Dan Werner was hired Friday to coach South Carolina’s quarterbacks, but he actually got the job on Oct. 31, 2015.
That’s the day Ole Miss, for which Werner was serving as quarterbacks coach and co-offensive coordinator, scorched Will Muschamp’s Auburn defense for 558 yards in a 27-19 Rebels win.
“That hasn’t happened to us very often,” Muschamp said. “They were creative; they played with a lot of tempo; they were aggressive; they had good players, but they were coached extremely well. As a coach, you always kind of have a short list of guys who impress you, and he certainly that day did.”
Werner coached at Ole Miss from 2011-2016 before being fired by head coach Hugh Freeze. This year, Werner is an offensive consultant for Nick Saban and Alabama, and he will continue in that role until the Crimson Tide completes Monday’s national championship game. The 57-year-old will start at South Carolina on Thursday, Muschamp said.
“Dan has got a wealth of knowledge and experience as a play caller, as a developer of quarterbacks,” Muschamp said. “I called Nick, nobody I’ve got more respect for in their opinion, (and talked to him about) how Dan has helped their offense this season with schematically some things that are very similar to what we do.”
Werner will serve as a veteran ear for 34-year-old Bryan McClendon, who was promoted Friday to offensive coordinator. After interviewing Werner, Muschamp invited the Western Michigan alum to join the Gamecocks for an Outback Bowl practice in Columbia.
“He and Bryan hit it off, and I saw this was going to be able to work,” Muschamp said.
Werner graduated from Western Michigan University in 1983 and began coaching college football in 1986 at Cornell. He has coached at UNLV, Louisiana Tech, James Madison, Murray State, Miami and two high schools as well as hit time with the Rebels.
The 2015 Ole Miss team that beat Muschamp set school records in scoring (531 points), touchdowns (68), total offense (6,731 yards), passing yards (4,351 yards), passing touchdowns (35), 50-plus point games (four) and games with more than 600 yards of offense (three), and Werner was nominated for the Broyles Award that year.
“I’ve always had a tremendous amount of respect for what they do, how they coach it,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban told AL.com after hiring Werner. “I think it’ll help us on offense and defense to have a guy around here that can add some knowledge and experience to the way they do RPOs. Some of the things they did in the passing game. So I’ve always had a lot of respect for Dan and we’re glad to have them here to help.”
Werner has worked with quarterbacks Chad Kelly, Bo Wallace, Brock Berlin, Ken Dorsey, Gino Torretta, Steve Walsh and Craig Erickson in his career.
“I am really, really excited about working with the guy,” McClendon said. “The guy has done it at such a high level.”