Four Gamecock football players are opting out of the rest of the season, and two more are out due to injuries, interim head coach Mike Bobo announced in Tuesday's press conference.
Moments before the conference, junior cornerback Israel Mukuamu released a statement that he would be opting out for the remainder of the 2020 season. This is following Monday night’s news that junior cornerback Jaycee Horn is also opting out.
Early in the press conference, Bobo said junior safety R.J. Roderick and freshman defensive lineman Makius Scott will join them in opting out.
Bobo said he thought no more players would opt out, "but you never know." He also announced that senior defensive lineman Aaron Sterling and redshirt junior linebacker Brad Johnson are out for the remainder of the season due to injuries.
With the recent firing of Will Muschamp as head coach and key players foregoing the rest of the season, Bobo made it clear that for the upcoming matchup against Missouri and remainder of the season, every player needs to step up and work hard. Players are going to get new opportunities, and they must be ready to fill those roles, he said.
“The guys that are here, are here,” Bobo said.
Looking at the Saturday matchup versus Missouri, Bobo said improvement must be seen offensively not just at the quarterback position, but in all the surrounding positions.
“Bottom line is, we need to play better around our quarterback,” Bobo said.
Along with stepping up the offensive game, Bobo said a crucial measurement of success in these final few weeks will be for the team to play together and play with an “us” mentality rather than a “me” mentality. Not only will this mentality be required, but the team must also work and play hard.
“If it’s about the team, your play, alright, will improve greatly. If it’s just about you, your play is going to suffer, and the team’s play is going to suffer,” Bobo said. "That was the message to the team this morning."
Bobo said team morale is low due to the recent losses, but rallying together and getting a win can easily change that mentality.
“Nobody is going to feel sorry for us,” Bobo said.
Former quarterback Connor Shaw, who was just named quarterback coach, said he is excited for his new position and looks forward to being back in the environment.
Shaw said a main area of focus for the quarterbacks is consistency. His advice for Hilinski and Doty is to be locked in and ready to go, as Shaw was in the same position when he faced off against Missouri in 2013.
According to Shaw, pressure is not high for the team currently, and it should focus more on having fun and competing at a high level.
“We have to have the mindset to where, we’re going to continue to show up, be consistent, have fun and keep fighting,” Shaw said.