Will Muschamp has South Carolina headed in the right direction. And that’s big for the former Florida coach.
Muschamp, whose struggles at Florida have been well-chronicled, guided South Carolina to a 6-6 regular-season mark and got the Gamecocks into a bowl game one year after a disastrous 3-9 season. The Gamecocks lost in overtime in the Birmingham Bowl to South Florida, a team that finished the year 11-2.
But South Carolina’s improved record isn’t the only thing that should excite South Carolina fans. It appears that Muschamp found his quarterback in freshman Jake Bentley, and the coach brought in a solid recruiting class to South Carolina — No. 21 in the 2017 recruiting cycle. The Gamecocks did see Brandon McIlwain transfer, but given Bentley’s solid play, South Carolina should be just fine under center. South Carolina also will see linebacker Skai Moore return, after the linebacker missed the entire 2016 season with a neck injury.
The Gamecocks have started spring practice, and their spring game is set for April 1. The game will be broadcast on SEC Network and begins at 2 p.m. ET.
As for what fans think of Muschamp, he did fairly well in the first SEC Country approval rating poll. He finished with an 83.1 percent rating, good for sixth among SEC coaches. That’s ahead of Kirby Smart and Barry Odom, the other coaches who completed their first seasons at SEC East schools. Smart’s Bulldogs went 8-5 while Odom’s Tigers missed a bowl game and went 4-8.
Muschamp reportedly earned $3 million in 2016. The Gamecocks open the 2017 season on Sept. 2 when they take on NC State in Charlotte, N.C.
Vote on Will Muschamp’s approval rating
The SEC Country approval rating poll is designed to give an indication of fan happiness over a period of time.
Our formula is based on the percentage of respondents that select each answer. We multiply that percentage by the following factors: 1 (strongly approve), 0.67 (approve), 0.33 (disapprove) and 0.0 (strongly disapprove). In other words, if 50 percent of respondents select “strongly approve” and 50 percent select “approve,” the formula would be (50 x 1) + (50 x 0.67) = 83.5% approval rating.