At the moment, South Carolina coach Will Muschamp doesn’t expect any changes to his coaching staff following his first season with the Gamecocks.
“I don’t anticipate any from my end,” Muschamp told The State on Friday in an exclusive interview. “You evaluate your staff in whole after the bowl game and after recruiting. That’s a huge part of your job as well. It’s not just about coaching.”
The Gamecocks finished Muschamp’s first regular season 6-6 overall. They will learn their bowl destination Sunday.
“Any evaluations I make will be after recruiting is over,” Muschamp said. “Certainly, were there some things we would have liked to improve on this year, absolutely, but improvement’s a huge word. There was a lot of improvement made across the board in every phase of our program.”
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Also Friday, Muschamp said:
▪ South Carolina freshman quarterback Jake Bentley had an MRI on his knee after last week’s loss to Clemson that confirmed there was no structural damage.
Bentley started the final six games for the Gamecocks, including Saturday’s 56-7 loss to the Tigers, however he didn’t finish that game, never returning to the field after halftime. Bentley, who had separate surgeries to repair both ACLs during his high school career, couldn’t completely push off of his leg, Muschamp said at the time.
“It’s just a bone bruise,” Muschamp said.
Bentley’s good health is good news for South Carolina. After initially looking like he was headed for a redshirt season, he led the Gamecocks in passing with 1,030 yards on 93 of 147 passing (63.3 percent). He had six touchdowns and two interceptions.
▪ He “absolutely” expects freshman quarterback Brandon McIlwain to return for his sophomore season with the football team. McIlwain started three games in the first half of the season, but lost the starting job to senior Perry Orth, who then gave way to Bentley.
McIlwain will join South Carolina’s baseball team in January, and might not fully participate in spring practice with the football team if he is a major contributor with the baseball team, Muschamp said.
“I want to see where he is with baseball,” Muschamp said. “I think that’s what is the fair approach with him.”
▪ Freshman offensive lineman Darius Whitfield announced this week he would leave USC. Muschamp expects more players to transfer in the offseason, but declined to name them. “There has been some conversations with some players that I will address, but I’ll address those at another time,” he said.
▪ Muschamp declined to discuss the allegation from South Carolina linebacker Bryson Allen-Williams that one of Clemson’s offensive linemen used a racial slur toward a Gamecocks defensive lineman, but Muschamp indicated he might discuss the subject when he meets with the full media contingent Sunday after the team’s bowl destination is announced.