Josh Kendall

What Will Muschamp and Gamecocks learned watching Vanderbilt play Notre Dame

South Carolina’s football players found themselves doing something unexpected on Saturday – watching football.

The Gamecocks were supposed to be playing football, but Hurricane Florence prompted the cancellation of their game with Marshall. That left South Carolina players to watch instead of play, and center Donell Stanley took in Vanderbilt’s game against No. 8 Notre Dame with interest. Stanley and guard Sadarius Hutcherson watched the game together, scouting the Commodores all the time.

The Gamecocks (1-1, 0-1 SEC) play Vanderbilt (2-1) on Saturday at 4 p.m. in Nashville, Tenn.

“I definitely watched that game,” Stanley said. “Vandy plays hard. They always play hard. I figure they should have won that game. They outplayed Notre Dame I thought. We are just focused on us and what we have to do to win this game.”

The Commodores opened the season with easy wins over Middle Tennessee State and Nevada, and Gamecocks head coach Will Muschamp has pushed the notion on his team that Vanderbilt should be 3-0 now instead of 2-1.

“He says he thinks they should have won that (Notre Dame) game,” running back Rico Dowdle said.

Like Stanley, Muschamp watched the game live, a rare thing for football coaches used to scouting their opponents in video cut ups shot from the end zones rather than the live action shot from the sidelines. Watching a game live gives coaches a better feel of “the flow of the game,” Muschamp said.

“Right now offensively with tempo and different things, what is the flow of the game? How is the game being administered?” he said. “You get a good feel that they play extremely hard. Sometimes you see that on the TV copy as opposed to the coaches’ copy that we see.”

Muschamp watched the game with wife Carol and sons Jackson and Whit, he said.

“We watched a lot of ball,” he said. “I got nervous before every game and we weren’t even playing.”