The South Carolina football outlook for 2016 season. Will Muschamp has the right mix and the right skills to make the Gamecocks roll.
Will Muschamp deserves more love.
Here’s the problem. He was supposed to be the next superstar head coach after crushing it as Auburn’s defensive coordinator the first time around, and he came close. Tennessee, Clemson, and later Texas – after hiring him as the DC – were all supposedly in the mix for his services, and then he got the plum gig at Florida in what should’ve been the right fit at the right moment.
Two things were totally lost in his four-year run in Gainesville. 1) Had there been a College Football Playoff in 2012, his 11-1 Gators would’ve had a massive case to get in, and 2) he had absolutely no injury luck whatsoever in 2013 and 2014.
It wasn’t like he wasn’t liked in Florida; he just didn’t win enough, and he didn’t win with enough style points.
The problem with the Muschampian style is that there wasn’t – and probably isn’t – any margin for error. His Gator teams cranked up a few killer defenses, which combined with power running games and, for the most part, great special teams to take control of game after game. However, when the offense didn’t work and it needed some big plays from the passing game, they weren’t there.
But even more than that, Florida needs pizzazz, and Muschamp’s teams didn’t have that.
South Carolina was hoping for some fun ‘n’ gun when it rented out Florida’s Ball Coach, but that didn’t happen either. That didn’t matter much, though, since Steve Spurrier came up with the best era of Gamecock football by a ten-mile wide margin.
But Spurrier’s great run ended with a whimper – and without any SEC championships – when he got tired of coaching a bad team that he created before leaving the golf course after seven bad holes.
And now it’s up to Muschamp to revitalize the program, and his career, by doing what he does best by making South Carolina more of a player. The system and style will be just the right fit – as long as everyone can stay in one piece.
An elite defensive coach, Muschamp should be able to work with this year’s okay group just enough to make it better – especially with a solid line to start with – but with LB Skai Moore out for the year, there aren’t any sure-thing stars to build around. That might be just fine right out of the gate – there won’t be any sense of entitlement.
The offense might need a little while to get the line and the ground game to where they need to be, but there’s a thrilling freshman quarterback in Brandon McIlwain to get excited about, and the receiving corps should be okay despite the lack of a dangerous top target.
This team should end up suiting Muschamp and his staff just fine. It’s a no-name bunch with no expectations and a chip on its shoulder from the top down.
What wasn’t good for the Gator should be good for the Gamecock.