South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp opened his Sunday evening teleconference by addressing an incident before his team’s 23-13 loss to Kentucky on Saturday night.
The Wildcats’ captains — Nick Haynes, Mike Edwards, Stephen Johnson and Courtney Love — told reporters after the game that the Gamecocks’ captains — Hayden Hurst, Deebo Samuel, D.J. Wonnum and D.J. Smith — didn’t shake their hands as is customary before the game.
“I didn’t really know anything about this until this morning,” Muschamp said Sunday. “Our players are always expected to shake hands regardless of the circumstances, and I addressed it with them and our football team. We are always going to have class and display sportsmanship in everything we do and represent the University of South Carolina in a first-class manner. When I found out about it this morning I immediately called (Kentucky head coach) Mark Stoops and apologized for whatever ill will there might be, and absolutely Mark and I are one the same page. It never should have happened and we will move on.”
Stoops said after the game that he had never seen that happen before.
“They wanted to go at it, but we were ready, too,” Stoops said.
South Carolina sideline reporter Langston Moore told The State that Johnson started the incident by talking smack.
“D.J. seemed kind of shocked that it was happening,” Moore told The State. “No. 68 from Kentucky (Haynes) extended his hand to Deebo. At that point Deebo wasn’t even looking at No. 68 with his hand extend because of Johnson’s trash talk, and that’s when players kind of started the chest bumping and trash talk, and the refs stepped in and flipped the coin.”
Muschamp said Sunday that he didn’t ask his players for their side of the story.
“Regardless of the situation, shake the guy’s hand,” he said.