COLUMBIA -- Gamecock head football coach Will Muschamp knows his team's performance to end the 2018 season in the Belk Bowl left a sour taste in the mouths of USC fans.
In the course of the ongoing "Spurs Up Tour" stops around the state, Muschamp has fielded some questions from fans and media about how USC ended the year.
Count Muschamp among those frustrated with last season's results. Based on comments he's made of late, Muschamp not only understands sentiments of fans, he welcomes them.
"I'm disgusted too," Muschamp said on Thursday night. "I want people to be pissed off at 7-6. I'm pissed."
As for the Belk Bowl loss to Virginia, Muschamp said his lone frustration as to the criticism is a misconception about the Gamecocks' effort level.
"Our players tried. We didn’t play very well," he explained. "There’s a difference between not playing well and not playing hard. I’ve been coaching for over 20 years and our guys gave effort. We didn’t play very well and that’s my responsibility.
"To sit there and put a blanket statement that our guys didn’t care and didn’t play hard is not true. This past bowl game was important to us too. We had two less practices than we did in the Outback Bowl when we beat Michigan. I’ve heard some fantastic rumors that we didn’t practice. No, we didn’t play well and that’s the bottom line."
Although Muschamp had coached at Williams-Brice Stadium in the past as an assistant at Auburn and head coach at Florida, he was able to get a first-hand look at the Carolina fan base once he took the reins of the USC program.
Said Muschamp: "I go back to our first year. We weren’t a very good football team. There was 80,000 strong in the stands supporting us. Our players felt that and as a staff, we felt that. I’ll never forget that."
Going forward, Muschamp made it clear that he hopes that Carolina fans carry high expectations.
"I think it’s awesome," he said. "That’s the kind of fan base we have, and we need to continue to have that mindset moving forward."