Josh Kendall

‘Making a lot of changes,’ ex-Gamecocks predict good things for current team

Although he’s now a former Gamecock, Zack Bailey still is part of a Snapchat group with many of his former South Carolina teammates. Sometimes it’s torture. Such as when they post pictures of all the bells and whistles that come with USC’s new $50 million operations building.

“Breakfast looks like it’s amazing every morning,” Bailey said from the NFL Combine.

Bailey “definitely” believes South Carolina’s football program is headed in the right direction under head coach Will Muschamp, he said.

“I have been talking to all the boys back home and they are making a lot of changes this year, and it’s for the good,” Bailey said. “They are making something special.”

Bailey wasn’t the only former Gamecock to note changes in the program.

“It’s a lot of coaching changes, a lot of different ways that they practice, a lot of different ways that they lift,” fellow former offensive lineman Dennis Daley said. “There’s a lot of new stuff going in, and a lot of those guys are excited about this year coming up. I feel like it’s harder.”

The Gamecocks are 22-17 overall and 12-12 in the SEC in Muschamp’s three seasons. The program was 21-17 overall and 10-14 in the SEC in the three years prior to his arrival.

“Since Muschamp has been there you can see the program has changed tremendously,” wide receiver Deebo Samuel said. “He really turned it into a brotherhood. He’s a players’ coach first and every decision he makes is not on his own, he gets players’ feedback before he makes a decision.”

The Gamecocks have “ramped up” their weight-lifting program thanks to the new weight room, Bailey said, and former USC linebacker Bryson Allen-Williams believes there will be more accountability among the players this year after a disappointing 7-6 record last year.

“Last year, we had leadership that held everybody accountable but I feel like Coach Muschamp and (strength coach Jeff) Dillman are giving those guys more control. They are going to be a senior heavy team so they are going to have a lot of guys who have played a lot of games who can really take control of the team and really enforce the rules they have.”

After expressing his confidence for the 2019 season, Daley was asked if he had seen the Gamecocks’ 2019 schedule.

“I have. It’s tough man, but I’ve got faith in them,” he said. “They are changing things up, and I think they’ll do good this year.”

Josh Kendall has covered SEC football for almost 20 years. He has covered the Gamecocks since the 2010 season. Have a question? Shoot him an email or find him on Twitter, and he’ll be happy to respond.