USC Gamecocks Football

Gamecocks might not talk about that brutal schedule, but it’s something ‘we all know’

South Carolina: Bryan Edwards on playing faster in 2019, potential Deebo replacement

South Carolina football senior wide receiver Bryan Edwards talks about offensive coordinator Bryan McClendon's approach to playing with tempo and adding wrinkles to the Gamecocks' offense and how Shi Smith can fill Deebo Samuel's old role.
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South Carolina football senior wide receiver Bryan Edwards talks about offensive coordinator Bryan McClendon's approach to playing with tempo and adding wrinkles to the Gamecocks' offense and how Shi Smith can fill Deebo Samuel's old role.

College football teams and their coaches don’t often dig too deep into the natures of their schedules, at least publicly.

They want to focus on one game at a time, on what’s right in front of them. South Carolina’s Will Muschamp certainly tries to approach things that way, hardly even looking too far ahead to a spring game at week’s end.

But sometimes, a player lets slip that he and his teammates are cognizant of the brutal road the Gamecocks will face.

“With it being my senior year and everything that’s on the line, we all have to have that sense of urgency if we want to win games with the schedule we have,” wide receiver Bryan Edwards said.

That schedule is headlined by the triumvirate of Alabama, Clemson and Georgia, which in all likelihood will be next fall’s preseason top three.

Then you have a Florida team that won 10 games and a Texas A&M squad that won nine. When the sixth- and seventh-hardest games on the schedule are Missouri and Kentucky teams that combined to win 18 games last year, plus a rising Tennessee team and an 11-win Appalachian State squad, the road is going to be a rough one.

But it’s not something the team mulls over or discusses too much.

“It’s something that we all know,” Edwards said. “We don’t have to talk about it.

“I mean, the schedule we had last year, the SEC’s not a cakewalk. We’ve got to just play.”

He’s got a point, as South Carolina’s strength of schedule ranked in the top-20 last season, 17th by Jeff Sagarin’s ratings, 10th by Bill Connelly’s S&P+ ratings.

Last year’s slate was bad enough that by S&P+, South Carolina’s seven-win campaign was considered overachieving by more than a game. Now USC for its rotating SEC West foe trades out a 4-8 Ole Miss team for the College Football Playoff runner-up Crimson Tide.

South Carolina has more than a few seniors, a veteran squad and should reap the benefits of being forced to play a slew of young players last season. And with a few players who turned down the NFL for one more ride, they’re taking this daunting slate as something else.

“It’s a lot of opportunity just to showcase your ability on probably national TV,” Edwards said. “I’m excited.”

South Carolina spring game details

What: Garnet & Black Spring Football Game

When: Noon Saturday, April 6

Where: Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia (gates open at 10:30)

Admission: Free

TV: SEC Network (Matt Schick, Matt Stinchcomb, Alyssa Lang)

Radio: 107.5 The Game in the Columbia area

Extra: Former Gamecock lettermen will take part in a flag football game inside Williams Brice at 11 am.

South Carolina 2019 football schedule

Aug. 31: North Carolina (Charlotte, N.C.)

Sept. 7: Charleston Southern (Williams-Brice Stadium)

Sept. 14: Alabama (Williams-Brice Stadium)

Sept. 21: Missouri (Columbia, Mo.)

Sept. 28: Kentucky (Williams-Brice Stadium)

Oct. 5: Open Date

Oct. 12: Georgia (Athens, Ga.)

Oct. 19: Florida (Williams-Brice Stadium)

Oct. 26: Tennessee (Knoxville, Tenn.)

Nov. 2: Vanderbilt (Williams-Brice Stadium)

Nov. 9: Appalachian State (Williams-Brice Stadium)

Nov. 16: Texas A&M (College Station, Texas)

Nov. 23: Open Date

Nov. 30: Clemson (Williams-Brice Stadium)

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