Gamecocks head coach Will Muschamp held his weekly press conference, Tuesday, to address how his team is preparing for another top-10 opponent following an emotional double-overtime victory in Athens. The Florida Gators, Muschamp’s former team, is in the third leg of a difficult stretch that started with a win over Auburn and will finish in Columbia against a Carolina defense playing with renewed vigor. The Gamecocks have played demonstrably faster and tackled with fervor since Muschamp scrapped the nickel package in favor of the 4-3 as the base defense, “I made that decision sitting in the locker room alone following the Missouri loss. I knew we needed to play (linebacker) Sherrod Greene more and we made that change (the following day).”
South Carolina’s upset of Georgia has cracked the race for the SEC East wide open and increases the stakes for Saturday’s game at Williams-Brice. If Missouri’s postseason ban is upheld, the Tigers’ prospects are extinguished, meaning a win over the Gators would breathe new hope into the Gamecocks’ division chances. South Carolina would not control its own destiny, but it would own the tiebreakers over the East’s preseason favorites. A loss to Florida, on the other hand, would effectively dash those aspirations.
South Carolina and Florida kick off at noon, Saturday. The Gamecocks are a 6-point underdog.
Notes from Will Muschamp press conference
- On quarterbacks: Ryan Hilinski practiced today, should be fine for Saturday. Wearing a brace, but moving around fine. Dakereon Joyner is working exclusively at quarterback this week.
- On defense playing faster last two games: We have narrowed some things down and it’s helped us play faster. We identified what our players are most comfortable playing. We took player feedback, as well. If you start thinking too much on defense, you’ll get burned.
- On Marcus Lattimore, who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame: How much time do you have? He positively effects everyone in our locker room. He’s a difference-maker across the state, in his community and to this team.
- On noon kickoff: I think our fans are excited and create a great atmosphere no matter what time the game is kicked.
- On Mukuamu interceptions: First one caused by (Javon) Kinlaw & (DJ) Wonnum’s pressure on QB’s throwing hand side, then Israel made a great play. Second one was on a back shoulder. I take him through INT drills every day and he’s learned a lot from me (pause) I’m kidding. It’s called talent.
- On resetting emotion following a big win: If you prepare the right way, you will play well and deserve to win. Every week is a season. We’re going to pour our guts into Florida and hopefully, we’ll prepare in a way that will put us in a position that we deserve to win.
Will Muschamp press conference