COLUMBIA — He can be very engaging when he wants to be.
All of Will Muschamp's emotions were seen after South Carolina’s 24-7 win over Kentucky last week. The agony and frustration of the first four weeks tumbled out of his mouth alongside a quote destined for sound bites.
“It’s been a (expletive) fall,” he said with a grin as laughs punctuated the room. “I got more gray hair than I’ve ever had.”
Get Muschamp in his office during a somewhat relaxed time of the year and he can spin stories with a Steve Spurrier flair. He's so good at tossing out one-liners and letting you in on things you don’t know about popular topics, it makes you wonder why he doesn’t do it more often.
It’s because he doesn’t have to, or want to. His job is to coach the Gamecocks into a winning football team, and he doesn’t want to spend one more second than required talking about it.
Muschamp isn’t an enemy of the press, but it’s easy to tell during every press conference that he just wants it to be over. As the Gamecocks sputtered to a 1-3 start that had his job security brought up far more than once, Muschamp's impatience with the media was even more obvious. It was clear he just wanted to get back to work.
But his demeanor was different after the Kentucky game. Muschamp could joke about his wife not talking to him because she doesn’t talk to losers.
Relief is a heck of an antidote.
"It was a great night. We haven’t exactly played as well or coached as well as we need to this fall,” he said. “We needed to get a win and we got one.”
Everything’s possible after a win, especially going into a bye week. The Gamecocks took Sunday and Monday off and will have an extended weekend off. Players can head home if they wish, see the family, kick up their feet and watch football instead of playing it.
Muschamp won’t. He’ll spend the weekend recruiting.
"The thing about coach Muschamp, he’s always consistent with his attitude. He always looks positive,” left tackle Sadarius Hutcherson said. “He knows our team, we’re going to be all right. He has our back and we have his back."
The players all heard the questions about their coach’s job security last week and said they always feel pressure to win. There wasn’t anything specific, they said, tied to Kentucky other than it was the next game on the slate.
“He don’t look back on anything and that’s what I like about him,” center Donell Stanley said. “He didn’t want to put us down for the Missouri game.”
Stanley said that Muschamp’s words all week were that an SEC team was trying to beat USC at Williams-Brice Stadium at night, and that just couldn’t be allowed. There was nothing about having to win to feel good again.
But they’ll all definitely accept the result. Muschamp and his players could afford to smile again.
“Just going out there and playing for coach was great for us,” defensive end D.J. Wonnum said. “Getting the win for him.”
Wonnum, Charlton honored
Two Gamecocks received SEC honors on Monday for their performances over the weekend.
Wonnum was named Defensive Player of the Week after recording three sacks among his five tackles against Kentucky. He also forced a fumble.
Joseph Charlton was named Special Teams Player of the Week after averaging 51.2 yards on nine punts, with a season-long of 65.
Georgia kickoff set
The Gamecocks will kick off at No. 3 Georgia at noon Oct. 12. The game will be carried by ESPN.