Uga Football News: Will Muschamp Weekly News Conference 2019

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Uga Football News: Will Muschamp Weekly News Conference 2019


[Moderator] Check your cellphones if you would, please. (door slams) Coach will make an opening statement, open up for questions. - All right, ready? - [Reporters] Yes. - Got Tennessee in Knoxville on the SEC Network, this game in my time at South Carolina in three years has been decided by 12 points. It's a hard faught game. We got a lot of respect for the university of Tennessee, their program and what Coach Pruitt's doing. And we need to expect another four quarter game and we certainly do. The last two games, I think you've seen this team make a lot of improvement. You watch the Mississippi State game and you watch the Alabama game, they play well on the line of scrimmage. They're very physical in how they run the football. They're very talented outside at the receiver position. They're playing well upfront defensively. They're active at linebacker and I think they're extremely talented in the secondary.

And Jeremy does a really good job of that. Obviously, some uncertainty at the quarterback position, but I think they've got talent there. Running backs run extremely hard, as I said earlier. You know, Chandler and Jordan and those guys, Eric Gray, is the young man that we recruited. I think they're offensive played their best ball game last week against Alabama. Got a lot of movement in their running game and did a good job for the most part protecting the quarterback. They're extremely talented. The receiver position, Jauan Jennings is a guy that I've got a lot of respect for. And you've seen him compete on the field for their football team. Extremely impressed with him and Marquez Callaway and Palmer and Byrd are all guys that have played a lot of football for them. Dominick Wood-Anderson is a talented tight end for them that we recruited here as well. A guy that we've got a lot of respect for. Defensively, as I said earlier, they're playing much improved up front defensively as far as playing blocks up front and getting pressure on the quarterback.

Darrell Taylor, leads 'em in sacks, has been a guy that's a really good pass rusher. He gives a good edge presence for them. Daniel Bituli at linebacker has been a guy that's played a lot and a very talented in the secondary. A talented specialist and really good speed. Injury-wise, Rico has got a sprained knee. He is moving around a little bit, I don't know that he will be available this weekend. But he is moving around, there's no surgery required. But I don't know a timetable, but my guess would be probably not for this weekend. A.J. Turner has a little bit of a hamstring and I'll know more, probably Wednesday on his status for the game. Other than that, we should be fine. And I'll open it up for any questions. - [Moderator] Raise your hand, we'll to get the microphone to you (speaking away from mic). - [Reporter] Will, you look at a guy like Mon Denson who's pretty much produced every time he's gotten the ball. But you know, how tough has it been for him to kind of always be in that waiting game, 'cause here's always been a couple of guys ahead of him?

Frustrating, it's hard to play three backs and he's certainly been deserving. But another great example of a great teammate that has waited his turn and has been very productive when he's had his opportunities. He's been a very productive member of our special teams unit. And we're extremely pleased with him and we're excited about him playing on Saturday, there's no doubt about it and he'll play well. - [Reporter] Coach, like you said we've seen this Tennessee team get better and better each week. What have you seen is going to be the biggest challenge come this weekend, especially being in Knoxville? - Well I think they're playing really well on the line of scrimmage. Like I said earlier, I thought the offensive line probably played its best game on Saturday against Alabama. And, you know, they continue to play well on defense. They gave Mississippi State fits they did a good job against Alabama defensively. They're very talented on the back end. So I think overall we got to put together four quarters and play well. -

[Moderator] Way in the back. - [Reporter] Will, what were some of the concerns that you have addressed with the SEC this week. - Well, I haven't really heard from the SEC since Sunday night, so I'm still waiting for a word. - [Reporter] Was it something that you, was it over the the officiating on Saturday and can you tell us maybe what they said to you on Sunday? - Well, really I mean as far as my schedule is concerned, when the game was over I come and grade the film. And I go through all three phases, offense, defense and special teams Saturday night. Happened to go home that night that Alabama and Tennessee were on, so I wanted to watch a little bit of that game to get a little flavor of a live copy of the Tennessee, you know, watching them on TV copy. Get up in the morning, you come in and you re-watch our film again in all three phases to make sure we didn't miss anything. You meet with the offensive staff, defensive staff and the special teams staff. You meet with our entire staff, we had some recruits in.

