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Tuesday Tidbits: Will Muschamp previews South Carolina’s showdown against Georgia

This is kind of a big game, right?

Brian Westerholt-USA TODAY Sports

With Coastal Carolina firmly in the rear view mirror, the South Carolina Gamecocks now turn their attention to the third-ranked Georgia Bulldogs. The SEC East showdown is CBS’ featured Game of the Week, and is critical for the pursuit of a division title. Coach Will Muschamp sat down with the media for his weekly Tuesday press conference and shared some insight about the team’s preparation thus far.

First, an injury update

“KC Crosby is good to go. He practiced today. D.J. Wonnum did not practice today, but I expect him to practice tomorrow. Chavis Dawkins is probably questionable, but I would say more doubtful. Mon Denson will play.”

On Fromm’s short, quick throws

“Most of them were RPOs. They do a really good job and they were really effective in last year’s game with that. They’ve got some really good space players, and you talk about Terry Godwin, Mecole Hardman, Crumpton — they’ve got some really fast guys. One of the many good things that would jump out at me is their team speed overall. Not just skill-wise offensively — defensively, and it really shows up on special teams. ... I don’t know that Jake [Fromm] totally gets the credit that he deserves. ... He’s very accurate with the football and it speaks for itself what he did as a true freshman.”

On what could be gleaned from Georgia’s film against Austin Peay

“Different guys in different spots. We all know each other pretty well from a coordinator standpoint, from a playcaller standpoint. Will there be some new wrinkles and some different things they’ve worked in the offseason? Sure, and we’ll have some as well. I think knowing kind of their structure and our structure, and how we do things — this game has been game-planned for since summer. We’re just kind of brushing up the game plan this week and I’m sure they’re doing the same.”

On what was learned from the Coastal game

“With young players having the opportunity to play in front of 80,000 people, that’s the first big-time exposure for a lot of those young men, so that’s exciting for them. I think just jelling together, making communication — those are things I look for and we didn’t have a lot of issues, especially on the offensive side of the ball, with communication. We’re very efficient and effective in the things we do with a new coordinator, new playcaller, new moving parts. I thought in all three phases we functioned pretty well.”

On whether the decision to play with tempo was to help the ground game

“You watch teams that play with tempo and how effective they are running the football, a lot of it has nothing to do with getting a hat on a hat in the run game — a lot of it has to do with displacement of the defensive player not getting aligned, not having his eyes in the right spots. It’s so hard offensively right now, unless you’re just elite from an ability standpoint, to create explosive plays. In order to create some explosive plays in the passing game especially, you need to be able to run the ball and stay balanced to create one-on-ones down the field.”

On playing against his alma mater

“It was 1995, I was a graduate assistant at Auburn. We played in Athens and it was a little different there, just because I knew a lot of the players. But the more you move forward, your loyalties reside with who’s writing that check. I’m a Gamecock.”

On recent series history favoring the Dawgs

“I think every year’s different. This year’s Georgia team and this year’s South Carolina team are different from a year ago. I don’t know that that game last year, or two years ago, or five years ago, will have any bearing on this Saturday afternoon. It’s about this 2018 football season.”

On the defensive line rotation against UGA’s big uglies

“That’s a discussion we’re still kind of muddling through this week, in terms of how we’re going to match up in some situations. We’re still working through that. ... [UGA’s offensive line] is a massive unit. ... You gotta play with a great pad level. You start standing up with this bunch, you’re going to get pushed around. That’s the bottom line. So we’ve got to stress pad level and keeping your head in your gap. [D’Andre] Swift and all these runners are guys that can take it anywhere, whether it’s A gap, B gap, C gap, or circle the defense. You better play behind your pads or you’re going to get pushed around. You’ve got to be able to disengage and get off blocks because they’re going to create a lot of double-teams.”

On how he personally prepares for a big game like this

“I ain’t worried about me, I’m worried about the guys playing. I’ll be fine.”


After settling his legal matters, Javon Charleston has been reinstated with the team as long as he “handles his business,” according to Muschamp. He is not yet able to play.