Will Muschamp

South Carolina head coach Willl Muschamp keeps an eye on action against North Carolina during the third-quarter in Charlotte. 

Will Muschamp has tried to tune out the criticism and angst among fans following Saturday’s season-opening loss to North Carolina. But he had a message for Gamecock Nation Tuesday.

“We are pissed off too,” he said. “As coaches, as a staff, we are in a little bit of a bunker mentality. … At the end of the day, it’s about what do we need to do to win and let’s try to rally to win games. That’s what we are going to do as a staff and that’s what we are going to do as a team and as an organization, so help us win games.

“That would be my message, go help us win some football games. That’s what we plan on doing.”

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South Carolina entered the season with what Muschamp called his best team in his four seasons but lost to North Carolina 24-20 Saturday after blowing a 20-9 third-quarter lead. The team returned to practice Sunday and after a day off Monday, began preparing for Saturday’s home opener against Charleston Southern. The Buccaneers will practice at South Carolina’s indoor practice facility this week and use the university facilities due to the threat of Hurricane Dorian.

The focus for South Carolina was to get back on track, Muschamp said Tuesday.

“We need to get back on track and the way you do that is you go practice the right way and prepare the right way and go get you a win on Saturday, and that’s what we plan on doing,” he said. “The past is the past, we need to move on and learn from our mistakes, and we made plenty as coaches and as players. Move on and practice the right way and prepare the right way and have the confidence to play better in the next ball game, and that’s what we plan to do.”

Players said Tuesday they took the loss hard, but are ready to bounce back and play well this week.

“We are in a valley right now. You find out who your true friends are and you learn a lot about yourself in a valley,” sixth-year senior Donell Stanley said. “We are in a valley right now and we have each other. It’s dark and cloudy but we have to get out of it. We have a long season ahead.”

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Despite the loss of senior quarterback Jake Bentley, who is expected to miss six to eight weeks with a foot injury, Stanley said the team is focused on bouncing back. He also had a message for fans.

“We are playing at home and we are excited to play in front of our home crowd and we have to get this taste out of our mouths,” he said. “We need a good environment and we are going to come out and play as hard as we can and try to get this thing back going the right way.”