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Where is Muschamp Falling Short? Marc Ryan Asks CFB Experts

What Muschamp Must Do In 2020 and How He Can Turn It Around

Marc Ryan
April 21, 2020 - 12:56 pm
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With a record of 26-25 through four seasons in Columbia, the pressure is on Will Muschamp. He'd have it no other way. So why have things not gone as planned? Where is Muschamp falling short? And is there hope for a turnaround? 

Marc Ryan spoke to national, regional, and local college football experts to provide you with an unprecedented and diverse level of insight. Below, find each expert's commentary, followed by my own at the end. Each expert was identified unless they asked to remain anonymous, in which case I shared what I'm able. 

 

A Heisman Trophy Voter 

Will, who has grown as a football coach,  is still having some of the same issues he did at Florida--struggles on offense...First...He doesn't have enough playmakers...Second, Will gets stubborn which means he won't give his offensive coordinator enough freedom to run the offense..He must do this with Mike Bobo..Third, his teams struggle with consistency such as last year beating Georgia then being unable to build on that success for the rest of the season...This year, he has a promising quarterback and the football facilities are in place to contribute to a better season...If Will is fired at South Carolina can he get another D-1 job or will he be a defensive coordinator for years to come? This season could define the remainder of his career.

 

Travis Hancock; WFNZ in Charlotte

He gets players but his in game philosophy is too old school for the modern game. Defense and running the ball with a conservative mindset isn’t translating to sustained results.

 

Josh Pate; 247 sports

Where’s the identity? What’s the “thing” they do great? To this point, Muschamp’s South Carolina has done too much blending in at a place where you need something to stand out. Hopefully that’s about to change.

 

Jack Patterson; WRBL Sports Anchor in Columbus, GA

I think while critics and fans will point to recruiting or coaching, I think one point that gets overlooked at times is how the top of the East has gotten better. If you look at Georgia and Florida, they've both progressively gotten better over the last few years. You even have programs like Tennessee and Kentucky who have shown signs of promise. The optics don't look good when you're being grouped with Vandy more often than you are grouped with Georgia and Florida. That gap has seemingly only grown in recent years.

 

Former SEC player

The head coaching job at South Carolina requires three important ingredients. Stability, Talent, and Time. Coach Muschamp is not exempted from these requirements. He’s had time, he’s acquiring the talent. What he has not had is the stability or coaching talent on his staff so far (in my opinion) to make the next step yet. Muschamp has got to get the staff right or none of this works. People understand this is a probable make or break season for Muschamp. Obviously schedule is once again one of toughest in the nation but it’s time to start moving the needle.

 

Brad Crawford; 247 sports

“Prior to South Carolina’s win at Georgia last season, Muschamp had lost 10 straight games against Top 25 teams during his tenure, most of them by double digits,” Crawford said. “While he has made significant strides on the recruiting trail, what you do on the field matters and I think the Gamecocks’ lack of success offensively up to this point raises questions about the likelihood he remains in Columbia long term. Unfortunately for him, Muschamp took the gig as Clemson was making its transition into becoming a national juggernaut and it has played out that way on the field. Playing conservative offensively and struggling in big games is what led to his demise at Florida and I think the expectation level that was perhaps too lofty upon his arrival at South Carolina is beginning to come down a bit.”

 

Marc Whiteman; WYFF News 4

I’d say this — last year was devastating, but I wouldn’t say 4-8 has defined his time in Columbia. He’s had success; you can’t point to a whole lot of 9 win seasons in South Carolina‘s history like they had in 2017 and a bad 2019 doesn’t entirely wipe away the historic win in Athens. To me, the massive step back last year was two-fold: injuries and offensive identity. The injury bug has plagued Muschamp‘s teams back to the Florida days, and something you hope might change now that he’s replaced strength and conditioning coach Jeff Dillman (who was with Muschamp at UF) with Paul Jackson. Offensively — Muschamp teams have always struggled. Mike Bobo will be his fifth offensive coordinator in nine seasons as head coach. At some point it’s hard not to view the rotating door of OCs as more than just an unlucky string of bad-fit hires. USC acknowledging they’ll be more under center next year doesn’t bother me, but if they don’t dramatically improve the verticality of the offense, this make-or-break year could go sideways in a hurry.

 

Dan Matthews; Executive Producer of the regionally syndicated "The Chuck Oliver Show"

“For sure, it’s not being able get a consistent offensive attack. It is what eventually got him out at Florida. Hopefully he’s gotten it fixed, by giving control to Mike Bobo. We already know he can put up some points. He did that at Georgia. I think the offense should have been good for the Gamecocks last year. But unfortunately Bryan McClendon ran into some tough luck. He was supposed to take over an offense that had an upperclassman QB (Jake Bentley). But, one game threw a dent into that.”

 

Chuck Oliver; host of "The Chuck Oliver Show

At first it was zero consistent pass rush, but that's gotten better. Safety play, somehow, has been the worst part of that program since he got hired. How can Will Muschamp be the coach four seasons, anywhere, and not get at least passable play from his safeties?

He's never made an offensive coordinator hire that worked. Couldn't run the ball last season and then lost four senior running backs. This could be gruesome.

 

Marc Ryan's Take: How we view ourselves is incredibly important. It's time Gamecock fans stop viewing themselves as mediocre, as second rate, as appreciative of Will Muschamp's first three years prior to the wheels falling off in year four. You must hold Will Muschamp accountable, and that means expecting a bowl berth and a bowl win this season. With the schedule in front of him and all of the assistant coach defections, it won't be easy. Yet if I'm Ray Tanner, it's what my football coach must do to return in 2021. A tough schedule and the current Covid-19 societal situation would not give Muschamp a free pass. 

Is Muschamp a Norv Turner? A Wade Phillips? A great coordinator, but one not well equiped to be a CEO? Why has he not produced one, single top 50 defense in four years? It's possible he's more suited to the role of Robin than Batman. 

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