It didn’t seem to matter what area he was asked about following the 41-21 loss at Tennessee, coach Will Muschamp had a simple response:

“We got to get it fixed,” he said after the game. “That’s the bottom line.”

Muschamp said Tennessee used max protection for its passing attack, which rang up 351 yards.

“But we’ve just got to cover better down the field,” he said. “We had some 50-50 balls we were in a position to make a play on the ball, we got to make a play on the ball.”

On the punt return touchdown by Tennessee, Muschamp said P Joseph Charlton had a rare “flat” kick that didn’t allow the coverage to get down to the returner, and a gunner was hung up at the line of scrimmage.

“The gunner got out, didn’t make a play, and they split our net,” he said.

He added that once the game became a two-score deficit, Tennessee could change its defense to put more pressure on the passing game. Plus, the loss of OL Sadarius Hutcherson to injury hurt the offensive line.

“I think of it was situationally in the game, we’ve got to stay on the field on third down,” Muschamp said. “The field position killed us a little bit in the first half, in the third quarter especially. We’ve got to be able to flip the field, never got anything going, we couldn’t stay on the field on third down at all on offense.”

Muschamp said the Gamecocks wanted to play with more up-tempo on offense and the first play of the game going for 75 yards gave them a good start.

“As the game rolled along, we were backed up a good bit in the first half,” he said. “Had a hard time flipping the field. And then in the third quarter, never felt like we could get anything going in the run game steadily, the entire ballgame. So disappointed. Got to get back and be more productive offensively. But the explosive plays defensively killed us, and you give up 14 points on special teams, it’s hard to win.”