For years, South Carolina was always a team to circle on the schedule at SEC Media Days, mainly thanks the Gamecocks’ highly-quotable coach Steve Spurrier. Thursday morning, a new face took the stand to represent the South Carolina program, first-year head coach Will Muschamp.
Muschamp began his address to the media by thanking his predecessor, while also warning that he might not provide the same quotable moments that Spurrier became known for.
“Really appreciate his friendship and support of me and look forward to he and Jerri [Spurrier] being a part of our program moving forward,” Muschamp said. “I’m going to go ahead and tell you I’m going to disappoint you now. I’m not as entertaining as him… There’s only one Steve Spurrier in life, and I’m not it.”
Like Spurrier, Muschamp previously held the head coaching position at Florida before eventually making his way to Columbia, South Carolina. He has his work cut out for him ahead of his first season.
In 2015, the Gamecocks finished 3-9 with a lone victory in conference play coming against the Vanderbilt Commodores. Making matters worse, the Gamecock offense that ranked 11th in the SEC last season returns only four starters, and will have to deal with the loss of do-it-all playmaker Pharoh Cooper.
A common theme among many SEC teams is a lack of proven experience at the quarterback position, a situation South Carolina is also familiar with. Last year’s leading passer Lorenzo Nuñez returns, but is expected to make the transition to wide receiver for the upcoming season. According to Muschamp, spring football helped whittle the competition down to two.
“Perry [Orth] and Brandon [McIlwain] distanced themselves in the spring. Both of those guys did a good job for us,” Muschamp said. “We’re going to decide who will help us win football games, who’s going to help us win games. And there’s no time table. If we have to play two guys, we’ll play two, but we’ll do what it takes to win.”
One characteristic Muschamp is known for his ability to, as he put it, to “get frustrated sometimes.” His tendency to wear his emotion while on the sideline is well documented and something his new players at South Carolina have certainly taken notice of.
“Coach [Mushchamp] is a very vocal, very fired up coach and I appreciate that,” said senior offensive lineman Mason Zandi. “I think people that are like that when it comes to their profession, it truly means they love what they do.”
With less than two months remaining until the start of the next regular season, this South Carolina team is more than eager to put the struggles of the past behind them and move forward under Muschamp’s direction.
“In terms of learning things from last season, it’s just tough to just say that you only learn from your losses and not your successes,” Zandi said. “But at the same time it instills a fire in all of us and a disgust for losing. We let our fans, friends and family and ourselves down. Learning from that experience is really going to help us coming into this season.”
Source:: The Crimson White Sports