Everyone in Gamecock nation is back and forth. Your either for Muschamp or against Muschamp. Those in camp ‘A’ point to last season and the recruiting mess left behind and the work ethic and fundamental flaws taught by the previous staff, as the catalyst of why we are struggling this year. They patiently stick to the old USC adage – wait til next year. They say wait look at what Will is doing with nothing, wait until his recruits come in and gain experience.
Scoff! This is the rebuttal by the nay sayers. They scream that not only is Muschamp at fault but that Ray Tanner should be evaluated for his decision in bring him to South Carolina! (And for fumbling the Herman/ Smart situation.) They point to Muschamp’s struggles at Florida, declaring that if one could not win at UF how can you fathom a coach could win at South Carolina?!
The eternal optimist exclaim that he had inherited a mess at Florida, much like our beloved Carolina, and changed to cleaning it up. In fact were it not for being forced into an offensive coordinator he didn’t want and for the endless injuries he would have had Florida in the SEC Title game more than just that first year.
Then why when he finally got the coordinator he wanted they still fell flat and ended up costing him his job at Florida? And for someone to claim they learned from past mistakes at Florida, he brings on the same offensive coordinator he had in his final season, to run the side of the ball that cost him his job, to his fresh start – and is the same side of the ball struggling mightly?!
This argument can go on forever. My opinion, is what do we have to lose. We know what he does well; recruiting and defense. Let’s say he last 3 years, a typical first coach time frame who struggles, what do we lose? Games? OK well we were losing games anyway. What do we gain? Talent. If you watch the games, the players making the biggest impacts are the guys he brought in in a small window last year. King, Edwards, Turner, Dowdle, Hurst, etc. And what is already improved with minimal difference from last season? The defense. Our strength and conditioning bar has been raised and set, so if Muschamp fails we have a new standard recruits coming in will have to maintain. We currently have a #12 recruiting class, I expect top 10 classes the next couple years but even top 15 is great if the talent fits the schemes. So again if Muschamp does indeed fail, we will have new facilities, better conditioning standards, a good defense and a stocked cupboard of talent. That’s a pretty good deal for any incoming coach. Now I for one do not believe Muschamp will fail. I think he has matured and learned from the lumps handed to him in Florida. I think him and Roper have not been able to fully run the plays they want do to the QB position and poor o line.
What do I see moving forward?
- Recruiting will keep improving. I expect the 2018 class to be top 10. Due to the 2017 team competing for the east. What makes me think we will compete?
- Bentley. Jake Bentley. I see him redshirt ingredients this season, fully learning the play book and blowing away the competition in the spring. With his measurable and arm strength, he will come in as a true pocket passers who will be able to fully open Roper’s offense. He may end up being the greatest qb in Gamecock history, bold statement I know.
- New offensive line coach. I like Elliott as much as the next guy but let’s face it, the offensive line has always been horrible. If it wasnt for Lattimore and the mobile Shaw covering their butts, Shawn may have been gone a few years ago. Who do we go after? We will start publishing a list soon.
- Experience. Every young playmaker will be a year older and better. You throw in a better offensive line and the cannon of Bentley, this is why we will be competing. Right this minute we have been in every game but one really. So an improved offense and more talent coming in will put us in the driver seat for a good season.
- Pedigree. Look let’s face it, Muschamp was the coach in waiting at Texas for a reason. He would probably be the coach right now, if Urban didn’t leave. He has been under some of the best: Saban, Malzahn, Tuber Villegas, and Brown. He is one of the top defensive coaches out there.
All I am saying is give them 3 years. If it ends up not working out, the next guy will have plenty to build on. Muschamp would just become known as the set up man. Builds a programs foundation for the next guy to come in and take the glory. So what do we have to lose.