COLUMBIA, S.C. – Will Muschamp would rather just be 3-0.
But for players like Darius English who lived 3-9, a chance to match last season’s win total in the month of September has some meaning.
“That would be big,” he said, “But we strive for a lot more than that.”
English, like his head coach, wishes the Gamecocks weren’t 2-1, the record they’ll travel with to Kentucky on Saturday night.
“I know a lot of guys look back and say we wish we would have went a little harder Mississippi State week, but it’s nothing we can take from that,” English said. “We’re just going to roll with and try to use that to motivate us for the future.
“We can’t take any games as a joke. We’ve got to come out every week.”
Besides, there’s nothing they can do about the past, not now. That’s the stance K.C. Crosby took as he answered questions about matching last season’s 3-win mark.
“We leave last year in the past,” he said. “We’re all about moving on, taking it game by game.”
Alan Knott, who started nine games last season, has a slightly different view of matching 2015’s win total.
“It would be a big accomplishment for us, especially with the new coaching staff and the way we’ve been doing things around here,” he said. “I think that it will be a big thing for us.”
For others, like D.J. Smith and David Williams, the team’s win total takes a backseat to just wanting to beat Kentucky.
“We’re hoping to go down there and just take their confidence completely … I’m just looking forward to going in there and shocking their fans, because two years ago, they were pretty hype up there,” Williams said.
The Gamecocks lost that night, 45-38. A year later, the Wildcats handed them a 26-22 loss in Columbia.
“It would be good, because they beat us the past two years,” Smith said. “It wouldn’t be good to lose three in a row.”
And it wouldn’t be good to be stuck on two wins when South Carolina hits the meat of its schedule in October. Navigating through Texas A&M, Georgia and Tennessee will be tough.
“Every time we have a team meeting, we talk about winning the (SEC) East, and this is an Eastern division opponent we’re going to be playing every single year,” Muschamp said, “And we need to play well.”