COLUMBIA, S.C. – In the moments after South Carolina prevailed 31-21 over Missouri, Will Muschamp had little to no interest in talking about the Gamecocks final SEC road trip of the season.
The former Gators coach just wasn’t ready to share a few thoughts about his return to Florida.
“I’m going to enjoy tonight,” Muschamp said, “With my wife, Carol.”
Thoughts about The Swamp were put off until Sunday, and that was the plan for everyone within the program at South Carolina (5-4, 3-4 SEC), not just the head coach.
“We’re going to enjoy tonight,” Muschamp said. “Then we’re going to start working on the Gators.”
Sunday night, Tuesday afternoon, Wednesday afternoon and Thursday night will present Muschamp with more opportunities to talk about his former team. Muschamp went 28-21 in nearly four full seasons in Gainesville, but a 10-13 stretch over his last two seasons cost him his job.
Chances are pretty high that he’ll be do plenty of deflecting during this week’s media opportunities.
According to sophomore tight end Hayden Hurst, it will probably be the same way behind closed doors.
“He hasn’t said much about it, but I can only imagine with him being there then coming here,” Hurst said. “But I don’t think coach will make a big deal out of it. It’s just another SEC game for us.”
For linebacker T.J. Holloman and the rest of the South Carolina seniors, a trip to Gainesville presents them with the season’s first crack at attaining bowl eligibility.
“It means a lot. It means a lot to all of us,” he said. “Us seniors want to become bowl eligible. That will be the game to make us bowl eligible, so that means a lot for him, a lot for all of us.”
Junior linebacker Bryson Allen-Williams has a hard time looking past the implications of the noon kickoff at The Swamp.
“This is another game for (Muschamp). I’m pretty sure he’s not going to let us know too much about it, but it’s big for us,” he said. “We want to win the East. To win the East, you’ve got to go through Florida.”
And that speaks to what lies ahead at South Carolina.
“I’ve told everybody the future is extremely bright here, really excited about that,” Muschamp said. “Certainly am pleased with how our guys have continued to fight and battle and scratch, do all the things you need to do, which a good team does.
“We’ve formed ourselves into a pretty good football team, because we play well together.”