And then we go to a 3:30 team meeting, which I'll talk about later. And then when I talk, we have a practice and a walkthrough and then we have a 6:30 press conference call with you guys, right. Well, once that happens, we're on to the next game. So I've been totally focused on Tennessee. I jotted some notes down from Sunday that I felt. And then I got a text from Commissioner Sankey Sunday night that they were still in the review process and they're still working through that, I'm assuming. I know that Coach Tanner has been tirelessly working for us and getting some answers about what occurred on Saturday. And I know he's representing us in a first-class manner and he's obviously very upset, as a lot of us are, with some occurrences on Saturday afternoon. So we're still working through that at this time. - [Moderator] Collyn. - [Reporter] Will, what have you seen from R.J. Roderick in the time that, since he's been kind of moved to that starting safety spot? - You know, R.J.'s played, has really done some really nice things for us.

And I think that the biggest thing that I would say, and I would say to you, but I say to R.J. all the time is, consistency in your performance. Down in, down out, consistency in your performance. And those are the things that I think that he could take the next step 'cause I think he's a really talented guy. He has good speed he has good physicality, as far as tackling and playing blocks. He's got a really good competitive edge, you know. And I think that sometimes in my mind, and I get a little ahead of myself with R.J., you know, he didn't play any defensive back 'til he got to South Carolina. He was an option quarterback at Cane Bay High School. And so, there's a lot of first for him last year and now, as you're going into this year, there's a lot of things at the defensive back safety position that are things that are natural. But there's some things you have to learn. And a lot of his learning was by fire last year. You know, and putting in the situation that he was put into. So again I'm, you know, I've been pleased as how he's continued to progress as the season has gone he's improved each week and we expect for him to continue to play well.

(moderator speaking away from mic) - [Reporter] Will, it was announced today that D.J. is nominated for the National Comeback Player of the Year. And what does that award say about him, not only as a player but as a person? - Well, D.J. is as first-class a young man you'll meet, as far as all of the intangible qualities you want in a son. But just the Wonnum family overall, Dennis Sr. and Consuela, are great people and Dylan, obviously, disappointed for him with Andrew. But it's a great family and nothing, I don't know that there's enough adjectives I have that could describe D.J. Wonnum and the type of young man he is, what he stands for. He's a really good football player, he's an even better person. And he's got great leadership ability and great leadership qualities. He's one of three people in school history to be elected team captain as a true sophomore. That says a lot about the respect of his teammates and the staff here. - [Moderator] Over here to the left, Pete. - [Pete] Will, obviously Ryan had some struggles throwing the ball last week.

Was the knee a factor in any of that? And how has he kind of bounced back this week or responded this week? - I thought he looked the best he's looked on a Tuesday practice since the injury. You know, again, and I think, Pete, let's be fair here, that wasn't all on Ryan, you know. There was some things that could have been a fly route on one of the deep balls. I mean there were some things that we could have done better around him. But he'd be the first person to tell you that we need to be more accurate throwing the football. But I thought he had a really good Tuesday practice today. He was sharp throwing the football, bouncing around in the pocket. But as healthy as he's been, I don't think there's any question. But we're all sore right now. We all got some ailments right now but he's a competitor and he's going to battle through it. - [Moderator] Over to the right, here. - [Reporter] Going back to Rico. How much of a relief was it for you and the staff, and of course him, knowing that it wasn't as bad as maybe it could have been?

There's no question, that guy has been through a lot. He's even had some very more legitimate injuries than you'd like to have a young man have. And so very, very relieved that he's not going to have to have surgery and hopefully get him back sooner than later. - [Reporter] Will, you kind of touched on this already, but what are some of the other things do you think you can do to create more of a vertical passing game? I know it was there at times, it's just, maybe the, obviously, maybe the wet ball had something to do with that too. But the deep shots, just for some reason, the timing didn't work out. But what are some of the things that you guys can do to create more of the vertical passing game? - Well, I think turns and reps. I think that's the big thing that, you know, we work on deep balls a lot. And then we knew going into that game that they were going to crowd the box, we're going to have to complete some balls down the field. So I think that just continued turns and reps and with the right guys. And we took two with Shi, I believe, and one with Bryan.

We had Bryan on another one, because of protection we couldn't get it off. But we had some things dialed up in the game. We hit the second play of the game, the flea flicker, it was a well-thrown ball to Bryan. So we certainly have the the capabilities to hit some of those. We hit 'em in practice a lot and we've hit them in some games, we just got to be more consistent. And you know, you change the complexion of the game, you hit one or two of those that's the thing. But we didn't so that's the bottom line, it's a results deal and we didn't get it done. - [Moderator] Josh. - [Josh] One quick clarification and then a separate question. You are expecting to hear back from the SEC? - Well, I would hope so. - [Reporter] Okay, Sadarius Hutcherson, when you got here, 2016 and they said, that guy is an offensive lineman, what did you think, based on his size? - We started recruiting him when I got here. - [Reporter] Okay. - So he was in Huntington, Tennessee between Nashville and Memphis. I would guess he was 230, maybe.

