South Carolina Gamecocks head football coach Will Muschamp took some time Tuesday afternoon to address the media. Among the major highlights the first year head coach touched on included recent injuries endured by safety Chaz Elder and offensive lineman Blake Camper Saturday night in Starkville.
Elder, who bruised his ribs on the Bulldogs’ first drive of the game, is likely to be out for at least three, probably four weeks. As for Camper, it’s a high ankle sprain that’ll sideline him likely until the Gamecocks bye week in mid-October.
As for likely backups to fill in for the missing Elder, Muschamp didn’t have a definitive answer, but did toss some names around.
Chris Moody is a guy that we've moved back to safety to try and give us some production there. Steven Montac has moved back to safety to give us some production. Jasper Sasser is involved in that conversation. D.J. Smith is involved in that conversation. So we'll try and find the best guys who can give us some production.
As for Camper’s absence, look for junior D.J. Park to try to solidify himself as the man at right tackle, where he’s started the season’s first two games even though the unit has been less than impressive so far collectively.
Among other topics Muschamp alluded to during his time in front of the mic included the apparent tackling problems that plagued the Gamecocks defense on the road last weekend and may have been hidden during the season opener.
I said it after the game: when you play a team like we did in the first ball game with a two-back power team, there's a lot of what I call close-quarters tackles. It's those tight areas you may miss a tackle or fall off a tackle in a two-back power, and they gain another three yards. When you miss the quarterback on the perimeter, it's 70 yards. So, really our messed tackle numbers were the same from the Vanderbilt game.
While he backed off his criticism of his defense’s poor tackling against Mississippi St., he knows it needs to be a focal point for improvement all week as the team practiced in shells Sunday afternoon, something he usually doesn’t like doing.
As for the highly discussed quarterback uncertainty between Perry Orth and Brandon McIlwain, Muschamp isn’t ready to name a starter for the weekend just yet, but my hunch says it’s McIlwain after passing for 126 yards and leading the Gamecocks on two touchdown drives in the second half last week.
Stay tuned for more updates as we head through week three into the home opener.