The 2017 Gamecocks will represent the University of South Carolina in the Southeastern Conference. The Gamecocks will be led by Will Muschamp, back for his second year as head coach.
Quarterback Jake Bentley is back to lead the Gamecocks’ attack and is one of 10 returning starters on offense. The defense also gets a big boost with the return of linebacker Skai Moore, who missed all of 2016 because of a neck injury. Moore’s presence will certainly help a unit that desperately needs to find a pass rush and features a secondary that has experience but must become more reliable. South Carolina should at least be competitive in every game this season. How many games the Gamecocks win and where they fall in the SEC East standings will likely depend on whether or not the offense takes a small or significant step forward.
For the first time in his five-year head-coaching career, Will Muschamp seems to have found the answer at quarterback. Bentley started seven games last year after skipping his senior season at Opelika (Ala.) High School to join the Gamecocks. Bentley threw for 1,420 yards, nine touchdowns and four interceptions.
South Carolina has got to get their defense on a roll. Last season they were 92nd in the nation in sacks with 21. And, believe it or not, things could get worse this year. They must replace both defensive ends, including Darius English, who led the team with 9.0 sacks in 2016.
Muschamp and his coaching staff took over a roster so depleted that some of the struggles of the 2016 can hardly be held against them. Year 2 is a different story. The Gamecocks should build on the offensive momentum established with Bentley at the helm in the last half of 2016, but the defense will be tested by this year’s thin group.
Their schedule this year’s starts with NC State and then on to Missouri for their second game. Week 3 they will be battling it out with Kentucky.
About the Head Coach:
William Larry Muschamp was born August 3, 1971. He is an American football coach and former player. He is currently the head coach at the University of South Carolina. He was previously the head coach at the University of Florida from 2011 to 2014.
Muschamp has built a reputation for his strong defenses and his intense demeanor during games and practice. In his second season as defensive coordinator at Auburn, Muschamp was a finalist for the 2007 Broyles Award for the most outstanding assistant coach in college football. Prior to accepting the job at Florida, the University of Texas had announced that Muschamp would eventually succeed Mack Brown as head coach of the Longhorns and designated him the “head coach in waiting.”
Muschamp was born in Rome, Georgia, but grew up in Gainesville, Florida. He attended Martha Manson Academy elementary school and Oak Hall High School in Gainesville. His family moved back to Rome, where his father became the headmaster of the Darlington School, where he graduated from high school. Muschamp played football, basketball, baseball and ran track for the Darlington Tigers.
Muschamp attended the University of Georgia in Athens. He walked on to the Georgia Bulldogs football team and played safety from 1991 to 1994. Muschamp graduated from the University of Georgia with a bachelor’s degree in 1994.
After graduating from Georgia, Muschamp became a graduate assistant coach at Auburn University. He earned a master’s degree in education from Auburn in 1996.
On December 6, 2015, Muschamp was announced as the 34th head football coach of the South Carolina Gamecocks. Muschamp went 6-7 in his first season as head coach of the Gamecocks.
Muschamp’s wife Carol is from Thomaston, Georgia. They have two sons, Jackson and Whit. His brother Mike Muschamp is the head football coach at The Lovett School in Atlanta, Georgia who led the team to a state championship in 2013.