Will Muschamp's turnaround at South Carolina stems from a dramatic loss in 2015
In his third year at South Carolina, Muschamp ready to prove the doubters wrong
ATLANTA -- By now, you've seen the memes, GIFs and videos of Will Muschamp blowing several gaskets on the sideline during his Florida days. You probably remember the lackluster four years that included a 17-15 SEC record and a 4-8 record in 2013 that had seven straight losses to end the season -- including one to Georgia Southern.
The past can't be changed. So instead of living in the past, Muschamp reinvented himself at South Carolina into a new-look version of himself. He was looking for redemption.
"Well, until you sat in the seat, you don't know," he said. "You have no idea the different things that you deal with on a day-to-day basis, the decisions you make that affects the an entire organization. You know, I think you live and learn every day on the job. Certainly I'm a much better coach today than I was that first year. To sit there and go through the positive things you've done and the negative things you've done, we could be here for a long time. Again, you learn on the job every single day being in an organization like this."
He found that redemption with the Gamecocks.
In two years in Columbia, Muschamp has shed the old-school, time of possession, pro-style offense with more tempo and spread concepts. Why? Because of a game against Ole Miss -- and quarterbacks coach Dan Werner -- when he was the defensive coordinator at Auburn in 2015.
The Rebels racked up 558 total yards in a 27-19 win over the Tigers. It was at that moment that Muschamp's eyes turned to Warner as part of his coaching future.
"Schematically and tempo wise, they really created some issues for us," Muschamp told CBS Sports. "Leaving that game, they stressed me a lot as far as how they operated offensively. It was something that really impressed me. So when we made some changes, I called Dan to see if he would be interested in coaching some quarterbacks, and he was."
To put it more bluntly, Muschamp swallowed his pride.
A funny thing happened, though. Nobody outside of Columbia seemed to notice.
Muschamp's four years at Florida unfairly branded him as a failure as a head coach despite the fact that those were his first four years as a head coach in FBS. At a place like Florida, replacing a legend in Urban Meyer, that's no easy task.
He handled it poorly. It started with Charlie Weis coming in as his offensive coordinator in 2011, Brent Pease in 2012-13 and Kurt Roper in 2014. While Roper's offense didn't get the job done, the philosophy laid the groundwork for Muschamp's post-Gainesville career.
Even though it didn't work -- the Gators averaged a putrid 367.6 yards per game in 2014 -- the change to Roper's spread-centric system signaled a shift in the mind of Muschamp. It showed that he got it. It showed that instead of fighting against the rise of exotic offenses, he embraced it.
Now it's time to embrace Muschamp as the coach that he is, not the coach that he was. He's a guy who took a risk pulling the redshirt off quarterback Jake Bentley mid-way through his freshman year in 2016, even though Bentley reclassified from the high school class of 2017 to join the program early. He's a guy who led South Carolina to nine wins -- including a bowl win over Michigan and Jim Harbaugh in Year 2. He's a guy who took a long and winding road to realize the potential that Florida saw in him prior to the 2011 season.
It's time for the rest of the college football realize it too.
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