The South Carolina Gamecocks are in Oxford, Mississippi, this weekend to face off against the Ole Miss Rebels. Both teams enter Saturday night's matchup with 2-4 records on the season.
For the Gamecocks, they come into Saturday night following back-to-back losses in their last two games. The team will look to play better in every aspect following a disappointing 48-3 loss to Texas A&M at home last weekend.
The defense for the Gamecocks will have a tough task this week as it faces off against an Ole Miss team which ranks at second in offense in the SEC. South Carolina’s secondary will matchup against wide receiver Elijah Moore, who leads the conference in both receptions and receiving yards.
At Tuesday's press conference, head coach Will Muschamp said the starting quarterback competition was back open between graduate transfer Collin Hill and sophomore Ryan Hilinski.
“Collin and Ryan both got equal reps," Muschamp said. "We do not have a timetable on when we will make that decision, it could be up to pregame warmup to see who’s spinning it best."
Muschamp has been on record this year saying he would start whichever quarterback gave the team the best opportunity to win, and it was announced Friday that Hill would keep his starting spot.
However, the graduate transfer completed only 8 of 21 pass attempts with two interceptions in last week’s loss to the Aggies. Hill is completing just around 59% of his passes on the season and has been sacked 18 times, which is tied for most sacks in the SEC this year.
But the team's offensive struggles are not all on the starting quarterback, Muschamp said in Tuesday's press conference.
“We need to play better around [the quarterback] position. We need to have more people step up at the wideout position, outside of Shi Smith. We need to continue to take advantage of the tight end position. We need to run the ball better,” Muschamp said.
These comments followed a game in which sophomore running back Kevin Harris rushed for only 39 yards on 13 carries in a loss to the Aggies.
This was Harris' first game without a touchdown run and the first in which he did not rush for at least 50 yards. Even so, he still enters Saturday night’s contest third in rushing yards in the SEC.
The Gamecocks will also look for more contributions from the wide receiver position. Senior wide receiver Shi Smith leads the team with 43 receptions, while the next closest receiver only has seven.
“I think we’ve given some guys opportunities, and whether it's dropped passes or not running the route the precise way, those things are all issues," Muschamp said.
Muschamp fielded questions on his job security, fans' quick-triggered emotions and his team’s mindset entering this week’s game. His message was clear and consistent.
“Win games,” Muschamp said.
South Carolina will kick off against Ole Miss at 7:30 p.m. Saturday on SEC Network.