“Muschamp teams play like underdogs.”

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.

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42 Comments

Filed under 'Cock Envy, Stats Geek!

42 responses to ““Muschamp teams play like underdogs.”

  1. Lazy Grad

    But, But, But… Dan Werner (see Ole Mrs – UGA 2016, I know Freeze ain’t at SCU) and their new fangled hurry up no huddle offense. I know you mentioned McClendon’s experience… and outside of UGA totally crapping the bed in Columbia for game two, I don’t see SCU having that offense down as well oiled efficient machine, maybe later in the year they might steal a win or two, but a few three and outs, and I expect UGA’s run game to wear down SCU’s defense, especially with that Columbia heat.

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  2. Spike

    I dunno.. maybe it’s just me, but Boom has got to be one of the most overrated coaches there is. Perhaps I’m biased. He is a total asshole. Thank goodness UGA didn’t hire him. I’d cash in my chips if they had. Recall what he said about UGA?

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    • 92 grad

      Boom earned a “Coach with a high ceiling” rating because he did a very good job as a coordinator at Texas. They even gave him “head coach in waiting” status. When he moved to Gainesville he was a high value commodity. When he was at Texas he was regarded as a hot future head coach.

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      • Comin' Down The Track

        You sure you didn’t mean “future hot head coach?”

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        • Macallanlover

          +1 Who wants that guy as the face of their program? There are enough examples of impulsive stupidity in college athletics by the athletes, we don’t need the Poster Boy for Anger MAnagement classes as the “trainer”.

          Liked by 1 person

        • 92 grad

          Haha, yeah, then there’s the rest of the story. I really don’t like the guy but I thought folks should know that at one time he was one of the high profile guys looking to get their first big time job. I remember a lot of Georgia fans and bloggers hoping boom would get hired to replace CMR back in 2013.

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  3. mdcgtp

    As you alluded to in your remarks, SC intends to increase pace, as McClendon went HUNH in the second half against Michigan with McClendon calling plays. Bill made no mention of it, which is a fairly important detail to overlook. I have no idea if it makes them a better team, but it will make them different. Ultimately, they don’t seem like a dangerous or athletic team to me. The Frosh WRs that played in Deebo’s absence are big, but they didn’t seem to give our DBs a moments trouble. As for them adding Deebo, we are likely to add DRob who is a LOT better than Deebo.

    If we are who we think we are, we shouldn’t have any trouble. It is essentially our first game of the season. They won’t have their usual Thursday night start with extra prep. We don’t appear to have a lot of suspensions.

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  4. Charlottedawg

    I’m taking the over on the already double digit spread favoring Georgia. There I said it, sorry in advance if that jinxes us. This game has been parrotted all summer long as the upset special which means South Carolina will have Georgia’s full and undivided attention. I’m predicting a 2012 Vanderbilt type game. Dawgs completely overwhelm an overmatched opponent.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hogbody Spradlin

    Shorten the game.

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  6. Otto

    I am predicting a game much like last year. South Carolina hangs around but win probability stays in UGA’s favor.

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    • dawgtired

      Most likely it will resemble a competitive match the first half, with the hype and fan noise, but overall talent will take over and the Dawgs will win comfortably. If SC can’t get that new offense smooth out by the time we meet…it will get ugly for them quickly.

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      • Otto

        I think there is some truth to that but the score doesn’t reflect it just as it did not last year. Smart elected to to keep the ground attack rolling eating up clock last year. The result was a 2 TD Win which could have been 3 if they play calling was more downfield (for absence of a better way to put it). The W is all that matters, move on and solidify a #1 in standing in the East over the only team that is expected a challenger.

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      • Otto

        BTW I am liking the hot weather in Athens, get the team conditioned for a physical contest in a hot game in South Carolina.

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    • DoubleDawg1318

      I agree. It will be similar to last year.

