There’s a delicacy a new coach has to show when coming into a college football program.
He has to bring in new players and integrate the old ones. Sometimes that’s easier, but other times young men who’ve been there longer than the coaches are used to the way things were done under the previous staff.
South Carolina’s Will Muschamp has often spoke about the task of resuscitating the Gamecocks program and the need to recruit to that end. After beating Arkansas on Saturday, he credited the guys who came in during Steve Spurrier’s tenure and made things work.
“We inherited some really good young men when we came here,” Muschamp said. “Really, you talk in terms of Hayden Hurst, a lot of those guys that were a part of this organization. Terry Googer, Skai Moore, Bryson Allen-Williams, Taylor Stallworth, Dante Sawyer. And they want South Carolina to win and want it done right.”
That’s to say nothing of Deebo Samuel, who projected as a star and offensive centerpiece.
The Gamecocks have been young, each of the past two seasons, but much of the core was made up of veterans. Eleven of USC’s 22 starters Saturday predate the Muschamp staff, and at least three more players would be in there but for injuries.
That new group is taking its spot, and Muschamp credited his older players for facilitating that. Sometimes those groups have friction. That’s not happening in Columbia, he said.
“Instead of being resistant to a new organization, they really bought in,” Muschamp said, “just like our seniors did last year, and they’ve really brought along the new guys.”