Will Muschamp didn’t take long to get to his finest quality as a football coach on Monday. He told the good people of South Carolina to take a look at his wife, Carol.
“Gamecock Nation, if you don’t think I can recruit, look at her and look at me,” Muschamp said. “I can sell ice to an Eskimo.”
When reached for comment, members of Eskimo Nation said they would indeed buy ice from Muschamp. But they would not hire him to coach their football team.
South Carolina had no such cold feet. Coach Boom has been chosen to replace Steve Spurrier. You wish you could hear the NSA tapes of the conversation that power brokers had while going over the stack of resumes.
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“Hey, why don’t we hire the one guy who has proven he isn’t qualified to be a head coach!”
That’s one skeptical explanation. Another is that the Gamecocks have such an acute case of Gator Envy they would have offered the job to Galen Hall if Muschamp had turned them down.
“There’s only one coach Spurrier,” the new guy said. “I need to be Will Muschamp.”
That’s what Florida and 12 other SEC schools hope.
South Carolina is banking on F. Scott Fitzgerald being wrong about there being no second acts in American life. While talents from Richard Nixon to Britney Spears have risen from career ashes, most of them at least showed they had the goods the first time around.
In Muschamp’s only time around as a head coach, he showed he was a fine assistant coach. There’s no doubt Boom can recruit and design a defense. But at Florida he had Trump-like resources and kept filing for offensive bankruptcy.
That’s why Muschamp was probably South Carolina’s fourth or fifth choice. But as Georgia scooped up Kirby Smart and Houston locked up Tom Herman, it became clear the Gamecocks would have to invoke the Patron Saint of Second Chances.
Bill Belichick was a bust in his first head coaching job in the NFL. Of course, it was in Cleveland, so he gets some slack there. But a 36-44 record from 1991-95 gave no indication that the next Lombardi was lurking under the hoodie.
Belichick refined his approach, drafted Tom Brady and the rest is Super Bowl history. If Muschamp had recruited Brady, he would have turned him into Jeff Driskel.
And for every Belichick who made the most of his mulligan, there are far more flops like Charlie Weis. That’s why there are far fewer coaching re-treads in college.
A FoxSports.com survey showed 51 FBS job openings in 2013 and 2014. Only six went to coaches who’d been fired or resigned from previous jobs.
The pecking order is usually: 1) coaches who’ve been successful; and 2) assistants with promise and pizzazz. The best a Muschamp can usually hope for is a gig at a struggling mid-major. Now he can show he’s learned from his mistakes and is ready for an SEC job again.
I don’t know what Muschamp learned in one season as Auburn’s defensive coordinator. Based on his sideline tirade during the Alabama game, when he had to be restrained from going WWE on the officials, he still tends to go “boom.” The new ball coach addressed that concern Monday.
“I think absolutely there’s a huge difference in being a head coach and a defensive coordinator,” Muschamp said
He also hopes there’s a huge difference in Kurt Roper, who was his last offensive coordinator at UF. He’s getting the band back together at South Carolina. Fans there can only hope Weis isn’t named offensive quality control coach.
I hope it works out. Almost everyone (except referees) who’s been around Muschamp loves him. He didn’t win like Urban Meyer at UF, but he ran a far more respectable program.
The Gamecocks can expect that. They can expect intensity, great defense and a guy who really could sell ice to Eskimos.
Beyond that, all Gamecock fans can do now is hope they haven’t been sold a bill of coaching goods.