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Tuesday Tidbits: Muschamp previews Vanderbilt

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Let’s talk about the ‘Dores.

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

The South Carolina Gamecocks are back in action this week, traveling to Nashville to face the Vanderbilt Commodores on Saturday afternoon. Coach Will Muschamp gave an update on how the team spent its rainy weekend and shared some other insights on how the Gamecocks are getting ready for their second SEC game. The highlights:

On Vanderbilt in general

“Derek Mason’s got a really good football team. You watched them last week go to Notre Dame and turn the ball over three times ... but played extremely well in that football game. Offensively, Kyle Shurmur is a four-year starter and an outstanding player. A guy you gain lot of respect [for] when you watch the tape and how he orchestrates and runs the offense. They’ve got a lot of confidence in him. He does an outstanding job. Four outstanding backs, all very capable. Lipscomb, the receiver, is a really good player. Defensively, they’ve got a new defensive coordinator. ... What you see is a lot of experience and aggressive play and an aggressive style in how they call they game. They’ve got seven seniors starting on defense, so they’ve got a lot of experience and guys we’ve faced throughout the years.”

On how the canceled game affected the team’s usual routine

“I told the guys it’s only a distraction if you allow it to be. ... We’re going to control what we can control. That’s our preparation. Thursday was an outstanding practice, Friday was a good lift in the weight room. ... I think they’ve handled it well.”

On making up the lost game

“We’ve had numerous discussions, Coach Tanner and myself, about the 20th — our open week — or depending on how our season ends up, Dec. 1. Once we know a little bit more about where we’re headed with that, we’ll certainly make that information available.”

On the team’s health

“DJ [Wonnum] will be the only guy down.”

On what he learned being able to watch Vandy-Notre Dame live

“What is the flow of the game? How is the game being administered? They play extremely hard and it’s easier sometimes to see that when you’re watching a TV copy as opposed to a coach’s copy.”

On Danny Fennell and how he’s filled in

“Danny’s playing well for us. He had a big sack against Georgia on the four-man pressure from the field. He is a very steady player, continued to improve every year since we’ve been here. A very dependable player. You know what you’re going to get out of Danny all the time — you’re going to get great effort, mental and physical toughness in how he approaches the game. I’ve been extremely proud of him right now and what he’s been able to do for us.”

On Vanderbilt’s offense

“They’re going to be balanced in what they do. I think they’re going to give us some different motions and shifts. They do a really good job of giving you some things you’ve got to adjust to in the game that maybe you haven’t seen, whether it’s from a different personnel package or a different motion or shift. We’ve got to have really good eye control and discipline in what we’re doing. Where you get hurt in the run game is they out-flank you at times because of motions and shifts and you don’t adjust well. That’s something we’ve worked on a lot. [Shurmur] just knows where to take the ball, whether it’s middle field, split-safety ... he’s a very experienced player. He really understands what they want him to do offensively. He’s very accurate with the football. He’s going to complete some passes, we just can’t let him have explosive plays.”

On Jamyest Williams not starting

“He’s upset about it and I’m glad he is, because he’s a competitor. You don’t want a guy to be happy he’s not starting. He’s played as much or more than the guys in front of him. That’s an evaluation that goes on week-to-week on who’s going to help us win the game. At the end of the day, be in the game when the game’s ending. That’s the most important part.”

On the offensive line against Georgia

“I thought they handled it well and we didn’t have really any pressure issues as far as protecting the passer is concerned. I felt like for the most part in the run game, we got a hat on a hat. At the end of the day, we had some one-on-ones and our backs have to make people miss. That’s the bottom line.”

On the performance of the safeties to this point

“I’m not real pleased with where we are. ... It’s deplorable that we line up and leave a slot receiver uncovered. I think that’s happened maybe once in my coaching career. That [communication] is a huge, major issue. It has been one through camp and our first two ball games. If you do that better, you put yourself in position to tackle better. ... We work with crowd noise everyday in practice. You’ve got to hand signal. You create really lazy habits when you try to verbally communicate in front of 80,000 people.”

On his philosophy with the coin toss

“I always think in terms of matchups. What is our best matchup? Our offense versus their defense, our defense versus their offense? Obviously weather’s always a concern. Do you want the wind in the fourth quarter? Is there going to be a storm hitting in the second half? What is the forecast? ... Playing on the road, to me, if you’ve got an experienced quarterback, that’s not as much of an issue as maybe when you have a younger quarterback. You’re always targeting to get out to a good start.”

On Deebo not getting chances to return kicks, and possibly moving to punt return

“We’re going to return it if we have opportunities. I have all the confidence in the world that Bryan Edwards will do a fantastic job as our punt returner.”

On Jaylen Dickerson and RJ Roderick

“He [Dickerson] missed about ten days of camp with a hamstring. When a young player misses one day of camp, it’s an issue. When you miss eight or ten days, it’s a major issue. It’s very hard for a young player to catch up. Same thing with RJ Roderick — he missed six or eight days. When a young player misses that much of camp, it is really, really hard to catch them up. We’re trying to. They’re both really good, talented players. ... It’s very difficult to catch them up. We’re doing the best we can, and they’re doing the best they can.”

On the receivers needing to win more battles

“We had six drops. If we caught six more balls, Jake [Bentley] would have completed 75% of his passes. We need to catch the ball.”