COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina football coach Will Muschamp could have a significant decision to make in a little over a month.
Earlier this year, the NCAA Football Oversight Committee passed a proposal that allows schools to hire a 10th full-time assistant coach. The new position can be added as early as Jan. 9, 2018.
There are a number of different directions Muschamp could go with the Gamecocks’ new post. Below are some of the options he could consider:
Two defensive line coaches
The formula has worked well at several places, including Clemson under Dabo Swinney, though the two coaches departed after the 2016 season. Defensive tackles coach Dan Brooks retired and defensive ends coach Marion Hobby returned to the NFL.
Now, we’re not suggesting that South Carolina defensive line coach Lance Thompson could use the help, but it’s an avenue that might be worth considering. Potentially, he could focus on just the ends, which would allow for another coach to handle only the tackles.
However, that system is sort of already in place with Mike Peterson already on board. He coaches the “Buck” position, a hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker.
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Options at defensive back
It’s fairly common across the college level that one defensive backs coach works with cornerbacks and the other is in charge of safeties. However, that is pretty much already in place.
Defensive coordinator Travaris Robinson works with the team’s cornerbacks. Muschamp, who played safety at Georgia, basically serves as the position coach for South Carolina.
Offensively, there aren’t a ton of options, unless there’s a desire to add a second coach to each position.
For the last two seasons, South Carolina co-offensive coordinator Kurt Roper has also coached quarterbacks. Muschamp could opt to have his play-caller focus solely on coordinating the offense and allow for the quarterbacks coach to just coach the position.
The third phase of the game, special teams, could be an avenue.
Linebackers coach Coleman Hutzler serves as the Gamecocks special teams coordinator. Though we’re not advocating help for Hutzler, NFL teams have a coach whose only job is to coordinate the special teams.
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Muschamp currently serves as South Carolina’s recruiting coordinator, and we’ll presume that he’s not going to hand over that title to someone else.
But you can never have too much help when it comes to recruiting. The second-year coach — soon-to-be third-year — could opt to hire another coach who’s focus is on the lifeblood of any college football program.
During the season, in particular, is when South Carolina could use the help. Well, not just South Carolina, but anybody. Between September and late November/early December, college coaches are, for the most part, focused on practice and game prep during the week.
A coach who doesn’t have any on-field responsibilities could help boost visibility in recruiting by always being on the road, to drop in at high schools for meetings with coaches, trips to practice and appearances at games.
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