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Tuesday Tidbits: Muschamp previews Missouri, updates injuries

That injury report is...lengthy.

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Coach Will Muschamp previewed the South Carolina Gamecocks’ upcoming tilt with the Missouri Tigers on Tuesday, recapping a bit of the Kentucky game in the process and giving us a lengthy injury update. The highlights:

On Missouri in general

“They’ve got a really good offensive football team. Drew Lock can make all the throws. We faced him the last two years, he’s an outstanding player — really good skill people around him. At the running back position, [Damarea] Crockett, [Larry] Rountree, [Tyler] Badie, are all really good players. Speed on the edges — [Emanuel] Hall and [Johnathan] Johnson and [Nate] Brown are guys that really can run vertical and change the complexion of the game quickly. ... [New offensive coordinator] Derek Dooley’s done a really nice job of tying in some run game with them. Defensively, it all starts up front with Terry Beckner. I recruited Terry when I was at Auburn. He’s a really good football player, very disruptive. That’s the way they play up front, they’re very disruptive up front. Brandon Leaf flashes to me at SAM linebacker. They’ve got a solid secondary and good special teams.”

On the injury situation

Eldridge Thompson, with his shoulder, is probably questionable. He practiced today, but I don’t know if he could be in a full contact situation. Jamyest Williams, shoulder, is probable. He did practice today but I want to see how he handles some contact. Jake Bentley with the knee is probable. He practiced today. Jacob August is going through the concussion protocol right now. Bryan Edwards practiced today and is probable with the ankle. J.T. Ibe is out — nothing serious, but I don’t think we’ll get him back until probably after the open week with a sprained knee. OrTre Smith’s having surgery on Friday, so he’ll be out for the season. D.J. Wonnum I still think we’ll get back after the open week.”

On the current mantra

“We need to do the simple things better, whether it’s catching the football, holding on to the ball, gap control defensively — that’s really the emphasis to me with our football team. Let’s do simple better.”

On penalties and discipline

“I think that there’s an obvious line. We were the least penalized team in the Southeastern Conference a year ago and we played really intense football. When you self-inflict wounds such as unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, we’re not going to tolerate it. It’s been addressed. If I’m in a situation where I can sub and get you out of the game — unfortunately we’re very thin in some spots, I have a hard time subbing. I don’t want to penalize our entire football team because a guy makes a really poor decision. I’m not tolerating it at all and it hurt our football team in some really critical situations. ... Jaycee’s a freshman. He made a mistake. You know what, at the end of the day, he’s really excited about playing for South Carolina. We step over the line sometimes. I would rather say ‘whoa’ than ‘giddy-up.’ And with Jaycee Horn, I have to say that a lot, which is an awesome thing to be able to say. I wish we had more, to be honest with you. Because the really good players I’ve been around, you’ve had to say that a lot.”

On the lack of takeaways

“That’s been extremely frustrating. You look at the first four games, we’ve got four turnovers. As much as we emphasize it and go through it, that’s been an extremely disappointing part of not creating momentum and not creating field position for our team. It’s something we’re continuing to address. We’ve got to find ways to get the ball off people.”

On having confidence in Jake Bentley as the starter

“Absolutely, 100%. The way he commands our offense. He didn’t play well the other night — we didn’t throw and catch it very well versus Kentucky, we’ll call it what it is. It wasn’t all on him. At the end of the day, our football team — our players, myself — have 110% confidence in Jake and how he’ll perform Saturday.”

On the offensive tempo

“I think it’s helped us. I think you look in some situations, as far as running the ball, I think the tempo helped us in some situations. As I said in the summer and in training camp, it’s more about dictating the tempo of the game. There are some times we’re a little bit more methodical as far as those things are concerned. We felt like in the last game especially, because of the multiple fronts, we needed to be able to get into the right play. We brought two plays to the line and let Jake go from there. But the tempo has helped us in stressing the defense as much as anything else. ... At the end of the day, when you have four turnovers, it’s hard to go tempo. We’ve got to stay on the field more.

On whether the defense is too complex

“We’re at a bare minimum right now from where we are installation-wise, as far as giving the offense some issues on game day and what we’re carrying into the game. We’re carrying enough into a game to be successful, I do know that.”

On his level of confidence in Michael Scarnecchia as the backup

“I think Mike throws the ball extremely well, he just hasn’t been exposed to that many opportunities. I thought against Coastal when he came in, he threw the ball extremely well — the deep ball to Dreak was an outstanding throw and he did some nice things Saturday night. We’ve got confidence in Mike. As far as administering and running the offense, there won’t be a lot of change in who we are when Mike’s in the game.”

On the receivers’ response to their poor game against Kentucky

“Do the simple things. I asked Deebo, ‘How many digs have you caught since you’ve been at South Carolina?’ He said, ‘A bunch.’ You dropped one, so let’s don’t get out of hand here. Old Coach Muschamp loses his temper every now and then and says some things he probably shouldn’t say, and I’m wrong. At the end of the day, how many deep balls has Bryan Edwards caught? A bunch, and he’s going to continue to catch a bunch. Both of them are really good football players and they’re great competitors. And you know what, no one hurts more than those guys do.”

On how to deal with Missouri’s tempo

“You gotta get lined up. You gotta get your cleats in the dirt. That’s the biggest thing when you play a team like this. We did tempo periods again with our offense today and we’ll continue to do it tomorrow. It’s all about aligning, assignment, eye control, right spot, and don’t let the tempo get you out of kilter. That’s the bottom line. You can’t let it get you out of rhythm.”

On the defense and fundamentals

“I think it could be better. Defensively, we’ve been inconsistent in the run game and tackling is part of that, gap control is part of that. Turnovers, only having four after four games with as much time as we spend on it and as effective as we’ve been is obviously disappointing. Our first down efficiency’s not been very good. We need to be at 60 percent, 2nd and 7+, and we’re right at about 48.50. We have been very productive on third down.”

On whether there are special considerations for Dakereon Joyner

“We’re going to call the things they can handle and not just throw the whole playbook at them. I would say there are certain things Dakereon does extremely well, and when he’s in there, those are the plays we’re calling.”

On Rashad Fenton’s impressive performance so far

“I think the two deep balls in the last two games were really nice plays. ... A nice job of going and finishing down the field. I don’t know that he’s been targeted very much, but he’ll get targeted Saturday. They’re going to take 10 or 12 shots regardless of how good the coverage is and throw the 50-50 ball and see what happens. We need him to continue to play well.”

On defending Drew Lock, who has completed 50% of his passes against USC

“Handling the tempo. You see a lot of times on tape in their first four ball games where people aren’t getting to the line and covering down and the ball’s being snapped and he sees it — he’s able to get the ball out for an easy completion and a chunk yardage play. ... Staying on top of the coverage — there’s a lot of deep balls down the field and you’ve got to be able to defend those deep balls down the field.”

On the play of the linebacker corps so far

“Not what it needs to be, and I think those guys would tell you. Haven’t been as consistent as we need to be. As far as disengaging and getting off blocks, we didn’t do a good enough job on the first level in our last ball game of keeping people off the linebackers, and that was our emphasis going into the game.We got blocked too much. We need to make more plays, we need to be more productive at the position.”


Wide receiver Chad Terrell practiced and will play Saturday.