The Gamecocks SEC Media Days experience was somewhat similar to last year. Will Muschamp came in as the new head coach of South Carolina. This week Jake Bentley, Hayden Hurst and Deebo Samuel arrived to their first SEC Media Days.
“It means everything to me. The University of South Carolina, Coach Muschamp, and this staff have completely changed my life," Hurst said. "To be here and be one of the three guys that Coach Muschamp selected is a great honor. I’m humbled to be here.”
What isn't new is the confidence this team has after turning their season around after six games and earning a bowl game appearance under Muschamp. Some analysts are picking USC as sleepers to win the SEC East. The Gamecocks, however, aren't drinking the kool-aid just yet.
"We just got to work hard. The media guys can write this and that but at the end of the day we just go to continue to work hard and get bigger, faster and stronger.
Wide receiver Deebo Samuel led the team in receptions and receiving yards and is on the Maxwell award watch list. He believes the upperclassmen are really a part of the resurgence under Muschamp.
“We have a leadership group that everyone controls. There is someone that has the quarterbacks and I have the receivers, and it goes on down the line. We hold everyone accountable.”
That kind oversight from the players on the program is a result of another year of familiarity under Muschamp. In his second season he's already seen a huge difference in his players.
"I would say attitude. There was a certain uneasiness last year with what was the expectation. The anxiety of that, of the newness of not knowing and not totally understanding of what we're asking sometimes. I think a lot of times they were interesting but we're committed now. There's a difference," Muschamp said. "We still have a ways to go but we have a bunch of guys that are committed to understanding the work ethic it takes to be successful."
We'll see if the Gamecocks can take the next step under Will Muschamp. The 2017 season starts on September 2nd against NC State at Bank Of America stadium.