After becoming the seventh team in program history to win nine games, winning the program’s ninth-ever bowl game and finishing second in the SEC East in 2017, the expectations for the South Carolina Gamecocks are at an all-time high for this football season.
That doesn’t bother the Gamecocks, who were picked to finish second in the SEC East division once again in 2018.
Veteran players such as Jake Bentley, Deebo Samuel and Bryson Allen-Williams spoke to media members at Williams-Brice Stadium on the first day of fall camp. They all emphasized that staying focused and having a successful training camp is key to meeting those expectations.
“For our team, we think we have something special here,” said Bentley at Media Day. “Mindset wise, ... everyone knows what it takes to win, and that starts with having a great training camp.”
The players are aware of what is expected of them in 2018, and they are all determined to not get distracted and to embrace what is in front of them.
“That’s one thing our leaders do ... keeping guys focused on what’s going on in house, and to not get really caught up into what anybody says or predicts,” said Bentley. “We know ... the expectations we have for ourselves.”
Senior wide receiver Deebo Samuel and senior linebacker Bryson Allen-Williams echoed the same statements as Bentley.
“We have a good group of leaders on this team and it keeps the whole team level-headed, don’t feed into the media,” said Samuel. “It’s all about what we got here and what we gonna do out there on the field.”
Allen-Williams reiterated that having a successful training camp before the season even kicks off is what’s most important and is what can dictate a season of higher expectations.
“Good teams focus on training camp, you take it one step at a time,” said Allen-Williams. “For us, if we dominate training camp and we worry about South Carolina and we make sure we’re the best South Carolina ... we can play with anybody ... If we handle that ... the season will take care of itself.”
The Gamecocks will practice 23 times throughout the month of August before kicking off the season against Coastal Carolina at Williams-Brice Stadium on Sept.1 at noon.