USC Gamecocks Football

Nunez out, Mack Brown drops in, USC reveals spring game format

Will Muschamp says what he can about QB addition

South Carolina head football coach Will Muschamp explains adding a quarterback for 2016, why his team came indoors and how far the offensive line depth has come.
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South Carolina head football coach Will Muschamp explains adding a quarterback for 2016, why his team came indoors and how far the offensive line depth has come.

Even through Monday, the South Carolina football coaching staff held out hope quarterback Lorenzo Nunez would be able to make it back on the field before spring wrapped up.

Thursday afternoon, coach Will Muschamp confirmed the sophomore will miss the spring game with a knee injury.

“We’ve tried, and he has come out and thrown a good bit in prepractice stuff,” Muschamp said. “But he has not been cleared to run around. He’s moving around pretty good on it. He’s throwing the ball well. Just as far as the contact.”

The quarterbacks will be in noncontact jerseys Saturday, but Muschamp said they’re holding their young passer out.

Nunez started two games as a freshman, throwing for 376 yards and rushing for 375. He was knocked out with a hyper-extended knee early in the spring, as a small army of passers have been competing for the starting job.

Spring set

It had not been made clear exactly how Saturday’s South Carolina football spring game would go. On Thursday, Muschamp painted a slightly fuller picture of the format of the game.

“We’re just going to roll offense vs. defense,” Muschamp said. “Good-on-good. Roll guys in. A great evaluation for us.”

The game kicks off at noon, with an alumni flag football game at 11 a.m.

Muschamp said on his radio show he’d love to break into teams, but it’s not what the team needs at this juncture.

Coming inside

South Carolina practiced in its indoor facility Thursday for the first time in the spring. Weather had yet to force the team inside, so Muschamp did because they had yet to do it.

“I like to practice things,” Muschamp said. “We’re going to do this in August. I’d like to have been in here with our team before we start in fall camp. So I like to prepare. I’m a little bit weird about stuff like that.”

National champ in the building

The Gamecocks closed practice early Thursday afternoon, and got a few words from one of the more accomplished coaches in recent memory. Mack Brown won a national title at Texas and 244 games across a career at Tulane, North Carolina and with the Longhorns.

He had Muschamp on his staff from 2008-10, and the pair helped lead the team to the 2009 national title.

“Three of the best years of my life were at the University of Texas, coaching there for him and working for him,” Muschamp said. “He and I have stayed in touch. He’s going to call our game on Saturday. He took over at Tulane, took over at North Carolina and took over at Texas and built every one of those programs to great success. That was his message – about coming into a new situation, adapting to a new staff and some of the things that he went through. He did a fantastic job, as he always does.”

Radio show takeaways

▪  Muschamp called outside linebackers coach Mike Peterson a shooting star in the profession

▪  He said an expansion of the off-field staff helped in a myriad of ways in recruiting. One key there is identifying late bloomers who come on in their senior seasons.

▪  Coaches can’t work with players and a ball between the spring and start of summer work. Muschamp said that means players have to take ownership of the offseason, specifically organizing their own “player-run practices.”

▪  The Gamecocks coaching staff will start researching next year’s opponents the first few days after spring practice wraps up.

▪  Muschamp gave his take on the towns of the SEC, saying “Most of the towns in the Southeastern Conference, they’re not very fun to be in. I’m just being honest with you. ... Columbia’s a great place to be.”

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