WILL FORMER GATORS COACH COME TO COLUMBIA? OR HEAD WEST …
By FITSNEWS || It’s been more than two months since this website popped the cork on the Will Muschamp speculation, publishing an article quoting sources close to the University of South Carolina football program who told us the 43-year-old Georgia native was “being eyed for a job as the Gamecocks’ next defensive coordinator.”
Fast forward to this week … when the entire country is “smelling what we’re stepping in,” as the expression goes.
Muschamp – who is currently vacationing in the Caribbean after coaching his final game at Florida last weekend – has reportedly been offered the University of South Carolina job by head coach Steve Spurrier (with support from Gamecock athletics’ director Ray Tanner). Of course Muschamp is also weighing interest from Auburn and Texas A&M.
Wherever he lands, he’s going to command a hefty salary.
“As a defensive coach, he’s on a short list of the most respected minds in the game,” ESPN’s Chris Low reported this week, adding that Muschamp would likely command a salary at or above what Alabama’s Kirby Smart ($1.35 million) and LSU’s John Chavis ($1.3 million) make each year.
Auburn has the advantage of already declaring its vacancy – having fired former South Carolina defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson earlier this week after two seasons. Texas A&M has also fired its defensive coordinator, Mark Snyder.
Ironically, if Muschamp turns Spurrier down there’s growing speculation that Johnson might return to Columbia, where he was assistant head coach from 2008-11 under Spurrier. Let’s hope that’s not “Plan B” for the Head Ball Coach … as Johnson’s rehiring doesn’t strike us as the sort of bold move needed to right the Gamecocks’ fortunes.
Auburn ranked No. 57 out of 125 NCAA Division I teams in total defense this year – giving up 388.7 yards per game. The Tigers ranked No. 60 in scoring defense – surrendering 26.1 points per game. Those numbers are certainly much better than the numbers current USC defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward‘s unit put up in 2014 – but Auburn never evolved into an elite defense under Johnson (and was trending in the wrong direction).
Muschamp? He’s built elite defenses at LSU, Auburn and Texas – and has proven to be one of the nation’s most adept, relentless recruiters. In fact his nickname in recruiting circles is “Flipper” given the number of blue chip prospects he’s successfully convinced to abandon their initial commitments and “flip” to his school.
That’s something else South Carolina desperately needs given the extent to which the school has been out-recruited in recent years by in-state rival Clemson (which finally showed up on the scoreboard this year).