Today Will Muschamp was named the 34th head coach in the history of University of South Carolina football. Over the course of the last few weeks my thought process regarding Muschamp has gone a little something like this:
- What a ridiculous idea, but it’s not gonna happen so I’m not worried
- Holy cow he’s moved into the top 3 this is worrisome
- What do you mean all signs point to Muschamp?
- We’re really going to hire Muschamp where’s the key to the liquor cabinet
To a certain extent I was being a lemming, following the anti-Muschamp crowd crowing about what a disaster he was at Florida (and he was, that’s still valid). But adding to my dismay was the complete cluster the coaching search was (which is a story for another day), which made the hire feel that much worse.
There are two things that have us concerned. The first and most important is his tenure at Florida, where he inherited a team that had won two National Championships in the previous four years. Muschamp guided them to a very average 28-21 record over his four years, and that included an 11-2 record in 2013. He fielded top 10 defenses and pulled in top 10 recruiting classes every year he was there, but his offenses were anemic, and that ultimately led to his ouster. Sure, there were injuries, and there were problems at the quarterback position, but this was Florida, a place where it shouldn’t be hard to roll the ball on the field and win 9-10 games per year.
The other concern is his demeanor. He’s known as a guy who easily loses control of his emotions, which is not a great quality as to have as a head coach. Photos and videos of his angry face and tirades have permeated our Twitter timeline for weeks now. He was and is still the butt of jokes nationally for his failure at Florida.
But the fact is Muschamp is well-respected in the coaching community. When Gus Malzahn hired him at Auburn last year he called Muschamp “the best defensive mind in football, not just college football.” By many accounts he had several coaches and former players advocating for him to Ray Tanner. He was a coaching superstar just a few years ago, rising to head-coach-in-waiting at Texas under Mack Brown. When he was offered the Florida job it was simply too good to pass up, and he was going to be a can’t miss replacement for Urban Meyer.
Unfortunately for him, he did miss. Big time.
A little after 11 a.m. this morning my mood started to change. As Will Muschamp spoke what I saw was that coaching superstar from a few years ago at Texas. I saw a tireless worker (unlike our previous HBC) and a guy passionate and excited about his new job. I saw a man who believes recruiting is the lifeblood of college football, and you better be damn good at it. I saw somebody who knows, at the tender age of 44, that this could be his last chance to be a major college head coach.
For the first time, I saw a guy I liked. I saw a guy that I’m glad to have on my side.
I have no idea what the future holds for Will Muschamp at the University of South Carolina. He might boom, he might bust. The odds say he’ll probably fall somewhere in between.
Either way, it’s time for all of us to stop bitching (especially me) and support Will Muschamp. After all, he’s a Gamecock now.