He probably could clarify that better than I would be-- - [Reporter] 236, I think is the number. - 236, wow, six pounds off. - [Reporter] Not bad, pretty good guess. - I stink at that stuff. - [Reporter] You could do the fair thing, you could go to the fair. - That's still going on? - [Reporter] I think so. - Awesome, yeah. Get some corn dogs and everything, be a hell of a day. But he was a guy that, athletically, jumped out at you on tape. His feet, his athleticism, you know, just was extremely impressive on tape. And that's the thing, you see his balance, his athleticism and then you got to project. And when you see Sadarius, he's got wide shoulders, he's got 10-inch hand, he's got long arms, I think his arms are 34, 35. So you feel like he had the frame to continue to grow. And we felt like at that time, and Shawn was the offensive line coach, we needed to continue to get more athletic on the offensive line. And certainly took a reach with him a little bit.

Certainly, we've benefited from that because he's come in, he bought in completely on the nutrition part of it, on the things that he's got to do to be successful. And you really got to credit him. He's done a great job in the weight room. He's a powerful guy. He had really good lower body flexibility you know, when we when we first recruited him, which I think is always a key, especially in a line of scrimmage player, he played on both sides of the ball in high school. But a guy that's really dedicated himself to the weight room he understood the things he's got to do because of the size he was and where he's got to go. And I do remember when we brought him on his official visit, a couple the kids were like is he a tight end, I'm like, no, he's going to be an offensive tackle. But sometimes you got to project. You know, there's a stat, and I'll get the numbers wrong, like the last four years in the NFL Draft of the first three rounds, none of the offensive linemen that were drafted weighed over 300 pounds when they're in high school. - [Reporter] Okay.

And that's, you may want to research that, I may be wrong exactly on the stats or the rounds that they talked about, but I remember that jumped out at me the last year in the recruiting process in recruiting offensive linemen. You know, sometimes guys have peaked where they are, their growth potential and they're not going to improve as they get on campus. So sometimes you've got to project a little bit on some guys that have great athleticism, that maybe play on the defensive side of the ball in high school and you're going to project them as an offensive guy. Now, they don't want to hear that, most of 'em when you're recruiting 'em. But, you know, we've told several guys in the recruiting process, the only way we're going to recruit you here is if you're willing to be an offensive lineman. They tell you no, you move to the next guy. But Sadarius has been a guy that, you know, athletically, length, athleticism, very bright and intelligent and we've been very pleased with him. - [Reporter] How did you find him in Huntington? - We watched a lot of tape, watched a lot of tape.

We went to, well, Shawn Elliott and I went to his high school and we couldn't find him in the school. And they've got an FFA, Future Farmers of America, there. - [Reporter] Yeah. - And he was in the back chasing chickens in the barn, it's a true story. Like a mile and a half of a dirt road to find the guy at the school. - [Reporter] Kind of like a Rocky thing with the footwork where he chased the chicken? - No, I don't know if was like for class or something. I guess they had to put 'em in a cage, I guess, I don't know, or maybe you can't put 'em in a cage anymore, I don't know that. - [Reporter] I'm not sure, has he made more progress than anybody, in your career, in the weight room? Physically, has he is he come the furthest? - I don't know about that, he's made a lot of progress. I don't want to say more than anyone, that'd be hard hard to put a figure on that. - [Reporter] Will, just when you look back at the recruitment process of Jaycee Horn, what stands out? Sort of having gone through that, especially when it came to Tennessee's role in that? - Well, I don't know,

I knew Alabama and Tennessee and I guess we were the last three people that he was interested in. You know, I don't really focus on the other teams in recruiting. I focus on South Carolina and what we need to do to be successful and what we need to do to appeal to a young man to make him feel like South Carolina could be a good situation for him. He was a very easy guy to recruit 'cause he wasn't a guy that you had to sit there and call all the time and text all the time and do all that sort of business. He was a very low-maintenance guy to recruit. Joe, his dad, was great, his mom was great in the process. They wanted Jaycee to make the best decision for him and they trusted him to make the best decision. And so that's kind of how things transpired. - [Moderator] To John, in the back. - [John] You have to pretty new guards this year. Where have you seen their most growth over the course of the season and how much is having Donnell in between 'em helped to help those guys? -

