COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina coach Will Muschamp met with reporters on Thursday morning, before the Gamecocks open practice for the Birmingham Bowl.
Follow along with SEC Country for Muschamp’s thoughts on USF and what else lies ahead in the month of December.
- Opening: “We start practice today. We’ll have eight practices here in Columbia. The first four, no emphasis at all on South Florida. The focus is on South Carolina, the fundamentals, physicality we need to do, to prepare our team.”
- Muschamp added that Monday will be the first day of practice, to prepare for USF.
- All players are ready to roll for the bowl game, from an academic standpoint.
- Muschamp will not hire an offensive line coach until after the first of the year. For the bowl game, John Latina will coach the Gamecocks offensive line. He worked with Kurt Roper at Duke and Ole Miss. Muschamp is also familiar with him, having coached against him.
- Keisean Nixon is a “defensive back that we’re really excited about.” Muschamp said Nixon and Kaleb Chalmers will make their team better. Both might practice with the team before the bowl game.
- Last week, Muschamp told players to come see him, if they wanted to transfer. No players came to see him, beyond Lorenzo Nunez.
- Excitement to return to field: “You feel the buzz in the building with the coaches today … we start at 1:30 with a team meeting. The guys did an outstanding job with exams and had some time to refocus a little bit.”
- Jake Bentley bouncing back after Clemson: “I haven’t seen him at all, really. We were gone for two weeks. This past week, our guys have been off. Other than the official visit weekend, I saw him. He’ll be fine.”
- On the Wake Forest situation: “I don’t really have any comment on it, to be honest with you.”
- Muschamp said the most glaring issues are the ability to run the ball consistently and to consistently stop the run on defense. “That’s a huge emphasis for me, starting with practice today.”
- Muschamp on the Clemson loss: “It still burns. That’s part of it.”
- Muschamp said there were multiple issues that have made the run-game inconsistent, including playing with three different quarterbacks.
- Hayden Hurst, T.J. Holloman, Perry Orth and Qua Lewis were named permanent team captains.
- Skai Moore has been cleared for non-contact, but he will not practice. Also a full-participant in the weight room. Will return next season. That’s the plan.
- The seniors won’t practice today. They’ll lift and run the first two days.