COLLEGE STATION, Texas — For the first time in Will Muschamp’s tenure at South Carolina, the Gamecocks will not be going to a bowl game after Saturday night’s 30-6 loss at Texas A&M.
Muschamp entered this season 22-17 and had led South Carolina to a bowl game in each of his first three seasons. But the Gamecocks fell to 4-7 Saturday with only one game remaining — against 11-0 arch-rival Clemson.
“It’s frustrating. It shouldn’t happen, call it like it is,” Muschamp said. “This is where we are right now. We’re going to continue to fight and play hard and coach hard and get our guys ready to play Clemson.”
In the midst of the disappointing season, Athletics Director Ray Tanner issued a statement Friday pledging his support for Muschamp, saying “Will Muschamp is our football coach and will be our coach going forward. President [Bob] Caslen and I are fully supportive of his leadership and his development of student-athletes on and off the field.”
Muschamp said after the loss Saturday night that his support from Tanner and the university has not wavered during last year’s 7-6 finish and this year’s losing campaign.
“From day one I have had wonderful communications with … Coach Tanner and his administration and the president’s office, starting with President [Dr. Harris] Pastides and now with President Caslen, and the board,” he said. “Everybody has been unbelievably supportive. Publicly, I don’t know what all is out there, but I know that from my standpoint. Everybody has been supportive and positive about where we’re headed and what we are doing.”
Muschamp defended his program and vowed it would turn things around and reach its ultimate goal of contending in the SEC.
“We have had a rough year. We also are a staff that won more games in three years than any other staff in South Carolina history, so we have done some good things here,” he said. “We have had a very rough year and that’s frustrating. It’s frustrating for us all. I’m a coach that has been a part of national championships and multiple conference championships and I plan on taking this program where it has never been before. I really do plan on doing that.
“It’s been a very frustrating year and I appreciate the support in a very trying time. But the support has never changed. That’s what is frustrating to me. We have this perception of what is happening out there [but] the support has never changed from any of those three entities.”
Muschamp insisted he has the resources he needs to make South Carolina a contender in the SEC and challenge rival Clemson.
“Absolutely. We have the resources available now as far as the facilities are concerned and we have the support that we need to be successful; we have always had the support we need to be successful,” he said. “We are not as far off as people seem to think we are. That’s the most frustrating part for us. [It’s been] rough from a confidence standpoint, which is kind where we are right now, and it snowballs on you. It’s been unfortunate.”
Senior tight end Kyle Markway was on the last South Carolina team not to go to a bowl, but says this team is much better than the 3-9 team in 2015.
“It’s frustrating. I’ve been through it, and 2015 was kinda similar. But this team is different,” he said. “This team comes to work every day and it’s just frustrating that it is not paying off for us.”