Josh Kendall

Former players speak out about USC coach Will Muschamp

Jarrad Davis came to Florida three years ago as a three-star prospect. In one more year, he might be the first linebacker selected in the NFL Draft, and he credits Will Muschamp with helping him bridge that gap.

“At the end of the day, I’m extremely thankful for Muschamp because he’s the one that got me to the University of Florida,” Davis said Monday. “He took a chance on me. I might not have been the guy they expected me to be early on, but here I am now.”

Davis, a senior, was one of nine players who appeared on the first day of SEC Media Days. Five of them have played for Muschamp, who is now South Carolina’s coach.

“I am really excited for him,” Davis said. “The fact that it’s in the SEC East is kind of even better because we get to see him again. I loved Muschamp when he was here, and I still have a lot of love for him.”

Muschamp was the Gators’ coach from 2011-2014. He was fired with an overall record of 28-21 and an SEC record of 17-15.

“We just never had the offense,” Davis said when asked to explain Muschamp’s demise. “That’s still a challenge right now. It’s hard to win games when your defense is working on all cylinders and your offense isn’t that great.”

It will be “kinda weird” to see Muschamp on the opposite sideline at The Swamp when the Gamecocks play at Florida on Nov. 12, Gators safety Marcus Maye said.

“He was my position coach, so I got a lot of him, and it helped me to where I am today,” Maye said.

Auburn brought two defenders to Monday’s opening session – linemen Montravius Adams and Carl Lawson – who played for Muschamp last year, when he was the Tigers’ defensive coordinator.

“We all loved Coach Muschamp,” Adams said. “He was a great coach, and we all miss him. He’s going to make them better. He was always there for everybody.”

Like all of Muschamp’s players, Adams has seen the volatile side of his coaching.

“I think he broke one of his fingers one game,” Adams said. “He punched something. Oh, it was a clipboard.”

That sort of intensity can be an adjustment for players, Maye said.

“He expects you to be great,” Maye said. “That’s what he wants for you. That’s how he is. He takes pride in the way he is and his defense. He does it because he wants you to be great. I feel like a lot of the guys he recruited that we have in our secondary, having him there when we were young is one of the reasons we are where we are.”

Davis described Muschamp as “a players’ coach, all the way.”

“He took care of us,” Davis said. “He would go out on a limb for us. It was all for us.”