COLUMBIA, S.C. — Last Saturday’s win against Tennessee was to be just that for South Carolina.
Will Muschamp knew that his players were getting congratulations and praise everywhere, so he set out to find a way to remind them not to get caught up in the aftermath of the big win. So, the South Carolina coach put mousetraps around the team’s facility, weight room and meetings rooms with a message behind it.
“I put mousetraps all over the building to let them know don’t take the cheese,” Muschamp said. “Everybody is patting you on the back, telling you how good you are. But understand, this football team coming in here is certainly capable. Their last SEC win was against us.
“So, we needed to understand that and don’t take the cheese.”
It apparently worked, as the Gamecocks came out Saturday and beat Missouri, 31-21.
In the week leading up to Saturday night, Muschamp preached not getting caught off guard by the Tigers. There were a couple days of practices characterized by focus issues early in the week, as offside penalties and false starts were among the problems. The week progressively got sharper leading up to Saturday and the mousetraps — which were not set initially — started being set and even thrown around.
“That would be Jeff Dillman, our strength coach,” linebacker T.J. Holloman said. “He is the mousetrap man. He was throwing them at us all week. Just telling us don’t bite the cheese. Don’t settle in for last week’s win and to come out this week even hungrier.”
The Gamecocks now have won three games in a row and head down to Florida on Saturday with a chance to secure bowl eligibility. So, the hunger was met, even if at first the players did laugh a little bit at what Dillman did. But eventually, the repetitive texts about “mousetrap this and mousetrap that” got the message home to not “bite the cheese.”
“We got the point,” Holloman said. “Once you have some mousetraps flying at you, you kinda get the point.”