Bill Connelly absolutely nails the root source of my reluctance to embrace the possibility that this is the year South Carolina takes the SEC East by storm.
They adopt the slowest possible tempo, which helps cut down on the overall number of plays and possessions — a good way for a team with a per-play disadvantage to increase variance. And while I’m sure he doesn’t object to scoring, the first goal of a Muschamp offense is to make sure it’s not putting his defense at a disadvantage. He has been a head coach for six years, and he has had only one offense rank higher than 74th in Off. S&P+ and only one defense rank worse than 36th in Def. S&P+.
This isn’t the most aesthetic brand of ball. But it is a way to stay close to your opponent, when you know you probably aren’t going to generate an inherent efficiency or big-play advantage. And it’s going to look better at a school that doesn’t have quite so many talent advantages, especially when you can play the “No one expects us to win!!!” card.
That’s Will Muschamp. And, as Bill notes, to be fair to Boom, sometimes that works and works well, as it has in his second years in both Gainesville and Columbia.
But he’s ditching it now, or so he claims. And he’s relying on a offensive coordinator who’s never taken the wheel for any period longer than a bowl game, about which, by the way, Connelly has this to say:
SC didn’t light the world afire in the bowl win over Michigan, but a turnover advantage and a couple of big run plays allowed a comeback.
In other words, Carolina won that game the way Carolina won all season long.
They do have Deebo Samuel back, and you won’t hear me say that’s not a big deal. It is. But does anyone truly believe without any hesitation whatsoever that Muschamp is breezily walking away from the coaching philosophy that’s defined his career? Even if you’re one of those who accepts that on faith, how realistic is it to expect a seamless transition?
Bill thinks the ‘Cocks won’t have to be as lucky as they were last season to succeed because Samuel makes them better on offense and special teams. But I also notice that S&P+ is projecting 7 regular season wins. The truth is likely to lie somewhere in there, but I think I’ll either need some on the field convincing that the new scheme is up to the task, or Boom’s gonna need some more of that turnover luck.