Will Muschamp on 2017 team compared to 2016: ‘It’s night and day’ different

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Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp spoke about his team following Saturday’s scrimmage, and he had some interesting comments about the future of his team. When asked about how 2017’s team compares to this year’s team, he said the following:

“It’s night and day. More than anything, we’ve got some depth on the offensive line. We’ve got some depth in the front seven – not at linebacker, but in our front four. We’ve got more depth at defensive back. We have more options as far as skill guys are concerned.”

Muschamp inherited a bit of a mess in Columbia, with no clear-cut starter at quarterback and depth issues across the field. In 2016, he found that quarterback in true freshman Jake Bentley, and a stud running back as well in another freshman, Rico Dowdle.

His first full recruiting cycle in 2017, one that was ranked 21st by 247Sports Composite, has looked even more promising. One of the biggest names of the bunch, in-state four-star receiver Or’Tre Smith, is progressing nicely, per Muschamp:

“Or’Tre (Smith) and Bryan (Edwards) have taken part in the individual stuff and a lot of the skeleton stuff, just not the full 11-on-11, although Or’Tre did today and he’s progressing extremely well.”

And about the rest of the receivers:

“Korey Banks has done some nice things, Chavis Dawkins has done some nice things, Terry Googer has. We need to be more consistent in those positions. I think Deebo Samuel is having an outstanding spring. I’ve been extremely pleased with him and how he’s come out and worked.”

On the offense as a whole, the new head ball coach said that they’ve been tagged with typical injuries of the spring, but they’re making solid progress:

“We’re better on the offensive skill, although we do have some guys out. Randrecous Davis had sports hernia surgery, so he’ll miss the rest of spring. I’m disappointed for him. He’s going to be a really good football player for us. Bryan Edwards and Or’Tre Smith have been limited, but have been partaking in most of practices. I’ve been pleased with both of those guys. A.J. Turner has been out with a hamstring injury. He has not practiced this spring, but we’re hoping to get him back next week. We’ve got to get all of our offensive skill all together on the field at once. That’s what’s been frustrating offensively.”

And on defense:

“I’ve been pleased with the play of Skai (Moore), Bryson (Allen-Williams) and T.J. (Brunson) for the most part. We’ve got more competition in the secondary than we’ve had, which will certainly help us.”

An area that does still need work, according to Muschamp, is the aforementioned pass rush:

“We need to improve. We need to get better. We need more fast-twitch up front. We’ve got to get more edge guys. I’ve been very pleased with Dennis Wonnum. He’s had a good spring for us. Dante (Sawyer) has done nice things for us. Daniel Fennell has had two back-to-back good practices for us. We’ve got to have him come along for us. Taylor (Stallworth) has done some nice things inside. We’ve got to get more guys we can count on front. We’re very thin from a standpoint of experience and guys we feel we can win the SEC East with.”

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