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Tuesday Tidbits: Will Muschamp previews season, Coastal Carolina

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It’s finally time to obsess over the depth chart.

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to Week 1, and actual football news! South Carolina coach Will Muschamp unveiled the Gamecocks’ depth chart, updated us on where things stand after camp, and previewed the season. The highlights:

First, an injury update:

Wyatt Campbell still has about a month. Chad Terrell will be cleared at the end of September. Chavis Dawkins will probably be doubtful for Saturday (ankle). Jesus Gibbs got about three more weeks. Lavonte Valentine has about another week, week and a half. Tyree Johnson and Caleb Kinlaw are out for the season. Very disappointing news from last week — Tavyn Jackson was forced to give up football, he has a sickle cell trait.

On place-kicking (specifically, Parker White):

“Parker’s earned the job in camp. Like any other position, if he produces well, he’s going to kick for us. If we feel like we need to make a change to help our football team, no different than any other position.”

On grad transfer J.T. Ibe locking down a starting spot:

“J.T. did a fantastic job of grasping our defense and what we do — the physicality, the urgency he plays with. Jam [Williams] and Nick [Harvey] will both play as well, but certainly JT’s earned the opportunity to start.”

On the running backs, who are all listed as starters:

“I would envision all four playing. All of them deserved it. All four of those guys have had really good camps. They’ve made our football team better with that competition.”

On Shameik Blackshear’s progress:

“I think he’s had a good camp. He’s changed his body, he’s gotten stronger, he plays with a high motor. He is also going to play inside for us some as well, so he’s a guy who can give us position multiplicity. He also, in some pass-rush situations, gives us some more speed inside, which we need.”

On how newcomer Jaycee Horn has fit in:

“Really good man coverage skills, he uses his length very well. He finishes on the top of routes. I go to [receivers] Bryan Edwards and Deebo Samuel — Who do you like? ‘Jaycee’s good, coach.’ I kind of trust players on that. He’s got good zone instincts. Repeatedly through camp, he’s making plays on the ball. He’s a ballhawk mentality. He gets his hands on the ball a lot.”

On depth along the offensive line:

“I think we have a tremendous confidence in Chandler Farrell as our backup center. Jovaughn Gwyn and Dylan Wonnum both have made some strides and are guys we feel like will play on Saturday. We want to be able to get them in the game to continue to build that depth. Jordan Rhodes is another young man who’s come along well for us. Within that group, you’re thinking in terms of 10 guys you have some confidence playing.”

On the biggest offensive improvement:

“Tempo has been much better in terms of getting on the ball and dictating the tempo of the game. Bryan’s mentality as a playcaller ... is very aggressive in what we’re trying to do down the field. In order to create explosive plays, you’ve got to take some shots. I go back to the tempo of what we’re playing with — it’s going to help us in the run game, it’s going to help us in protecting Jake, it’s going to help us be able to sustain more on drives.”

On the biggest unknowns entering Week 1:

“The depth on both lines of scrimmage ... the freshmen listed in the two-deep. How will they respond when the lights turn on? That’s something you never know.”

On the depth chart:

“I don’t get big into the depth chart. I know you guys, it’s probably the most important thing that’s happened in your life recently. To me, it’s about who finishes the game, not necessarily who starts the game, so that’s really what I concentrate on. There’s no question we’ve improved our depth. We have more quality depth to be able to play more guys.”

On the tight end rotation:

“All four guys will play. KC [Crosby] does a really good job in the slot but is also a guy who can block. Kiel [Pollard] has really elevated himself in the slot. Jacob [August] can do both and Kyle [Markway] can do both. Evan Hinson’s going to get some snaps as well. We’ve got some different packages for him.”

On Jake Bentley’s offseason:

“He’s had a really good training camp. He’s got some weapons outside. Jake’s been very accurate with the football. His completion percentage was between 65, 68 percept for team drills during camp. I think he’s thrown the ball extremely well. Our runnings back don’t get credit — they catch the ball extremely well. I like the progress we’ve made throwing the ball.”

On the defense’s improvement, specifically the pass rush:

“Getting Bryson [Allen-Williams] back is huge. That really hurt us last year losing his edge presence. Dennis [Fennell] has always been a very steady rusher for us, Aaron Sterling’s been a nice addition outside, he really got some pressure on the quarterback late last season. Both Kier [Thomas] and Javon [Kinlaw] have done a really nice job of pushing the pocket inside. They’re both very effective guys because they understand it’s more about pushing the pocket inside and affecting the quarterback instead of winning the rush. I’ve been very pleased with how we’ve progressed on the four-man rush.”

Notable

There are still no updates on the status of transfers Jamel Cook or Josh Belk. ... Javon Charleston is the only suspended player for Week 1. ... Kent State grad transfer Shane Hynes, who was brought in to compete at placekicker, has left the program.

2018 Depth Chart

WR: Deebo Samuel/Josh Vann

WR: Shi Smith/Randrecous Davis

WR: Bryan Edwards/OrTre Smith

LT: Dennis Daley/Malik Young

LG: Zack Bailey/Jovaughn Gwyn

C: Donell Stanley/Chandler Farrell

RG: Sadarius Hutcherson/Jordan Rhodes

RT: Blake Camper/Dylan Wonnum

QB: Jake Bentley/Michael Scarnecchia

RB: Rico Dowdle or Ty’Son Williams or A.J. Turner or Mon Denson

TE: K.C. Crosby/Kiel Pollard

TE: Jacob August/Kyle Markway

DE: Aaron Sterling/Shameik Blackshear

DT: Javon Kinlaw/Kobe Smith

DT: Keir Thomas/Kingsley Enagbare

BUCK: D.J. Wonnum/Brad Johnson or Daniel Fennell

MLB: T.J. Brunson/Rosendo Louis

WLB: Sherrod Greene/Eldridge Thompson

SLB: Bryson Allen-Williams/Fennell

CB: Keisean Nixon/Jaycee Horn

S: Steven Montac/Jaymest Williams

S: JT Ibe/Nick Harvey

CB: Rashad Fenton/Israel Mukuwamu

N: Jaycee Horn/Williams