One of the big stories from today (the big story) was the fact that Rico McWilliams was not only leaving the Gamecocks football team, but was leaving football altogether. The timing of it was stunning to say the least, given that McWilliams was slated to be a featured player in the cornerback rotation and that, well, he made the decision just three days before kickoff.
That was obviously one of the questions that came up during Will Muschamp’s game week press conference. The head coach gave a very interesting response shortly after he was asked about whether or not McWilliams’ departure was related to his trip to Louisiana to help flood victims. Muschamp would initially say that it wasn’t related, but then followed it up a few minutes later with this:
Muschamp: "Football's a tough game. If you don't like to practice, you don't like to work hard, you'd be better off flipping burgers."— David Caraviello (@dcaraviello) August 29, 2016
On the surface, it seems like a relatively innocent remark. But the fact that it was tied to the question about McWilliams (and Christian Owens for that matter) sounds to me like it was a matter of a lack of effort, and not homesickness, that led to him not only departing Columbia but the sport itself. It could very well be that McWilliams left football to focus his efforts on heading down south to help the less fortunate in that area. But from the way Muschamp made it sound, that wasn’t the case. If so, that’s a shame - and the fact that he failed to elaborate on the reason speaks volumes to me.
We’ll have to wait and see what the reason is behind McWilliams’ departure. But it sounds like it’s a work ethic situation based on how Muschamp framed it earlier today. I’d be happy to be proven wrong, though.