Josh Kendall

Who exactly is calling South Carolina’s defense?

The interplay between South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp and South Carolina offensive coordinator Kurt Roper will be a focus throughout the Gamecocks 2017 season. That’s a given due to Muschamp’s background in defense, the history of his teams struggling offensively and high expectations for the USC offense this season.

But what about the relationship of Muschamp and his young defensive coordinator Travaris Robinson? Muschamp gave Robinson his first coordinator position last year when he came to South Carolina, and the 36-year-old Robinson acknowledged his head was spinning a bit in 2016.

“My whole life I have just been worried about the defensive backs. My first year at coordinator, I’ve got to worry about what the d-line is doing, I have to worry about what stunt we are doing, what pass game we are running,” Robinson said. “For me, it has slowed down because I had time to kind of see exactly how I want us to play.”

It helps to have Muschamp, who Robinson worked for as a position coach in the five seasons prior to being hired at South Carolina, at the helm.

“We have been together a long time, and we think a lot alike when it comes to defensive play,” Robinson said.

Who actually calls those plays? Robinson on game day, with a heavy input from the boss during the week.

“We are going to do it the way he wants to do it,” Robinson said. “Whether it’s his idea or my idea, it doesn’t matter, it’s our idea. That’s how we’re going to present it to our players.”

Working with “Coach Boom,” as Muschamp has become known, is not as fraught as it might look to people who see Muschamp’s sideline demeanor, Robinson said.

“We do a lot of stuff together on and off the field,” Robinson said. “I know you guys see him fiery on the field and stuff, but when we’re off the field, he’s not like that. He’s really a player’s coach. Our players are in his office all the time. That’s one of the best things about him, he can coach them really hard, but they know he loves them.”