The Crimson Tide are a 26-point favorite.
Key comments from Will Muschamp
- Injuries: Wide receiver Randrecous Davis ran with the training staff but did not practice with the team and his availability is unknown. Offensive guard Eric Douglas did not participate fully in practice, but is expected to do more tomorrow. Running back Deshaun Fenwick may be out this week with a shoulder injury. DE Brad Johnson has been slowed by a groin injury. DT Keir Thomas remains out.
- On working with Nick Saban: You have to be philosophically aligned with Nick … Learned a lot from Nick about player evaluation. Especially during their time together on the Dolphins staff. Other elements on South Carolina’s program influenced by Saban include offseason program, spring installation, how practices are run, and approaching each game in the same way.
- Muschamp returned to the point that this game is about the 11 Alabama players and the 11 South Carolina players and that he hasn’t worked for Saban since 2005.
- Starters now understand the importance of special teams and role they play on positive momentum and field position.
- You have to beat Alabama. They won’t beat themselves. They are well coached and you can’t get one-dimensional against them.
- On quarterback Ryan Hilinski: Ryan has a really good mindset. He watches a lot of film. Always in the building early.
- For both teams’ offenses, there will be 50-50 balls. You’ll have opportunities to make explosive plays.
- On tackling: If you stop moving your feet, you have a zero percent chance of making the tackle against a good athlete. We also want to leverage the football the right way. If you don’t make the tackle, you must leverage the ball the right way.
Will Muschamp press conference