Today marks seven weeks from the official start of the Will Muschamp era at South Carolina. Today also marks his first bout at SEC Media Days in the place of Steve Spurrier, who's known as much for his quips at the annual event as his success on the field.
Muschamp opened the final day of the 2016 festivities at the Winfrey Hotel in Birmingham, AL. Under the dimmed lights on the main ballroom, donning a garnet tie, Muschamp embarked on his first SEC Media Days as the Gamecocks head coach.
"First of all, I want to thank Coach Spurrier for what he did for the University of South Carolina," Muschamp opened as he honored his predecessor.
The man that bridged the gap between Spurrier and Muschamp, interim head coach Shawn Elliott, was quickly mentioned once the spectacle went to the seated press.
How did keeping Elliott on his new staff come together? Muschamp was more worried about the marriage between Elliott and offensive coordinator Kurt Roper than anything having do with him and Elliott's love for the university won Muschamp over in the end.
"The best thing for South Carolina was having Shawn Elliott on our staff," he said.
Roper, meanwhile, was again hired by Muschamp after leading his final offense at Florida. Key to Roper's rehiring was his quarterback development and his ability calling plays.
"We're very similar schematically to what Spurrier ran before," Muschamp said as he acknowledged that the familiarity, "made the transition much smoother than maybe my situation before."
As far as the on-field leader of the offense, Muschamp again mentioned that veteran Perry Orth and true freshman Brandon McIlwain separated themselves from the competition over the last few months. He relayed that Michael Scarnecchia would miss the season after labrum surgery, that Lorenzo Nunez would play some wide receiver as well as compete at quarterback and that true freshman Jake Bentley would be "involved" in the quarterback competition. The final decision on a quarterback will be made two weeks after camp.
The new Gamecock statesman spoke about his roster and labeled them a beaten down group when he first arrived. He spoke of focusing on intangibles with his team, increased toughness and effort. He did confess about how much unknown is on the roster.
"A lot of unknowns on our roster right now. Within those unknowns, I think we have some talented players," Muschamp said Thursday morning.
While the defense may hold the biggest question mark, he felt good about his team's ability upfront.
"Defensively, our front seven, I feel like we have a good mix of talent and experience. I feel comfortable in our front seven. I know we need to improve in our secondary, but I know we are capable," Muschamp said.
We have a long list of Spurrier-isms and Muschamp's first one may be, ‘At the end of the day.'
And at the end of the day, winning is all that matters. Muschamp didn't win enough at Florida and that is why he is at South Carolina. He acknowledges that and takes responsibility for it.
He mentioned Thursday that he doesn't think it will be harder to win at South Carolina than it was Florida. While he wishes his time in Gainesville ended differently, he believes in where he is now.
"We can recruit good enough players to win the East every year," Muschamp said.
Some out there already believe the clock is ticking on Muschamp's time in Columbia. Right or wrong, he feels the sense of urgency.
"There is no three-year plan, five-year plan, we plan to win now."