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  7. UGA '97

    Saba allowed his O to change with some dual tgreat/hurry up/spread cocepts and got 2 natty’s from Kiffin and Dabol. Not having Samuel on the field last year with young/inexperienced RBs limited his O. Putting the ball in Samuel”s hands, in space is a problem. We need to be ready.

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  8. stoopnagle

    Who replaces Hurst? Because that was the difference for them last year. I think Bentley is under-rated, but unless he has another all-world TE…

    The other fact I think of regarding this game is that Kirby is 2-0 vs USC, but his one experience in Columbia as HC was muted by the postponement in ’16. The place was half-full, it was the middle of the day, and there was very little of the typical game-day atmosphere (such as it is in Cola). In my head, I don’t think that’s going to matter a whole lot; it’ll make a difference but not enough to tip the scales far enough. My heart, though, in a gravely worry tells me this is a big deal.

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    • Comin' Down The Track

      “It’s only about a hundred thousand degrees out there, you guys!”
      Well great. Now, I’m worried.

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  9. Replace “Will Muschamp” with “Mark Fox” and you still have a perfectly valid blog post. My point? Georgia basketball fans waited 7 years for Fox to up the tempo and stop playing like a mid-major, and despite a steady increase in talent level, and multiple promises to pick up the pace, it never happened. It is really, really hard for a coach to change a core philosophy. The great ones can do it. Not so sure Boom fits into that category…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Biggen

    A lot of Carolina’s success last year was predicated on the fact that the D got a very high statistical share of turnovers. Weren’t they #1 in the league or nation at one point late in the season for TO margin? If we assume that turnovers are a random event, then regression to the mean may be in order for that unit this year.

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  11. Biggus Rickus

    If we assume they do indeed go up tempo, how will a defense that doesn’t have a lot of quality depth and is dealing with a decent amount of turnover going to hold up? It’s not like they’ve been dominant his first two years. They’ve just been better than the offense.

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  12. The pressure is on these guys, not ours. They are expecting big things in Columbia. Time to knock the lid off the program, yada yada. The dead cockroach will be rocking…sandstorm thumping. The problem is that they don’t match up well with UGA and are likely to get completely run over.

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  13. Navin Johnson

    Are we overly fixated on SC’s fixation with us? Talk amongst yourselves . . .

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    • Got Cowdog

      I’m fixated on SC because it’s the first SEC contest and I wasn’t ready for the season to end last year. I have never anticipated a season as much as this one.

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    • ChiliDawg

      We’re overly fixated on SC, period. There’s no reason why we should talk about them more than we talk about Kentucky. I blame the Gators and Vols for not giving us better teams to worry about.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Otto

        He actually has a point this time.

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        • SCDawg

          I disagree. But I have to live here. So it has made this game bigger to me.

          I don’t like Muschamp but I think his defenses have usually been good. With a good offense maybe he has something better to work with? Still think dawgs have too much depth. But I’ve walked out of that cesspool of a stadium disappointed before.

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          • Otto

            South Carolina is profiting from a down Tennessee. If Clemson, Tennessee, and UGA are at their historical levels fighting for their respective Conference titles, SCU does not get the recruits to get out of the mid pack with Kentucky. UF’s failure on the recruiting trail does nothing but help SCU as well.

            I do get that on our current schedule SCU is likely the only team challenging UGA for the East and as such if you are in Augusta or SC, it is an even bigger game.

            As much as I enjoy seeing UF and UT, struggle it is more fun to beat them for the East than SCU. However that would be more than made up for if UGA can beat Bama at their peak for National titles.

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          • ChiliDawg

            The reason his defenses have usually been good is because he’s had pedestrian offense. That was kind of the whole point of the post. It’s a feature, not a bug.

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      • Navin Johnson

        In the immortal words of T. Kyle King, “I hate Auburn.” Tech, too. And as someone who was in high school and college in the 90s, I will continue to see Florida as the bogeyman until we beat them six or seven times in a row.

        So that doesn’t leave room for more than disdain for SC.

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  14. Rebar

    The Cocks WILL be underdogs when we play them, for the next several years!

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