OCT. 8: GEORGIA AT SOUTH CAROLINA, TBA
UGA LEADS 48-18-2
LAST YEAR: Bulldogs won 52-20
HOOVER, Ala. — South Carolina receiver Deebo Samuel didn’t know anything about his new position coach. He didn’t even know Bryan McClendon had served as Georgia’s head coach the final game of last year.
Samuel eventually learned all that. But what stood out to him about McClendon is that despite being a Georgia lifer, he’s had zero transition period to joining division rival South Carolina.
“I feel like he can just fit in anywhere he goes, because he’s a player’s coach,” Samuel said on Thursday at SEC media days. “He doesn’t say anything about what he did at Georgia. It’s all about us now. He’s a part of us.”
McClendon joined South Carolina as its receivers coach and co-offensive coordinator, after more than a decade serving in practically every important role at Georgia: Player (2002-05), assistant coach (running backs from 2009-14 and receivers in 2015), recruiting coordinator and even head coach (for the TaxSlayer Bowl on Jan. 1, which Georgia won.)
In Georgia’s media guide, just released, McClendon has a bio in the head coaches page, in between Mark Richt and Kirby Smart. And McClendon owns the distinction of being the only undefeated head coach in program history.
It’s not the last time McClendon will serve in the head role, according to South Carolina head coach (and fellow Georgia alum) Will Muschamp.
“Bryan McClendon’s a future head coach, I can assure you of that,” Muschamp said on Thursday. “All that experience does is help you. He’s extremely bright, extremely hard-working.”
Mike Bobo, who worked with McClendon at Georgia, encouraged Muschamp to hire him.
“He said, ‘Do whatever you got to do to hire him,’” Muschamp said. “He’ll have a tremendous impact on our offense. A guy that’s played the position, coached the position. He’s also coached pretty good running backs. From an evaluation standpoint, he does a really good job. He’s extremely approachable. Very good in the recruiting process. He’s got a tremendous future in front of him.”
Like Muschamp, McClendon is replacing somebody named Steve Spurrier: The legendary head coach’s son, Steve Spurrier Jr., had served as the receivers coach during his father’s tenure, coaching the likes of Alshon Jeffery, Kenny McKinley and Pharaoh Cooper.
Like many areas at South Carolina, the cupboard is a bit more bare now. Samuel, who only played in five games last year because of injuries, is being counted on to play a big role. He sounded happy to have McClendon there to coach him up.
“Coach Spurrier Jr. was a good coach. But coach B-Mac separates himself because he’s a very active coach and shows you,” Samuel said. “Say you don’t know what to do, and he’ll show you what to do.”
Here’s McClendon’s bio in this year’s Georgia media guide.