New faces for Gamecocks now and how might that change things?
March 15, 2020 / GCF Staff Report
There might have been a point this offseason where it couldn’t hurt to hand out nametags to some to the new South Carolina football staffers, considering the volume of departures and arrivals. An offseason of change so far saw 40% of Will Muschamp’s core coaching staff change over, plus the man running his recruiting operation as well as the strength coach. The changes didn’t even wrap up officially until five days before the team hit the field for spring ball.
Whats that mean? A break in continuity. New staffers have to be taught the way the existing staff likes to do things. In the case of new offensive coordinator Mike Bobo, the new guy has to teach his staff new things. Even after two positions turned over in the month of February, Muschamp took a wider view on what they can bring.
Muschamp said. “I think growth and improvement. You have a chance to grow differently with a coach. Every new coach that we bring in, I learn something from them.”
Here’s rundown of the list of changes for 2020:
▪ Bryan McClendon: Went from offensive coordinator to receivers coach.
▪ Dan Werner: No longer on staff, replaced as QB coach by new offensive coordinator Mike Bobo.
▪ Coleman Hutzler: Left for a job at Texas. New tight ends coach Joe Cox was hired to fill his vacancy, while Rod Wilson filled the linebacker role.
▪ Kyle Krantz: Was momentarily moved to an off-field role with Cox’s arrival, and then re-promoted to special teams coordinator and assistant defensive backs coach.
▪ John Scott Jr.: Accepted a position at Penn State, replaced by Tracy Rocker.
▪ Thomas Brown: Accepted a role as running backs coach with the Los Angeles Rams. Wilson filled his open staff spot, while Bobby Bentley took over the running backs.
▪ Bentley: Went from tight ends to assistant quarterbacks coach to running backs, a role he held his first three years on campus.
▪ Jeff Dillman: Replaced as head strength coach by Paul Jackson.
▪ Matt Lindsey: Accepted a job with Ole Miss, replaced by Drew Hughes.
Yep, that’s a lot.
To help the players with any worries about the transition, Muschamp pointed to his outside linebackers coach Mike Peterson. Muschamp asked the players how many of them wanted to play in the NFL all hands went up.
“’Mike Peterson, how many years did you play the NFL?’” Muschamp said. “He said 14. ‘So how many position coaches did you have?’ He said eight. So I said, ‘Do you think Mike Peterson, if he was really sensitive about this new coach that came in, and didn’t like the way he coached me, and I didn’t like it, do you think he would’ve survived 14 years?’ They all said, ‘No, he probably wouldn’t have.’ I said, “So you need to be adaptable.’”
Muschamp mentioned that he’s picking up small things from the new coaches. He mentioned talking to Rocker, a longtime SEC veteran, about little things such as how a team travels or handles the long wait before a Saturday night game. Coming off a 4-8 season, Muschamp said the need to change up spring practice was no different than when the team came off nine wins in 2018 or seven in 2019. The different faces brought different experiences and expertise. He mentioned liking the changes Jackson implemented on the strength side ahead of spring workouts.
“When you have some influx of new staff, you do get some new ideas about different ways to do things,” Muschamp said. “Obviously Mike being the head coach, I’ve asked him a lot of questions about some different things that they’ve done. “It all goes back to fit in what’s best for your players, and what’s going to help us win game.”