South Carolina football beat writer Josh Kendall answers questions from Gamecocks fans.
Question: Will Muschamp, yes or no?
A: If Muschamp is hired, my advice would be cautious optimism. Lots of folks think he’s going to do a good job in his second job, and there is absolutely something to be said from learning from experience. I have zero concerns about his sideline behavior, and if he’s figured out how to handle his offense, could be a very good hire
Q: Lincoln Riley? Thoughts? I think he will be a great fit here.
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A: I am surprised, frankly, that everyone is so gung-ho about Lincoln Riley. He might absolutely be a great fit, but I’m not sure a 32-year-old with one year at a Power 5 school is a slam-dunk hire. It would make me nervous. Again, might be a great hire. Might be the perfect fit.
Q: Since we’ve heard about Lincoln Riley, why haven’t we heard any interest from USC in Baylor offensive coordinator Kendal Briles?
A: He’s even younger isn’t he? (He’s 33.) I haven’t heard him mentioned as a coaching candidate anywhere yet. But you make a decent point. I think the difference is Lincoln Riley has more experience other places, not just under dad’s wing
Q: I’m concerned several colleges have fired coaches since HBC retired and have already hired their replacement coach, and all we have is speculation.
A: I get that, and you all know I wish this thing had gone the way of the Virginia Tech search. From the beginning Ray Tanner seemed like he wanted to really, really vet every guy. That’s a smart move, no question, but it can put you in a tough position in a coaching search
Q: I warned people that if G.A. Mangus is not retained by the next staff that quarterback commitment Brandon McIlwain is gone. McIlwain loves G.A. I just think having Muschamp’s defense and keeping G.A. would be huge and there is no way that the offense will be bad if McIlwain is the QB. He is gonna be big time.
A: Keeping McIlwain would help, but what happens if you do all this stuff to keep him and he goes to play pro baseball? Then you’ve kind of shot yourself in the foot. You’ve got to hire the right coach for, hopefully, the long term.
Q: Was Shawn Elliott interviewed as a courtesy, or is he still a possibility?
A: I’d say 97 percent courtesy, 3 percent possibility.
Q: Do you think Tanner is interviewing Muschamp , Elliott, Riley as so called backup plans until Herman gives him a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer sometime soon after AAC Championship?
A: I would imagine he’s going to wait just to make sure on Herman. However, the Carolina people believed early this week that Herman was indeed going to stay at Houston. The hard part of all this is that things change, and they change fast. Think about job offers you have had, or big decisions. You might wake up one morning and be feeling one day and the next feel completely different.
Q: What is your normal process to verify reports or to report actual happenings (interests, interviews, spotting a plane, etc.) during this coaching search?
A: Talk to people who know, which means people directly tied to the process. The plane stuff is almost always junk.
Q: Do you know if Tanner expects the new HBC to have a staff assembled at the interview or immediately or what time frame?
A: No, you shouldn’t expect a guy to have his staff in place when he’s hired. Not many assistants are going to commit to a guy until he has an actual job. It can take weeks to completely fill out a staff at times. It’s like nine mini-coaching searches