COLUMBIA, S.C. – Film review was not pleasant for Bryson Allen-Williams on Sunday.
The South Carolina junior linebacker saw the play that exemplified the abysmal tackling performance the Gamecocks had Saturday at Mississippi. Allen-Williams was one of three players who had MSU quarterback Nick Fitzgerald bottled up in the first quarter. But the USC linebacker failed to wrap up Fitzgerald, who bounced outside for a 74-yard gain.
“It hurt a lot,” Allen-Williams said. “Seeing that something that we practiced so much on and we were so physical in practice, then seeing something like that so simple slip out was very disappointed.
“We are taking pride in it and taking ownership of it. We are hopefully going to try and improve this weekend.”
Allen-Williams said what was seen on film was not what the Gamecocks have worked on and pride themselves on. So they got back to work Sunday and Tuesday with tackling, which has been a daily occurrence in practice since Will Muschamp arrived.
The performance Saturday in Starkville was “glaring,” Muschamp said Tuesday. He also went as far as to say sorry to some of his players.
“I told the team (Tuesday) morning that I apologize to the majority of our guys because they do prepare the right way,” Muschamp said. “They do approach things the right way, do try, do give great effort, do have good buy in, do try to play with toughness and do try to play with great discipline, but we have some guys who don’t. It is what it is in situations and we’re trying to do the best we can do at some positions. Those guys have to improve. That to me was the most disappointing.”
The Gamecocks changed their initial plans upon returning to the practice field Sunday in an effort to improve before Saturday’s home opener against East Carolina,. They put on shells and worked on their tackling the day after the lackluster performance.
“We were just picking up the intensity,” Allen-Williams said. “Making sure we make the plays. Making sure we fit right. Making sure our technique is perfect. We put in too much work for it not to be perfect.”
Senior linebacker T.J. Holloman said the focus in practice this week has been on returning to the fundamentals of tackling. Tuesday’s practice had tackling circuits focused on running through contact with heads up.
The issue against the Bulldogs, he said, was not a position issue, but a problem with technique.
“We got to the ball pretty fast,” he said. “But when we got there our heads were down and we were diving. It was poor tackling technique.”
Muschamp said the tackling practice Sunday was embraced by his players. He also was pleased with their attitude.
“We are definitely going to do better because it’s not acceptable,” Allen-Williams said. “It’s not what our coaches teach and not what we wanna go out there and do. … We’ve got another opportunity this weekend to go out there and show how much work we’ve put in and how much we are going to improve as a defense.”