COLUMBIA, S.C. – Will Muschamp already is tied to Steve Spurrier by sharing two coaching jobs at Florida and South Carolina.
If events had unfolded differently, the Gamecocks coach also could have been connected to Spurrier in another way. When Muschamp graduated high school, he was looking at either playing at a small school or walking on at a bigger school.
With his sight set on the Southeastern Conference, Muschamp went looking for his options.
“I actually did go down to meet with coach Spurrier about a walk-on situation,” Muschamp said on ESPN’s Weekday Walkthrough. “I think he was on the golf course. I’m not really sure. We blame it on Jamie Speronis, who was his operations guy forever and now is my operations guy. We still blame it on him.”
Muschamp has taken over the coaching job at South Carolina after Spurrier’s decade at the helm. While the longtime Gamecocks coach is back at Florida, Muschamp said Spurrier was a help to him before he went back to Gainesville.
“He has been great,” Muschamp said. “He has been a guy that, in my time at Florida and in my time at South Carolina, has really been positive in supporting me and I appreciate that.”
Muschamp, who walked on at Georgia instead, held the coaching job at Florida for four seasons before being fired after the 2014 year. It came down to not being good enough on offense and not winning enough games, Muschamp said. He noted there were positives in defensive play, recruiting and beyond, but now feels like the coaching staff at South Carolina is set up for success offensively.
“We never really got that right,” Muschamp said. “I feel like right now philosophically as a staff we are all on the same page moving forward. All of those things are really important. I’m really pleased where we are as far as that is concerned.”
Muschamp credited co-offensive coordinator Kurt Roper’s ability to coach quarterbacks as a reason for his confidence. He also praised the rest of the offensive coaching staff.
Muschamp’s emotional tendencies on the sideline have yet to really be seen at South Carolina. But his reputation for outbursts carries on. He said his demeanor on the sideline is “calculated in a lot of situations.”
“Generally, when I’ve lost my cool, I’ve been right,” he said. “Normally, that’s the way I kinda look at it. I think the player stake the personality of the coach. I want our guys to be passionate about what they’re doing and how they’re playing. That’s really important to me and how they represent the University of South Carolina. I tend to want to edge on that side of it than the other.”
He said his family is understanding that he gets emotional during games, at times, so he doesn’t take too much grief.
“My mom gets on me every now and then,” he said.
Making Colorado legends
Muschamp was asked if he could name the three quarterbacks he picked off in college. He quickly named former Tennessee quarterback Todd Helton.
“I picked him off and the next week they started Peyton Manning,” he said. “So I really started Peyton Manning’s career. I tell him that every time I see him.”
Helton went on to enough success in his own right with a 17-year career with the Colorado Rockies.
“He owes me, too,” Muschamp said.