South Carolina’s coaching search is nearing an end, but it’s not done yet, according to ESPN’s Travis Haney.
“The people closest to that search say Will Muschamp is expected to be named there in the next couple of days, but there is some internal support for Rich Rodriguez,” Haney said Saturday on SportsCenter. “I don’t think that one is quite done, but everything has built toward Will Muschamp.”
Rodriguez, the 52-year-old Arizona head coach who was Clemson’s offensive coordinator in 1999 and 2000, was among those who interviewed for the job, according to reports. Rodriguez was the head coach at West Virginia and Michigan before joining the Wildcats. He is 152-104-2 in his head coaching career.
Two of the personalities on ESPN College GameDay went as far as to recommend Rodriguez be the guy for the Gamecocks.
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“I like Rich Rod. I think he’d be a great fit,” Kirk Herbstreit said. “I think his personality fits in Columbia. He used to coach as an assistant in Clemson. He knows the region very well. I just think his style and his personality, along with Dabo in that state, man it would be cool. I would go Rich Rod.”
David Pollack agreed with the Rodriguez endorsement.
“It would be a pain to every single team in the SEC because his system is so hard to defend,” Pollack said. “He needs to find a dynamic running back and a dynamic quarterback and he can make it all go.”
Pollack said Muschamp’s intense personality on the sideline is a strike against him.
“If you watch the Alabama game, the sideline demeanor is so aggressive,” Pollack said. “I like that if he’s my defensive coordinator, but as the head coach you have to show a little restraint for the kids.”
Desmond Howard played devil’s advocate on Muschamp and Rodriguez.
On Muschamp: “It’s interesting to think that five, six years ago, he was being groomed for the Texas job. He got the Florida job, had unlimited resources and that didn’t work out. He went to Auburn, made a bad defense worse, now he’s the lead candidate at South Carolina.”
On Rodriguez: “I don’t know if Rich Rod is the guy. He can’t bring the physicality that it takes to compete at a high level in the SEC. I don’t know if he can have the long-term success at South Carolina with that type of offense. His teams never play defense.”