South Carolina and North Carolina will meet in Charlotte in Week 1 of the 2019 season. Head coaches Will Muschamp and Mack Brown spoke to the Charlotte Country Club Friday to help preview the Aug. 31 neutral-site clash.
The two coaches know each other well. Muschamp was Brown’s defensive coordinator and the head-coach-in-waiting at Texas.
“He was great. I think it was great for both of us,” Muschamp told the club, per The Big Spur’s Hale McGranahan. “Our third year, we didn’t have as good a football team as we wanted to have. I think that put some stress on us from the standpoint of, number one, because our fanbase was asking, ‘Do we really want this guy to take over our program? And when are we getting rid of the other guy?’
“I think that created some difficulties, not between he and I, but as far as those questions. You get tired of hearing that, but that was part of it. It was a wonderful situation at Texas and I got a great opportunity to go to Florida, a place that I had grown up. I think Coach Brown understood the opportunity I had in front of me.”
Brown sees a different Muschamp now at South Carolina. In between departing Texas and returning to North Carolina, Brown was an analyst at ESPN which gave him the opportunity to watch Muschamp as the head coach of the Gamecocks.
“He’s much more settled now,” Brown said. “He’s still passionate, but he’s controlling everything now. At Texas, he just had the defense, so he could go crazy, go wild and butt his head on the sideline and get the blood coming down. I called his spring game a couple of years ago for ESPN and it was a lot of fun to see him with his team, see how he was coaching them and the respect they have for him. He’s got a really good staff. I’m really proud of the head coach that he’s become.”
Even though Brown has been able to watch Muschamp closely, Muschamp says South Carolina will have some new looks come August.
“Everybody is going to change a little bit schematically, whether the coaching staff is back from the year before or not,” Muschamp said. “You study the tendencies offensively, defensively and from a special teams standpoint – what you think – and you kind of go from there. You’ve got to be ready for the unexpected and adjust to those situations in game.”