USC Gamecocks Football

Muschamp, USC plan to ‘expect the unexpected’ vs. Vanderbilt

Muschamp: Every opening game brings unique challenges

South Carolina coach Will Muschamp explains how a team prepares for a season opening opponent.
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South Carolina coach Will Muschamp explains how a team prepares for a season opening opponent.

Season openers are tricky in college football. A team can watch all the previous season’s film it wants, but there’s always an unknown factor, a question of whether or not last year’s habits will reflect this year’s product.

South Carolina football coach Will Muschamp has to discern that with Thursday’s opener at Vanderbilt, and he said the situation comes with a warning for players.

“What you can’t do is cover everything,” Muschamp said. “The players have to, and we’ve explained it to them a thousand times, there’s going to be some things you’ve got to apply your concepts. Expect the unexpected in the first game. Don’t get shocked when you get out there and it’s something different and it ain’t exactly what we repped in practice. That’s going to happen.”

He also said special teams might be a shock as teams don’t do much full-contact work there, South Carolina even less with its depth issues.

Muschamp spoke highly of Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason, who serves as his own defensive coordinator and built a good unit on that side of the ball in his second year. Muschamp also pointed out Commodores offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig has run a range of attacks from spread to ground-and-pound, and seems to be fusing both approaches.

The Gamecocks’ head man also singled out Vandy tailback Ralph Webb, who rushed for 1,100 yards in 2015, and linebacker Zach Cunningham, a havoc-wreaking play-maker, for praise.

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