GAINESVILLE, Fla. — As he had throughout the week leading up to this game, Florida coach Jim McElwain shared some words of praise about his predecessor on Saturday as first-year South Carolina coach Will Muschamp made his return to The Swamp.
McElwain’s Gators closed out a 20-7 win over the Gamecocks, but he reiterated his observation that Muschamp has already made a pronounced impact with that program.
The two spoke after the game while shaking hands on the field.
“I just said No. 1, that there were some great defensive players here and that he just did an outstanding job,” McElwain recounted. “The biggest thing I said was he is doing a great job with that football team. That team is playing inspired. They play excited. You can feel the energy. He’s doing it the right way. You know, I told him, I know a lot of his coaches, he’s got a good staff and the guy’s a good coach, man.”
Fittingly, it was Florida’s senior day as seven seniors who Muschamp brought to Gainesville played their final home game. Overall, 30 players are left on the roster from his tenure with the Gators, which spanned 2011-14.
A bunch of those Florida players also took time to share some words with their former coach after the game.
In addition to lauding the improvement he sees in the 5-5 Gamecocks this fall (after they finished 3-9 last year), McElwain shared that when he took over in Gainesville, Muschamp helped him somewhat with the transition.
“He’s a great guy. He’s helped me out at this deal. I mean, let’s not get that wrong,” McElwain said. “He’s very forthright. When I took over, he helped me. He talked about some of the deficiencies. He knows where they were, and I respect that and that’s the kind of guy he is.”