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South Carolina Gamecocks vs South Florida Bulls: Will Muschamp Postgame Press Conference

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Muschamp talks about the loss in the Birmingham Bowl

NCAA Football: Birmingham Bowl-South Florida vs South Carolina Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

On the Gamecocks coming back and getting back in the game:

I was truly proud of our players to fight and get back in the ballgame…Offensively, I thought we played extremely well on the game, it gave us an opportunity to win. When you score 39 points you ought to win. But again, proud of our guys’ effort, our guys fought all year to get here and I’m extremely proud of them.

On the defense:

We don’t tackle very well to start the game, really not very good on defense on third down… Our athleticism and speed on defense has got to improve, that’s very evident when we play faster teams.

On why the defense struggled more towards the end of the season:

All four teams spread the field and made us defend the field, it started with Missouri. Speed, it’s kind of important on defense. Pass rushers, if there’s any out there, come on, come to South Carolina.

On whether he expects Skai Moore to be on campus in August:

Yes. Well January will be first, then August.

On Deebo Samuel:

He’s a great competitor, I wish we had more like him. He’s got really good hands. He catches the ball off his body but he’s a running back after the catch. He’s an explosive guy and his lower body is very strong, he runs through contact…He’s a guy that’s a good football player.

On why Jake Bentley passed so much:

They gave some things down the field, when you’re able to throw for 400 yards because they’re willing to give it to you, that’s what you do.

On Jake Bentley’s performance:

I thought he was outstanding. I mean, he’s a high school senior and he threw for 400 yards in a bowl game. I thought he played extremely well, we need more like him.

On how the win over Tennessee in October impacted the team:

I think it was a very good win at home against a team that we had a lot of respect for that’s got a bunch of good players and is well coached. It was a big win for us and definitely created some momentum for us down the stretch.

On moving forward and whether going to a bowl game helps, even though the Gamecocks lost:

Well we gotta continue to address some things. A lot of our issues need to be addressed in February so that’s what we’ll do. I like the way our guys have worked. I like the way they’ve continued to fight and persevere and push through and we’ll continue to preach to our guys.

On whether he’s satisfied with his first year as the South Carolina head coach:

No. We got a long way to go.