South Carolina football coach Will Muschamp wanted his team focused after the big win against Tennessee last week, so he broke out a mantra.
Don’t take the cheese.
The meaning is a little wonky. There’s cheese in a trap. He didn’t want his players getting high on themselves, listening to friends, fans and family congratulating them.
So he made the mantra something tangible.
“I put mousetraps all over the building,” Muschamp said.
“We had a bunch of mousetraps, actually,” kicker Elliott Fry said. “Around the locker room. Around the meeting rooms. Around the weight room. Yeah, so there were a bunch. Try not to step on one.”
The team didn’t figuratively step on one, starting fast and knocking off Missouri 31-21 to get one game from bowl eligibility.
Coaches weren’t crazy enough to set them, so there probably wasn’t much need to worry about stepping on them, right?
“Some of the guys started setting them,” Fry said, “then started to throw them at each other.”
Linebacker T.J. Holloman didn’t waste much time in selling out the main culprit.
“That would be Jeff Dillman,” said Holloman, referencing the team’s high-energy head strength coach. “He is the mousetrap man. He was throwing them at us all week, telling us, ‘Don’t bite the cheese.’ ”
Since they didn’t, it seems the ploy worked.
“We laughed at first,” Holloman said, “but then Dillman texted us all weekend about mousetrap this, mousetrap that.
“We got the point. Once you have some mousetraps coming at you, you get the point.”