Reasons why Will Muschamp is dodging the city of Birmingham
Will Muschamp must not like Birmingham very much.
For the second straight year, Muschamp has ducked the Birmingham Bowl in the name of taking a “new job.”
The freshly minted South Carolina head coach will not lead the Auburn defense he eschewed for Columbia against Memphis in this year’s Birmingham Bowl. He’s done this before. Last December he chose to get to work as the Tigers’ defensive coordinator rather than coach Florida in its Birmingham Bowl tilt versus East Carolina after he had been fired.
How could Muschamp not enjoy Birmingham, the jewel of Jones Valley? The city is the home of Veterans Day and a miniaturized version of the Statue of Liberty.
Here are some (lighthearted) reasons that could explain why Muschamp is avoiding Magic City:
BEEN THERE, DONE THAT: It could just be that he’s already conquered Pittsburgh of the South. Muschamp’s first coaching gig came with Auburn, where he served as a general assistant during the 1995 and 1996 seasons. The Tigers knocked off Alabama-Birmingham by a 29-0 score in 1996. Muschamp also shut out the Blazers 39-0 in just his second game as head coach of the Florida Gators in 2011. South Carolina has been equally impressive all-time against UAB, winning all three of their contests.
BURNED BEFORE: Muschamp is still angry that Alabama-Birmingham alumnus Roddy White posted 50 receiving yards and 16 rushing yards against his Miami Dolphins defense during both Muschamp’s and White’s rookie years in the NFL in 2005. White went on to have a pro bowl career with the Atlanta Falcons, while Muschamp followed Saban back out the door after one failed season in South Beach.
FAT CORNER: Perhaps someone told him that Birmingham is home to the “Heaviest Corner On Earth,” and he took that as a city full of fat guys who play defensive back. Muschamp is a mastermind when it comes to defense, particularly in the secondary and being the strongest and fastest at the position helps. This year was a bit of an anomaly for the former Tigers defensive coordinator as his Auburn squad finished second-to-last in total defense in the SEC. Worst, it should be noted, was the South Carolina defense that he inherited this month. You don’t have to look far for Muschamp’s fingerprints on an elite defense. The coach molded the current Florida defense that finished the regular season ranked No. 6 in the nation.
MISSING THE USFL: Maybe Muschamp is still upset that his beloved Birmingham Stallions of the USFL folded its operations in 1986 when he was just 15 years old and an impressionable teenager playing football for Rome, Ga.’s, Darlington School. He could have channeled that angst into his play on the field, which earned him a walk-on role as a safety for the Georgia Bulldogs.
FEARING DRAGONS: This one is serious. Perhaps Muschamp suffers from draconophobia, the fear of dragons. That would explain why he’d like to stay as far away as possible from Alabama-Birmingham mascot Blaze. It’s an interesting theory, considering that Muschamp’s temper often resembles a giant fire-breathing reptile.
Or perhaps he has a disdain for Birmingham native Paul Finebaum of the SEC Network.
“Everyone thinks Will Muschamp can wave a magic wand, but that Auburn defense has been under performing for years” – @schadjoe
— Paul Finebaum (@finebaum) May 5, 2015
It could also be Muschamp saw what happened to former Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino and wants to keep away from the World’s Largest Motorcycle Museum, which is housed in Birmingham.
Will Muschamp has had 11 jobs with nine teams — including four SEC teams (Auburn, Florida, LSU and South Carolina) — during his 20-year coaching career. You can’t blame the guy for wanting some job security…or for fearing dragons.