South Carolina football: audition day for Bryan McClendon

JACKSONVILLE, FL - JANUARY 02: Now South Carolina football assistant, Bryan McClendon shakes hands with and James Franklin of the Penn State Nittany Lions shake hands after the TaxSlayer Bowl.. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)

South Carolina football needs an offensive coordinator. Bryan McClendon is first man up in the audition.

Bryan McClendon makes his case for the South Carolina football offensive coordinator position  against Michigan at high noon in the Outback Bowl. However, The audition began well before today.

“I think the preparation has been really good, number one, by Bryan, but our entire offensive staff, as well,” Muschamp said said. “We’ve got a really good staff in place, and I’ve been very pleased with his command of our team, our staff, our players. We’ve been very productive in our practices at home but also since we’ve come to Tampa. I think he’s done a really good job.”

McClendon is getting his shot OC with South Carolina football because fired offensive coordinator Kurt Roper did not deliver for the Gamecocks.

In the SEC, the Gamecocks ranked number 13 in 2016 and number 12 in 2017 total offense. Muschamp wanted to play faster this season, and the Gamecocks did not.

Poll results from the  front lines are in and McClendon is trending positive.

Player reviews

From first-team All-SEC tightend Hayden Hurst, “I think it’s just bringing a sense of confidence. Like I’ve kind of told y’all guys, we’ve been searching for an identity for a while. Having B-Mac come in with his confidence and Coach Bentley adding to that too, I think it’s gonna be good for us.”

“I think he kind of came and just told the guys, this is what we’re going to do and this is how we’re going to do it,” said Gamecock quarterback Jake Bentley. “I think the guys really picked it up well. It’s not that much new, but there’s definitely some new things we’re doing, offensively, to try to get guys more open and run the ball effectively, so it’s been great.”

Players like his high energy practice demeanor, and the guy that caught passes for the Georgia Bulldogs a decade ago can still show them how it’s done.

Sophomore Bryan Edwards said, He’ll jump the drill and show his stuff “if he’s got his cleats on,”

After all, it wasn’t too long ago that McClendon was catching passes as a Georgia Bulldog. “He’s a high-energy guy, so he’ll try to jump.”

Will McClendon have to show big numbers to seal the deal with Muschamp?

Outback production

“Obviously gameday is important,” said South Carolina head football coach Muschamp . “From a calling standpoint, from an adjustment standpoint. Certainly if you make the right calls and the right adjustments, you’re going to be productive, so that is important. But I’ve been very pleased with his progress.”

The Outback Bowl audition for McClendon is not so much a one shot opportunity. It’s the latest advancement opportunity.

McClendon served as interim head coach for Georgia after Mark Richt’s dismissal, and defeated Penn State in the 2016 TaxSlayer Bowl. He was Georgia’s first black head coach and he succeeded when the Bulldog Nation was divided over the firing of Richt.

The road to Columbia

McClendon joined the Georgia staff first as a graduate assistant, immediately impacting the play of Georgia’s wide receiver corps. He was hired as an assistant coach and immediately improved Georgia’s recruiting in metro Atlanta, his hometown. As the running backs coach, he reeled in recruits Todd Gurley, Nick Chubb and Sony Michel.

After a year of work  for South Carolina football, Rivals.com  named McClendon one of the top recruiters in America in 2017.

McClendon’s father, running back Willie McClendon, starred for and coached at Georgia.  The Red and Black were the only college colors McClendon knew until he turned the red to garnet. It was a necessary career move for the young coach, and now opportunity knocks again. Will the Gamecock offense answer?

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