David Cloninger

Gamecocks not thinking of 2015 as fresh start looms

Many of the players didn’t want to talk about it, or didn’t have a reason for it.

Some pointed to specific factors.

“We didn’t finish games,” Mason Zandi said.

“We just didn’t have the same mentality,” Kelsey Griffin said.

There were plenty of reasons why South Carolina cratered to a 3-9 season last year, just 25 games after they finished 2013 as the No. 4 team in the country. But following the lead of new coach Will Muschamp, the Gamecocks at Monday’s Media Day had one common statement about 2015.

Forget it.

“That was last year,” Jordan Diggs said. “That’s not this year.”

Muschamp said he isn’t bringing it up as a “something to prove” motto for his team, because they all want to prove something to themselves. Him, too.

All the Gamecocks know how they’re viewed. They don’t need a reminder of last year to understand why.

So they’re looking at 2016 as a just-out-the-wrapper chalkboard, shiny and unmarked. Starting Tuesday, the first day of practice, they begin writing how last year never was going to matter when it comes to their destiny.

Muschamp, the players said, has already been tremendous about coming in and not talking X’s and O’s right away. It’s about being more energetic, more focused and finishing everything they do. It’s been a fresh voice and promise from Coach Boom – it will change if you work for it.

After last year, they were only too ready to hear it.

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