In Will Muschamp’s first season, his staff used the break to work Jake Bentley into the lineup, a choice that saved that season and defined most of the Muschamp era.
The Gamecocks coach didn’t announce or hint at any massive changes coming out of the bye his team just went through. But there is promise of some changes.
“We’ve evaluated some things we need to improve on and I think we made some progress,” Muschamp said. “With that said, you’re always tinkering in terms of doing things differently than you did in the first five ball games.”
South Carolina’s staff received some plaudits for the set of adjustments made heading into the win against Kentucky the week before the bye.
They locked in a little harder on the run, going with more two-tight end sets, focused on overpowering the Wildcats. On defense, they declined to match personnel, instead giving Sherrod Greene more work on the strongside and limiting the use of nickel personnel, which had become their base.
Through the off week, Muschamp and defensive coordinator Travaris Robinson harped on turnovers, where the team has a negative differential. Robinson pointed to a few other spots such as making sure pinned opposing offenses stay pinned and big play prevention. Muschamp also mentioned red zone work as a big issue.
The Gamecocks are 3-0 coming out of bye weeks under Muschamp with wins against UMass (the Bentley year), Vanderbilt and Tennessee (a loss that helped cost the Vols a bowl trip). This off week leads into a different beast in No. 3 Georgia, and it’s not South Carolina’s only one. The Gamecocks will have a weekend off before No. 2 Clemson.
Muschamp said the three off week practices yielded some good things. He liked what he got on Tuesday, less so Wednesday and was “decently pleased” with some situational work on Thursday.
“You’re constantly evaluating what you do,” Muschamp said. “Obviously we’ve added some wrinkles on both sides of the ball and special teams, and I think that everybody does that. You’re looking to evaluate what you need to work on as a team.”