Well, I don't think you could ever sell short the job that Donnell does. And he's been very valuable for us. And in the communication factors up front for both young players I would probably say, John, as much as anything, it's a calming factor involved in that. As far as getting to the line of scrimmage and ID'ing the front and making the protection or the run game calls or whatever we've got going on. I think that both Jovaughn and Jordan Rhodes have both benefited from Donnell, but both have learned to communicate much better up front and making those communications. I think both guys have excelled in run blocking. I think there's some things in as far as pass protection is concerned that we need to continue to improve on. But I think both of those guys have excelled in the run game as far as run blocking is concerned. - [Reporter] Will, you obviously went through this last weekend prepping for two quarterbacks. You said that Florida usually doesn't change what they do no matter who's in.

Does Tennessee have that same, do they change what they do do depending on who's under center? - Doesn't seem like it to me. I think, again, Maurer and Guarantano have played most of the snaps. And Shrout's played it a little bit, I think 25 snaps for the season. So all three guys are very similar in that right. - [Moderator] Hale. - [Reporter] A general question. But when it comes to coaching your defenders how to guard against rub routes, pick routes, whatever you want to call it, what are some of the main-- - Blocking or rubbing? - [Reporter] Whatever you want to call it. - Okay. - [Reporter] What are the main coaching points for those as you're trying to get ready? - Well, number one, generally splits is a, you know, the receiver split is an indicator. And obviously we spend a lot of time watching film with our players. And you try to identify tight splits. You try to identify those sort of things where there's an indication that maybe we're able to play in and out. Which means we're going to play based on the break of a receiver, play one in and one out.

So we're playing kind of what I would say, a combo coverage in that situation. Or we're going to say that based on the split or whoever is on the line of scrimmage, that we want to lock it. And that means we're going to lock on our receivers and we're going to stay with who we have based on, the release, doesn't matter anymore. So those are the things we need to be able to do. But if we're going to lock it, then you've got to fight through the screen. And we always talk in terms of tailpiping the receiver, which means, it's like playing off man-to-man basketball. As the guy's running and you're getting screens, you've got to get right behind the receiver and just run through his back as he continues to run through, 'cause if you get on a second level, you will get picked off in those situations. And in in and out situations, you've got to be able to leverage the double in and the double out which are very difficult when you're playing an in and out situation. And that's what a lot of offenses try to create, a seven cut and an out cut, 'cause the inside guy's going to have the seven cut and he's battling from inside out to make the play.

[Reporter] Then I guess the communication between the two or three or however many guys are involved, communication is a big part in all that on the field-- - Huge, huge part you've got to be able to and it's got to be communication pre-snap wise of us all being on the same page and what we're trying to do. Yep. - [Moderator] Pete. - [Reporter] Will, is there any common thread to the fact that you haven't lost Tennessee-- - No. - [Reporter] Since being the coach? - No. - [Moderator] Is there ever, I mean do you get any confidence coming in this week that hey my guys, some of my guys know what it takes to be successful. - No, every week's a season, new week this week, new season this week. - [Reporter] Will, we've talked a lot about the vertical passing game, but are you pleased with how explosive your offense has been this year and if not, I guess just what's what's the reason for it? - Well, no, I think we've missed some things down the field. I think we've continued to progress week in week out, running the football.

We haven't been as consistent throwing the football. And that's something we've got to continue to work on. And I think that, you know, we try to, each Sunday we try to narrow some things down. What we do well, what we feel comfortable with doing. And we've continued to work on those things. And that's something that at the end of the day, we've got to hit some of the vertical balls down the field. It's not the lack of we haven't taken some shots, we have taken some shots. We've tried to stretch the field vertical. We've tried to create some one-on-ones, Florida, both corners are really good players. You know, they've both had some tight covers and some situations. And we got to throw the ball in some tight areas, you know, when you've got those covers. So those are things, to me, that we're certainly more than capable of doing and we need to perform better in those situations. - [Reporter] I think on Sunday, you mentioned when you were talking about the passing game, the phrase

I think used was miss run routes. And I wanted to ask, when something like that happens, is that a communication issue? Is that a reading the defense issue? What sort of happens in those-- - Well, we might have a built in hot based on a pressure and sometimes we don't always see the hot, whether it's the receiver or the quarterback. We might have run a route at the wrong depth and suddenly the ball is coming out and it looks kind of funny that the ball was coming out and the receiver's still maintaining the route down the field. So it might not necessarily been on the quarterback, it might have been on the receiver. So there's a number of different issues that present itself in the passing game. Whether it's protection, it could've been the route, could've been the accuracy of the throw in a lot of situations. (moderator speaking away from mic) - [Reporter] Will, after Saturday's game, you talked about how Florida made more of those key plays or I guess game-changing plays than your guys.

