Will Muschamp explains offensive philosophy, talks QBs
Year one for a college football coach shares this with high school ball.
Most years a coach has built his roster along the lines of his philosophies. Talent was brought in to fit. But in the beginning, a coach has to take what is given and mold to what he has, much like his brethren a level down.
The South Carolina football team that will open the Will Muschamp era with that second tactic, not forcing a particular scheme on its players.
“We’re going to do what our players can do,” Muschamp said Thursday at SEC Media Days. “It’s not about what your scheme is, it’s about fitting what your players can do. We may not be schematically, in our first year, what we want to be on either side of the ball.”
The coach said he’s entrusting his offense almost entirely to co-offensive coordinator Kurt Roper, along with Bryan McClendon, the team’s receivers coach and co-coordinator who Muschamp called a future head coach.
The two inherit a set of mobile quarterbacks, in line with Roper’s offense, and a line under the tutelage of Shawn Elliott, the man who built it.
Muschamp said changes in the landscape of football strategies, specifically plays where a quarterback determines run or pass after the snap, have changed how much zone a team’s linebackers can play. That side of the ball is his focus, and he admitted 98 percent of the time he is in the defense or special teams meetings and recruiting.
“My role in the offense is to philosophically be on the same page from a week-to-week standpoint,” Muschamp said. “Understanding what we need to do to win the game.”
Gamecocks offensive tackle Mason Zandi was part of a team that helped eventually place Muschamp at South Carolina.
The now-senior played in the wild 2014 overtime game against Muschamp’s Florida squad that ended with a 23-20 Gamecocks win. News leaked out of Muschamp’s dismissal the next day.
Zandi didn’t seem too upset by his team’s role in all that, staying firm that the clear-eyed sting of loss was just part of the deal.
“I obviously feel bad that coach Muschamp lost his job,” Zandi said. “But ultimately this game is predicated on wins and losses. I play for South Carolina, and at the time I played for South Carolina. At the time, he coached for Florida.
“It was a business decision.”
A lot can go down
So why do they call him Deebo?
South Carolina wide receiver Deebo Samuel’s given name is Tyshun, but he isn’t called that much. Instead, his nickname comes from the antagonist and neighborhood bully in the 1995 movie “Friday.”
“My daddy gave me the nickname because when I was little, he used to say I liked to take things from people,” Samuel said. “That name stuck with me ever since.”
Has he laid eyes on the film that came out a year before his birth?
“I believe I’ve seen that movie 100 times.”
▪ The team reports Aug. 1, a Monday. Fall camp begins Aug. 2.
▪ The staff hopes to use linebacker Bryson Allen-Williams as a pass rusher. With the injury to Skai Moore, Allen-Williams also will be counted on as part of the inside linebacker rotation.
▪ Muschamp said Moore was doing fine after surgery for an injured disc in his neck. He will start riding the bike soon but can’t have contact until at least December.
▪ Muschamp said the three players he brought to Media Days, Samuel, Zandi and Marquavius Lewis, all helped led the group in buying into the new staff.
▪ Muschamp brought his team together and talked about civil rights history and how to deal with police in light of events across the country. That included a meeting with Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott.
▪ A question bubbled up about where the Gamecocks might be picked to finish in the SEC standings, and Muschamp was quick to brush it off: “You guys are wrong every year.”
▪ Muschamp said offensive tackle signee Akeem Cooperwood is finishing up a class and is on track to be with the team by Aug. 1.
▪ Zandi was peppered with questions comparing Muschamp and Steve Spurrier. When someone characterized Spurrier as laid-back, Zandi quickly shot back, “I don’t think that’s fair at all.”