Will Muschamp outlines areas of emphasis as Gamecocks head into spring practice

Chaunte'l Powell

Spring practice has finally arrived for the South Carolina Gamecocks after a busy offseason that featured multiple coaching hires and exciting signings of top-ranked recruits.

Head coach Will Muschamp addressed the media Tuesday and outlined some areas he would like to see his team improve this year. Muschamp said that after a 4-8 campaign last year, there is a lot of work to be done, but he listed five critical areas of emphasis.

1. The turnover margin- The Gamecocks gave up the ball only 14 times while creating 17 turnovers. Muschamp said they have to become more consistent in winning that battle.

 “We’ve got to do a better job of creating more opportunities for our football team. It’s the number one stat involved to be successful,” he said. “You look at last year we won the turnover margin in five games, we won four of them. We tied or loss the turnover margin in seven games, we lost all seven games.”

2. Explosive play ratio – Muschamp described an explosive play as 10 yards or more on the run, 20 yards or more pass. He added that the explosive play ration and turnover margin go hand in hand and are the two top priorities.

3. Field position battle – The Gamecocks are looking to create short fields for their offense and long fields for their defense. M

“The last three years we’re 18-5 in games where we win the field position battle,” Muschamp said. “We’re 0-9 when we don’t. So that’s something, again, we’re going back and what do we need to do to get better and improve in those situations?”

4. Red zone percentage battle – Being efficient in the red zone with the obvious goal of scoring 100 percent of the time is a goal for South Carolina. Muschamp said at least 75 percent of those scores need to be touchdowns. The Gamecocks were at 48 percent last year. Defensively, they want to hold opponents to 60 percent scoring with majority of those being field goals.

“We were right at 52, 53 percent, which is not bad,” Muschamp said. “That’s the best we’ve been since we’ve been here. Certainly is an improvement and we need to improve from that.”

5. Winning the fourth quarter- Aside from the Charleston Southern game, USC was outscored 100-46 in the fourth quarter. Muschamp said he feels like they were in the close battles late, but didn’t give themselves an opportunity to get the ball back and put the game away late.