In a press conference Tuesday afternoon, South Carolina head football coach Will Muschamp, along with various players, reflected on Saturday’s loss to Texas A&M and discussed their goals for the upcoming road matchup against Ole Miss.
“I think we lacked a spark on Saturday,” Muschamp said.
According to Muschamp, there are many things the team must work on to prepare for its matchup against Ole Miss. However, there were some positives Muschamp took away from the most recent game with the defense and special teams.
“I do think defensively we were firmer on some blocks; we played better inside than we had played,” Muschamp said.
Yet, Muschamp made it clear in the press conference that things must get better. He heavily focused on the "spark" needed on offense, as it is crucial for not only the quarterback game, but also the running and wide receiver game, with third down conversions being an important area for improvement.
“We got to play better and coach better on Saturday night,” Muschamp said.
As the players spoke, a common theme for improvement from last Saturday’s game was in regard to execution and consistency. However, as several players noted, along with Muschamp, the Texas A&M game is over, and the team has to focus on its next matchup.
“Win or lose, come Monday, we’re focused on the next team,” junior defensive lineman JJ Enagbare said.
In regard to the competition at the quarterback position, Muschamp said there was no timetable for when they would announce who would start behind center, and a decision could be made as late as pregame on Saturday.
“Both [Collin Hill and Ryan Hilinski] are talented, and we can win with both,” Muschamp said.
Hill, a graduate quarterback, and Hilinski, a sophomore quarterback, both made it clear in the press conference that they are playing to the best of their own ability to earn the spot. They said they will respect the decision of offensive coordinator Mike Bobo in whomever he decides to go with.
“The only thing I can control is me and how I play,” Hill said.
Hilinski said his main focus is to have fun and bring the needed spark to the offense, both on and off the field.
“When I step into that offense, I’m just going to be me and have fun, smile; make the guys have fun,” Hilinski said.
In addition to the quarterback competition, one topic discussed throughout Tuesday’s press conference was the rumors circulating on social media about Muschamp's current role at South Carolina. Muschamp, along with the players present, was unaffected by such rumors and said they are strictly focused on their next game.
Hill and Hilinski said they try to ignore the outside noise and encourage the rest of the team to do so as well.
Senior tight end Nick Muse expressed his personal relationship and respect for Muschamp at the press conference.
“I would take a bullet for Coach Muschamp,” Muse said.
Enagbare had a similar sentiment.
“We love Champ. He rides with us, we ride for him," Enagbare said. "That’s how it’s always going to be, as long as we’re together.”
The Gamecocks will travel to Oxford Saturday to face Lane Kiffin and his Ole Miss Rebels at 7:30 p.m.