Gamecock football head coach Will Muschamp opened the press conference Feb. 25 by expressing his satisfaction with the offseason. Muschamp said that while there is still work to be done, many improvements have been made.
“Installing an offense and then some changes defensively and on special teams. So, I’ve been pleased with the progress in all three areas to this point,” Muschamp said. “During this time, we spend a lot of time on analytics, quality control, what are things we need to improve on, which there's obviously, after a disappointing fall, a lot.”
This offseason has included significant coaching staff changes to the South Carolina program.
Mike Bobo was hired as the offensive coordinator as Bryan McClendon was moved to wide receivers coach.
The final change was Rod Wilson, Super Bowl champion and former Kansas City Chief, who was hired as the linebackers coach to complete the Gamecocks staff.
Muschamp said coaching changes are a part of football, and according to Muschamp, the team is ready to adapt and work with an all new staff.
“We’re pleased with the staff, always look at staff changes as an opportunity to grow, an opportunity to improve and get better,” Muschamp said.
Five areas to improve
After the 4-8 2019 season, Muschamp said the Gamecocks are looking to improve in multiple areas.
First is winning the turnover margin on defense. Muschamp said he wants his defense to create more opportunities for the offense. Last year, Gamecocks won the turnover ratio against opponents five times and won four of those five games. South Carolina lost all seven games that they lost the turnover margin in.
The second is increasing the explosive play ratio on offense. Muschamp and the Gamecocks are looking to average more 10-yard runs or 20-yard passes in the 2020 season.
Muschamp is also looking to focus on winning the field position battle. He wants special teams to create more short fields for the offense and more long fields for the defense.
Lastly, South Carolina is looking to finish better in the red zone. The goal is to score 100% of the time in the red zone with at least 75% of those scores being touchdowns. On the defensive side of the ball, Muschamp aims to hold teams to scoring field goals at least 60% in the red zone.
When it comes to overall games, Muschamp is working with his team to finish better during the fourth quarter. The Gamecocks were outscored by 146 in every fourth quarter outside of the Charleston Southern game.
“So as far as finishing, discipline, the mental toughness in those situations, we’ve been a good situational team up 'til last year,” Muschamp said.
Muschamp said all of the team’s positions are “wide open” in terms of nailing them down for the fall.
After starting the majority of his freshman year, Ryan Hilinski ended the 2019 season with an injured knee and elbow. However, he never missed a game for the Gamecocks because of his injuries, and according to Muschamp, Hilinski is healthy and ready to go for the upcoming season.
When asked about five-star defensive tackle Jordan Burch signing with South Carolina, Muschamp said he is excited for him along with all the incoming freshmen. Every freshman is expected to be treated the same, and the player that works the hardest and plays the best in the offseason will get playing time.
Muschamp and his coaching staff are focused on finding who on the roster will lead the team, be productive, take care of the ball and ultimately help win football games.