When you look at the history of the South Carolina-Tennessee series, with so many close games being decided last possession, final minute, is this a week that maybe you stress even more importance to your guys about, hey, be the guy, you could have that one play that could decide the game or win this game for us? - I say it every week, you know, you got to put yourself in the moment of three, four minutes left in the game, critical third down. We got to stay on the field offensively. We got to get off the field on defense. We're in the red zone, you know. But always you know play the game in your mind mentally. Put yourself in the moment, to put yourself in those situations. In our time here at South Carolina we're 14-6 in one score games, that's really good. You know, it's making good decisions as players, it's making good decisions as coaches and we've got to continue to do so. - [Moderator] Mike. - Will, how have you seen Ryan grow from when he first got on campus and as a freshman sometimes, of course,

I don't think anyone's really would call him a freshman at this point because he's midway through the season. How do you continue to help them and get him, continue those teaching moments? - I think whether it's the quarterback position or whatever position it is, there's a lot of firsts these guys go through, a lot of firsts. A lot of seeing this for the first time, seeing this pressure for the first time, seeing this exotic two trap for the first time. So you can't get enough time to teach. You can't get enough time to watch film. You can't get enough time to rep, especially at that position 'cause it affects everybody. And so I think he's continued to grow and mature. He's worked extremely hard in the weight room, in the film room on the practice field. He's got a great competitive edge about himself. And he'll continue to progress and we're excited about his future. - [Reporter] Coach, you guys broke out a little run game wrinkle, I think you ran it on the first play and then I ran it a few other times, I guess.

What did you feel made that so effective and we're you pleased with how it worked out? - Well, I think, you know, again you go into every week with try to create some different wrinkles in the passing game in the throwing game to take advantage of matchups. And that was a good plan by our offensive staff. It was very successful a run for us in the game. Something that they saw during game preparation that they felt comfortable that they could exploit. - [Moderator] Jeff. - [Jim] After Rico went down on the first play of the game last week, how comforting was it to have Feaster over there and to see him have a breakout game like he did? - There's no doubt, he's a very talented guy and Mon is as well. So when you have depth in a position like that, as a coach it makes you feel good to know that you're going to have quality production at the position, regardless of who's in the game. And certainly we had that at that position. (moderator speaking away from mic) - [Reporter] Will,

Ryan looked so good against Alabama. Has there been one common thread to where he hasn't been as good in these past three games, outside of injury? - No, I think that obviously the knee affected him. You know, again it's what he's doing is very difficult. He's a freshman quarterback in the Southeastern Conference. You go on the road in our league. There's a lot of difficulty in what we're asking him to do, and that's very hard. And so, there's been more good moments than bad, I can assure you of that. So and we're expecting even more so as we continue to move forward. - [Reporter] What has OrTre showed you in the way that he sort of come through and dealt with his injury that he's had and dealt with maybe slower progress coming back than he might have hoped? And sort of the way he's still worked with the receivers and I guess, just kind of how he's kind of dealt with them? - Well, again it's you know extremely frustrating he had a very serious injury it was a sublux kneecap which is very painful, number one. And it's about a six month recovery.

But you say it's a six month recovery but when you're a skill player in the Southeastern Conference, to get back to your normal speed it takes even more so. And we've sort of seen that with him. He's worked extremely hard for it. It has been frustrating for him, it's been frustrating for everybody 'cause we need him back to his first year and how he played. And he was a very productive football player for us. And he's worked extremely hard to put himself in the shape that he was before and play at high level, yeah. - [Reporter] You mentioned the Sunday team meeting a little bit earlier, I guess. Just what was the message to the team coming off that and is there any kind of residual effects from the Saturday game going into that Sunday meeting? - No, I mean, I think as much as anything just to know identifying with the players the things we need to do to be successful moving forward. And that's the kind of the things that we hit on.

Control what we can control and move forward in the right direction. - [Moderator] Thanks coach. Anything else? - Thank you. - Thanks, Will. - Thanks so much, Will. - Thanks, Will. - Thanks, coach.

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