I confess I was hoping USC would hire Mark Richt. I like the man’s character. I also confess I was hoping they wouldn’t hire Will Muschamp. They did.
Was it the right decision? Too soon to tell. Being a life-long Florida Gator fan, the Muschamp years were tough. Great on defense. Merry-go-round of offensive coordinators (Sorry, but Charlie Weiss having to sit down during every defensive series was not inspiring). Good on off the field issues. Good recruiter, loyal to his players.
People say, “look how well Muschamp’s players have done this year.” Yes, but remember, it took a new coach to get to rise to that level.
Here’s my number one concern about Muschamp. During his years at Florida, he seemed to forget he was the head coach. Defensive coordinators can let their emotions run. Head coaches need to get quickly back on center. I’m sure some of Muschamp’s coaching decisions were made in the emotion of the moment. Going for it on 4th and 12 on your own 40 isn’t a smart idea, even if you believe in your players.
To me, assistant coaches are there to encourage, focus on technique, and offer options. The head coach makes decisions. That’s his job. He also has to deal with the media, the donors, the big powers at the university, the fans, etc. It’s complicated. Whenever you are at the head of the organization, you have to keep the big picture in mind. Letting your emotions get the best of you isn’t the best way to do that.
Here’s the second concern: Muschamp talks about out-working other people. When Ron Zook took over for Spurrier at Florida, he made a big deal out of getting a waterproof cell phone so he could call recruits in the shower. I remember thinking, “This is trouble.” When you lead an organization it is often not about how hard you work; it is about having wisdom to make judgements. Hard work doesn’t always lead to wisdom. When you are an assistant coach, you need to work hard. When you are the head coach, you better be wise.
I hope it works out for Will Muschamp, I really do. But I hope for his sake, and South Carolina’s, he keeps the big picture in mind, and he coaches wisely.