Standing at the podium of his introductory news conference, new South Carolina football coach Will Muschamp tried to preempt any concerns about his temper and demeanor on the sideline.
That didn’t stop three or four questions on the subject from being asked, including one if athletics director Ray Tanner would ever have to put him “on timeout.”
Despite the off-beat query, the coach doesn’t really plan to scale it back.
“I’m certainly in accordance with everything (Tanner) wants done,” Muschamp said. “I am a passionate guy. I do have a competitive edge about me. I do coach with a lot of energy on the field, and I want our players to play with relentless energy.”
This is a man with a reputation for punching whiteboards and going off on the sidelines. His final game at Auburn included a blowup at an official that drew a penalty.
But Tanner said it speaks to the fire and passion Muschamp has, something often cited as a factor in his success on the recruiting trail and in building teams that perennially play extremely hard.
“I get it, I’ve been there,” said Tanner, USC’s ex-baseball coach. “It’s not perfect, but I was concerned that during our conversation, I might have been too firm, but he understands. We’re all coaches and we want everything that Coach Muschamp brings to this program.”
Through the course of his news conference, Muschamp thanked many of the people who helped him to this point, of course including his wife Carol. Then he took it a step forward, dropping another old coaching cliché to reassure the fans on one front.
“Gamecock Nation, if you don’t think I can recruit, look at her and look at me,” Will Muschamp said. “I can sell ice to an Eskimo.”
The coach also shed a little light on the trials and tribulations of a coaching family in transition. His family has moved six times since 2004, and those kinds of shifts can be tough on his sons, Jackson and Whit.
“My son Jackson is going into ninth grade,” Muschamp said. “We’ve moved and been very unfair to him. This is where we’re going to be.”
Respecting the man
Quarterback was a sore spot during Muschamp’s Florida days. None of the six he had ever settled, and injuries caused a constant rotation. So when he was asked if he liked a pocket passer, runner or two-QB system, he gave a concise answer: a winner.
Then he looked out the window toward the Williams-Brice Stadium field and invoked the name of the Gamecocks’ ultimate winner, Connor Shaw.
“Connor Shaw was as good a competitor at the quarterback position that maybe I’ve coached against,” Muschamp said. “I don’t know how fast he was, and I really don’t know how well he threw the ball, but he won a lot of games.
“You can be in a good call, a good situation and a guy with legs can make you wrong like Connor Shaw did here on a touchdown run in 2011 on third down. Right in this end zone. We lost contain and we had nobody left.”