Head coach Will Muschamp held a press conference Sunday night to discuss an updated status on the South Carolina football team.
The Gamecocks participated in a 140-snap scrimmage Saturday that included special teams. During the scrimmage, Muschamp said offensively there were improvements in communication and execution. Artificial crowd noise was used, and Muschamp said they wanted to make things “as difficult as we can on our team" as they look to wrap up their month-long training camp that began on Aug. 17.
Offensively during the scrimmage, the Gamecocks found quick success, scoring five touchdowns within the first six possessions. Defensively, Muschamp said there were countless numbers of careless mistakes, including a pass interference on 3rd down that “never should have happened."
Muschamp said the mistakes on defense were “correctable but disappointing in your third scrimmage,” and he is glad there is still time before the season kickoff. Muschamp is looking to continue the self-motivation and execution of his offense while extending that energy to the defense.
Sophomore defensive back Jammie Robinson handled all punt returns for the Gamecocks special teams and was complimented for making smart decisions with the ball. Muschamp said Robinson and junior defensive back Jaycee Horn will continue to battle for the starting position for the first game.
There were no injuries during their third scrimmage, and fifth-year senior linebacker Spencer Eason-Riddle is planning to return to practice on Tuesday after being out with an ACL injury last fall.
In regard to the starting quarterback position, Coach Muschamp said there has yet to be a final decision made between sophomore Ryan Hilinksi and graduate transfer Collin Hill. Muschamp emphasized that both quarterbacks had been performing well in training camp and commanding the offense effectively.
Official preparation for the season kickoff begins during Thursday’s practice, and Muschamp said the team has to be flexible in all aspects of this season.
The Gamecocks are planning to handle the season week by week when it comes to analyzing players out with COVID-19. They are looking to always have a next man up mindset given the uncertainty of players' health conditions.
“If he goes down, who’s the next missile?” Muschamp said.
Given that contact tracing for COVID-19 results in a 14-day quarantine, Muschamp said keeping his players safe is even more important now that the season kickoff is two weeks away. He said the team currently has two active COVID-19 cases and nine players in quarantine, with four or five players returning to practice on Monday.
“We can control what happens here at South Carolina and nowhere else, and that’s what we’ve kind of always talked to our players about, and now we need to live it,” Muschamp said.
The South Carolina Gamecocks are scheduled to begin their season at home against Tennessee Sept. 26 at 7:30 p.m.