Like the rest of the SEC, South Carolina coach Will Muschamp was reacting Sunday to LSU’s decision to fire 12th-year coach Les Miles.
“Les was always good to me,” Muschamp said. “It’s an unfortunate situation, and it’s part of our profession. He has always been very cordial and good with me. He’s a good man and a good football coach, and it’s sad to see.”
Muschamp was 1-3 against Miles when Muschamp was the coach at Florida.
South Carolina’s defense has been on the field for 300 plays through four games. That’s the 10th-highest total in the SEC this year. The Gamecocks are eighth in the SEC in yards allowed per play at 5.32.
“I feel like the defense needs to be ready to play,” said safety D.J. Smith, who had four tackles and an interception against Kentucky. “I know we have been playing more snaps than usual so that puts more pressure on our shoulders, but that’s what we’re supposed to do, make plays.”
South Carolina is allowing 399.3 yards per game, which ranks 11th in the SEC.
“I don’t think conditioning is an issue at all,” defensive end Marquavius Lewis said.
Smith said he didn’t agree with the pass interference call against Antoine Wilder that erased a Jamarcus King interception in the second quarter, but Muschamp said it was the right call.
“It looked like their receivers ran the wrong routes and bumped into each other,” Smith said. “It looked clean to me. I didn’t think it was interference. I don’t even know if they called it on (King) or not, but I think that was a big play in the game that got called back.”
After converting 3-of-13 third down attempts against Kentucky, South Carolina is next-to-last in the SEC in third down conversions with a 31 percent success rate (18-of-58).
Offensive Line Update
Asked about the play of his offensive line, Muschamp replied, “We need to improve.”
“That’s part of the discussion we are having right now is personnel and scheme,” he said.
Sophomore wide receiver Deebo Samuel (hamstring) is expected to play Saturday, Muschamp said. Samuel has missed the last two games despite being expected to play in both. He has four catches for 66 yards this season.
Senior safety Chaz Elder, a starter until a rib injury suffered two weeks ago, practiced Sunday and could play this week, Muschamp said. Freshman wide receiver Randrecous Davis (hamstring) will miss his second straight game.
Freshman running back Rico Dowdle (groin) practiced Sunday and is expected to play on special teams this week, but it’s unclear when he’ll be ready to help in the offensive backfield, Muschamp said. Dowdle was injured in the preseason.
“He has missed a lot of time so there are issues for him in terms of ball security and those types of things,” Muschamp said.
Linebacker Larenz Bryant (hamstring) and offensive linemen Blake Camper (ankle) and Donnell Stanley (ankle) are expected to be out until at least Oct. 15.