South Carolina’s spring speaking tour has only started and Gamecocks head football coach Will Muschamp already is a little tired of answering questions about his team’s 2019 schedule.
“It’s tough every year,” Muschamp told reporters prior to speaking the Augusta and Aiken Gamecock Clubs as part of his annual Spurs Up tour. “Our schedule is difficult every year. I don’t understand why everyone is making a big deal about it. Success to us is winning our state and winning the East. That gives you the opportunity to play in the College Football Playoff, and that’s what our expectation is every year.”
When the fan portion of event began, the subject came up again.
“Everybody asks me about the schedule,” said Muschamp, who spoke before the Gamecocks baseball team played Charleston Southern in SRP Park. “Hell, the schedule is hard every year. It is what it is. They are looking at their schedule saying, ‘Damn, we have to go to Williams-Brice.’ That’s what I want them saying.”
Muschamp, who will speak in Columbia at Williams-Brice Stadium on Wednesday night, is really going to be tired of the subject by the time the 2019 season kicks off Aug. 31 against North Carolina at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.
South Carolina’s 2019 football schedule was ranked the second-hardest in the country by Bleacher Report. The Gamecocks play three of the nation’s top four teams — according to ESPN’s offseason Top 25 — in Clemson, Alabama and Georgia. They also play at Texas A&M and host Florida.
The Gamecocks finished 7-6 last year. Muschamp is 22-17 overall and 12-12 in the SEC in three years at South Carolina.
“At this time, there are some things to be excited about,” Muschamp said. “The competitive depth we have on our team. We have a deeper roster than we have had before, especially on both lines of scrimmage, which excites you. You have to be strong there. May, June and July are critical for us. You get better or worse every single day. That goes back to your leadership and your competitive depth. Guys know they have to work.”
NFL Hall of Famers Ronnie Lott and Charles Haley addressed the Gamecocks in Columbia on Tuesday.
“Charles Haley said it best: ‘Hoping and dreaming and wishing ain’t going to get you anywhere in life,’ ” Muschamp said. “Our guys aren’t hoping or wishing or dreaming. They are ready to get to work.”
Lott had a word of advice for South Carolina quarterback Jake Bentley, Muschamp said.
“Jake asked Ronnie Lott about the great quarterback-receiver combinations you’ve been against. What’s the No. 1 thing they have done well?” Muschamp said. “He said the No. 1 thing is the quarterback took care of the football, and Jake has got to be better with that.”
South Carolina 2019 schedule
Aug. 31 — North Carolina (2-9 last season)*
Sept. 7 — Charleston Southern (5-6)
Sept. 14 — Alabama (14-1)
Sept. 21 — at Missouri (8-5)
Sept. 28 — Kentucky (10-3)
Oct. 12 — at Georgia (11-3)
Oct. 19 — Florida (10-3)
Oct. 26 — at Tennessee (5-7)
Nov. 2 — Vanderbilt (6-7)
Nov. 9 — Appalachian State (11-2)
Nov. 16 — at Texas A&M (9-4)
Nov. 30 — Clemson (15-0)