After four games, the South Carolina football team sits at .500 with a 2-2 record. At his weekly Tuesday press conference, head coach Shane Beamer said he was not happy with last Saturday's performance in all three phases.
Following the 16-10 loss to Kentucky, Beamer said he wants his team to be better.
"Coaching certainly has to be better, but the real travesty in this whole situation would be if we didn't get better as a football team," Beamer said. "We have to play better, we have to coach better. We've lost to two undefeated teams that are good, veteran football teams, and we've got a great opportunity this week to bounce back."
Despite the 2-2 start, Beamer said it is still September and "the sky is not falling."
Through the team's two-game skid, missed opportunities have came back to hurt in the end. Against the Wildcats, South Carolina could not take advantage of its opponent's mistakes, resulting in the comeback that never was.
The Gamecock offense attempted to convert three fourth downs and was unsuccessful in doing so, which was a problem combined with the inability to make a play on third down, going 3-for-12.
"Our main focus point is execution," freshman running back Juju McDowell said at Tuesday's press conference. "Our coaches, they put us in the correct positions and give us perfect opportunities to make plays. We just have to execute."
On the defensive side, the team proved to be impotent against Kentucky's running game, surrendering 230 yards. After giving up an opening drive touchdown, the defense did its job in keeping the game close by forcing three turnovers.
"I think they've been great. Obviously, they're playing lights out from a turnover standpoint," Beamer said. "It's disappointing — we've won the turnover margin the last two games and have lost."
Heading into Saturday, the Gamecocks will wrap up a two-game home stand as non-conference foe Troy comes to town.
Despite being a 7-point favorite, this will be a challenging matchup for the team, as the Trojans have been one of the perennial defenses in the country this season.
"They're extremely aggressive. At the end of the play, you see a majority of the defensive players around the ball," McDowell said. "They're not afraid to attack, and they're probably going to have an arrogant demeanor coming into this game, especially having a few successes beating larger teams in the past."
McDowell said Beamer's main emphasis has been maintaining focus and never taking any opponent for granted.
With six consecutive weeks of conference play looming, the team understands the importance of securing a victory this week.
"The guys are back in here ready. We're not dreading the past and feeling sorry for ourselves," sophomore punter Kai Kroeger said at Tuesday's press conference. "They're ready to play again in front of home and a great crowd. Everyone's pretty much, if anything, coming in with a better attitude than before because they want to get that win — back in the winning column — that much more, which has been really great to see."