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Mizzou-South Carolina Q and A with Kody Timmers of Garnet and Black Attack

Sammy Stava and Kody Timmers of Garnet and Black Attack discussed Saturday night’s match up with Mizzou and South Carolina

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 14 South Carolina at Ole Miss Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Missouri Tigers (2-3) are back in action (we hope!) on Saturday night for the first time since Halloween, and will be facing the South Carolina Gamecocks (2-5), who have had a heck of a week. From the firing of Will Muschamp, to several players opting out, and perhaps a Gamecock team that might not be all that interested in playing a game on Saturday, Mizzou is in a pretty good position to grab a win in the other Columbia – despite also being shorthanded and on the road.

After winning on the road in Columbia last season as Appalachian State’s head coach, Eli Drinkwitz will look to get his first road win as Missouri’s head coach. Kick-off on Saturday night is set for 6:30 p.m. CST on the SEC Network Alternate channel.

To break down this match up, Sammy Stava sat down with Kody Timmers of Garnet and Black Attack to get his thoughts on the Muschamp situation, the Gamecocks’ recent quarterback play, his predictions, and more!

Sammy Stava: First off, what was your reaction to the firing of Will Muschamp? Were you surprised at all or did you kind of see this coming after the three losses in a row? In a year full of uncertainty with the COVID challenges, I thought a lot of college football head coaches’ job security would be relatively safe, but did you think this was the right move to make at this time? And it’s early, but who do you think will emerge as as the top candidates for the South Carolina job in the off-season?

Kody Timmers: I gotta say I actually was surprised, for a few reasons: the overarching COVID angle you mentioned, Muschamp’s absurd buyout (which was difficult to navigate even in a healthier economy), and the fact that our athletic director had been publicly very supportive of Muschamp. Of course, those votes of confidence don’t always mean anything, but as a former coach himself, Ray Tanner is absolutely a coach’s AD. I figured Muschamp would get a mulligan for 2020, with 2021 as his actual do-or-die year, unless the wheels fell off to an egregious extent. While I think we can safely say the wheels have indeed fallen off, a mid-season move was still a little unexpected for me and a shows a level of aggression that’s not usually present in our administration’s decision-making. I am, of course, not at all mad about it, because it was absolutely the right move to make.

As for candidates, the most smoke seems to be centering about ULL’s Billy Napier and Coastal Carolina’s Jamey Chadwell, both of whom have a lot of experience in the state of South Carolina and are also kicking ass and taking names in their current posts. There’s been rumblings about Hugh Freeze as well, but I think his baggage is far too toxic, and he was allegedly blocked from joining Alabama’s staff as an analyst. If he’s really a persona non grata in the SEC, I doubt we’re picking him up no matter what our interest level is. (And as someone who is very anti-Freeze, I certainly hope our interest level is “none” — even without his train wreck personal life, the guy cheated like crazy at Ole Miss and still didn’t win much.)

SS: What are your thoughts on the Gamecocks’ quarterback situation right now? Senior Collin Hill was named the starter at the beginning of the season, and that made sense given his experience and relationship with Mike Bobo, but he has had his ups and downs and mostly struggled this season. Do you believe sophomore Ryan Hilinksi deserves a shot at starting quarterback in this final stretch of the season?

KT: I absolutely believe Ryan Hilinski deserves more snaps at quarterback, and hell, put Luke Doty in there some more, too. Doty’s a freshman who was a fairly high-rated recruit and a guy who has done nothing but draw tons of praise from multiple coaches on staff. I understand his knowledge of the playbook is likely limited, but he sounds like an athletic player who could do some damage in the right packages. The reality is that, as a fifth-year player, Collin Hill is who he is. His ceiling has been reached, and with an offensive line that struggles to keep a quarterback clean, Hill’s almost near total lack of mobility is just a killer. If nothing else, the quarterback situation can’t get any worse, so you might as well try a few things.

SS: South Carolina fans should be plenty familiar with Eli Drinkwitz, as Appalachian State beat the Gamecocks last season in Columbia. What were your thoughts when Missouri made the hire of Drinkwitz?

KT: I thought it was a great hire, personally. There were definitely others in our fanbase who were disappointed that we were likely going to be a year too late to get in on him and felt like we missed out. His offensive philosophy just seems like a great fit for Mizzou, since that’s usually the strength of your squads.

SS: Not only has South Carolina lost three straight, but they have allowed a combined 159 points these last three games. Are you concerned about their motivation level heading into Saturday’s game and think they want to get this season over as quick as possible, or do you think the coaching change can potentially give the Gamecocks a spark?

KT: Man, there’s really no telling. I’m definitely concerned about the motivation level — a few guys opted out on defense, two of whom were among the best players on the roster. (To be clear, I don’t fault them for this and fully support their desires to get ready for the draft and/or avoid injury or COVID exposure for three largely meaningless games.) For all the bad you can say about Muschamp’s on-field performance, off the field he’s clearly an incredible guy and his players would do anything for him. I’m not sure if the team will get that fired up for Bobo, so I could definitely see a, “Let’s just get the heck out of here” mentality settling in. But who knows — maybe after the last three games, they’ve gotten tired of getting clobbered and will find a little chip on their shoulders.

SS: For the first time this season, Mizzou comes in as a favorite, currently around five points. How do you see this game playing out on Saturday? Have a final score prediction?

KT: Whew. This is one of those that could range anywhere from a 3-point Missouri win to South Carolina getting run out of the building. I think the Gamecocks have the pieces to be competitive against the Tigers, but calling for a win after they’ve been utterly road-graded the past few weeks and a newly-fired coach is a lot. It’s really going to depend on the team’s mentality and how much both the players and the staff are just going through the motions. I’ll split the difference and say Mizzou takes this by 10 or so, with a 31-20 type of margin.

Good stuff from Kody, and judging by his thoughts, Mizzou fans should be optimistic about this one. Be sure to follow Garnet and Black Attack on Twitter for their South Carolina coverage. And here’s hoping this game actually gets played on Saturday night!