Ryan Hilinski was named the SEC Freshman of the Week after throwing for 324 yards against Alabama (Travis Bell/SIDELINE CAROLINA)

The Gamecocks may not have expected to start the season 1-2, but according to coach Will Muschamp, there are still plenty of goals left for this team to achieve. One of those goals is to win the SEC East. With a national power like Georgia in the division, there is little room for error, home or away. And this Saturday is an away game. Far away. More than 800 miles away.

But it is not an unfamiliar trip or opponent. The Gamecocks have won five of seven and three in a row against the Tigers, including a 31-13 win at Missouri two seasons ago. South Carolina will also renew its rivalry with former Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant. Bryant is off to a hot start, and you can count Muschamp among those impressed, “He has a really good command of their offense. You see him directing traffic, changing protection, switching the back, making sure they’re right with the tight end … you see he’s very comfortable with what they do.”

Missouri will host South Carolina Saturday at 4 pm. The Gamecocks are a 9.5-point underdog,

Other notes from Muschamp’s press conference

  • Injury update: WR Randrecous Davis and BUCK Brad Johnson are still out and are not expected back until after bye week. DL Keir Thomas has been cleared for some exercise but it out another two or three weeks with his ankle infection.
  • On Ryan Hilinski: There was a lot to like about Ryan’s performance. There are things that we have to coach him up on. But there are intangibles he has, like fortitude and toughness, that don’t need to be coached up.
  • On Hilinski throwing 57 times: We have to do what we have to do to try to win the game. Skill players are so advanced at a young age because of 7-on-7 and individual training.
  • On Hilinski’s attitude: He hasn’t changed. He’s the same with his teammates, although, I’m sure he’s attracted some followers since becoming the starting quarterback.
  • On effort: Our guys played their ass off, Saturday. We have really good leadership and a good culture. It’s not where we thought we’d be but it’s where we are. Now we’re focused on what we need to do to crawl out of it and our leaders understand that.
  • On aggressive play calling and if it will continue: It’s game to game. Also depends on how the game is going. We thought we needed to “steal some possessions” against Alabama.
  • On tackling: We missed 11 tackles. We need to stop getting balls off the players before we secure the tackle. We should stop them first and then get the ball off them. We’ve coached that. Players have to make snapshot decisions on gameday.
  • On DB Jamyest Williams: Needs consistency. Needs to eliminate mental mistakes. But it’s not just him. You have to communicate in defensive backfield and there’s lots of guys that need to play better.

Will Muschamp press conference