ATHENS — You can tell Will Muschamp is very comfortable being back in Athens. Even if he’s in a much bigger role this season at Georgia, he’s at ease back at his alma mater.
Muschamp is serving as the co-defensive coordinator for the Bulldogs this season. After initially starting out as only an analyst for the 2021 season, Muschamp quickly climbed the ranks within the Georgia program. In addition to sharing his coordinator responsibilities with Glenn Schumnann, Muschamp is in charge of coaching up the safeties and stars.
Schumann has been appreciative of Muschamp and how he seamlessly blended into the Georgia staff. This is a coach who was at one point the head coach at Florida and South Carolina.
But he’s more than happy to be back in Athens, helping construct the Georgia defense.
“We’ve got a really good group of young men that we enjoy coaching,” Muschamp said in his Tuesday press conference. “Like I mentioned earlier about working with the staff, working with a head coach that philosophically you are aligned with, and what you want and how you need to practice, the type of players you look for in recruiting, how you want to play middle field coverage, how you want to play split safety coverage, how you want to play pattern match [zone].
“I love my role. I told my wife the other day that I think I have the best job in America. At the end of the day, the room that I have I am honored to coach. To be in that room, to be at the University of Georgia, to see our future as we continue to unfold and move forward - I am really excited about it.”
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Schumann isn’t the only coach Muschamp will work closely with, as Georgia is doing something different with its defensive backs this year. Muschamp is in charge of the safeties and stars, while Fran Brown is working exclusively with the cornerbacks.
It’s an interesting dynamic, especially for Brown. This is his first season working at an SEC school after previous stops at Temple, Baylor and Rutgers. Muschamp conversely is one of several coaches who graduated from Georgia — Kirby Smart, Bryan McClendon, Mike Bobo, Todd Hartley.
The veteran Muschamp though has been very impressed with how seamlessly Brown has fit in at Georgia.
“Fran is a great person to work with,” Muschamp said. “Another guy that has a great rapport with the players, but a joy to work with as far as football is concerned. Sometimes this scheme is very difficult, for a first year in the scheme coach, with a guy that is very diligent, has a great work ethic, and it is a joy to work with.
“The guy has been awesome, and he has done a great job for us recruiting and representing us in a first-class manner. I’m really excited about his future here at Georgia.”
Muschamp seemed very comfortable when speaking to reporters on Tuesday. That’s to be expected given how many times he had to do it at Florida and South Carolina.
He even cracked a joke at the expense of one of his players before delving into why the said player will be a valuable member of Georgia’s secondary this season.
“He’s the second-best walk-on safety in Georgia history You figure out who the first one is,” Muschamp quipped about Dan Jackson. “Everyone loves Dan. His approach to his craft, to his improvement, he has made tremendous improvement in my time here at Georgia, but it’s not because of me, but because of his work ethic, his approach about going and doing the things and addressing the things you need to improve on.”
Players appreciate Muschamp’s presence on the Georgia staff. Given his coaching resume, he’s as close to a contemporary to Smart as there is on the Georgia staff. Players clearly respect him and his wealth of knowledge accumulated over the years.
“Coach Muschamp is one of the most wise coaches that I’ve ever had, and the way that he just attacks every day — he attacks every day with the same amount of energy,” senior safety Chris Smith said. “That rubs off on our defense, me included,” Smith said. “I picked up a lot of wisdom from him because, you know, he’s been in this game for a long time, coached a lot of great players, and I’d be wrong not to listen to him.
“You know, every time I have listened to him, it’s worked out pretty well. I love coach Muschamp, man.”
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Georgia feels very good about what it has in Smith as he returns for his third season. At the other safety spot, things are less clear though it seems Jackson is the front-runner at the moment to start. Tykee Smith is still working his way back from an ACL injury he suffered last October. There are also young players such as David Daniel-Sisavanh, Malaki Starks and JaCorey Thomas vying for playing time as well.
At the star position, William Poole is the likely starter, with Javon Bullard and Marcus Washington Jr. also pushing for snaps.
Muschamp is clearly a valued member of the Georgia organization. He wouldn’t have made the rise he did in such a short time — going from analyst to co-defensive coordinator — were he not.
And many are eager to see what kind of imprint he’ll have on this 2022 team.
“He brings a wealth of experience. We really enjoy working together, not just him, the whole defensive staff, the staff in general, as much as we ever had,” Schumann said of Muschamp. “I think he brings a sense of comradery, professionalism, experience. He’s a great sounding board for ideas. For as much success he’s had in his career, he’s extremely humble. I think humility says a lot about who a person is.”
Will Muschamp says he has ‘the best job in America’ as Georgia football co-defensive coordinator
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