WATCH Will Muschamp: Georgia football ‘safest place’ for son Jackson amid COVID-19 pandemic
ATHENS — Former Georgia player and South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp made a statement about the safety of college football on Thursday night.
And Muschamp did it with action involving the most precious asset in any parent’s life: his offspring.
“I’ve told our team, ‘Actions are louder than words,’ (and) a lot of people have questioned student athletes being on campus, “ Muschamp said at a Thursday night press conference in Columbia, S.C.
“My son is at the University of Georgia playing football, because I think that’s the safest place for him to be right now, going to school there, and to be in that building that’s got the very same protocols that we have in place.”
Jackson Muschamp is a freshman preferred walk-on with Bulldogs, one of nine quarterbacks on the UGA roster.
Will Muschamp and Kirby Smart have a friendship that is well documented, though they only overlapped one year at UGA.
It was not like a close relationship when we were here, because he was a fifth-year senior captain and I was a redshirt freshman, we were really in two different places,” said Smart, who went from DB coach to defensive coordinator at Valdosta State in 2001 when Muschamp was hired away to join Nick Saban’s initial LSU staff.
“I mean, he was good to me, but it wasn’t like we had a friendship. We were at two different spots in our career.”
It was in the coaching profession, Smart explained, that the two become close friends.
“Where we became closer was the opportunity he gave me to come to Valdosta State, and we worked together there, and then we worked together at LSU,” Smart said. “And those two years we spent.”
Muschamp, by allowing his son to play at Georgia, is paying Smart the ultimate compliment.
And, Muschamp said, he’s also protecting his son from the risks many young people face daily amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I told him at one point I’m not a doctor, your mother’s not a doctor, and your brother is not a doctor, but they’ve got great medical care there just like we do here at the University of South Carolina.
“And there’s no question that’s the safest place for you to be, and the numbers speak for themselves.”
Muschamp said the state of South Carolina had a positive test rate “between 14 and 16 percent in July.
“It’s less than 5 percent in our building,” Muschamp said. “And two of our positive were guys that had been out of town and came back for a test.”
The University of Georgia has reported 441 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since March among its faculty, staff and students.
The University of Georgia has opted not to reveal any of its COVID-19-related numbers.
Muschamp said he has advised his players to live conservative lifestyles.
“I’m encouraging them to lead a very boring life right now,” Muschamp said. “Boring is good and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s hard sometimes, especially for young people, to lead a very boring life, but that’s what we need to do as we continue through the summer and start into fall.”
As for Muschamp’s son being on the team, Smart addressed that earlier this summer.
“There’s a lot of paranoia in coaching, and what I’ve realized is a lot of that stuff is overrated,” said Smart, who nonetheless has one of the most restrictive practice polices in the nation.
“I had the conversation with Jackson, and he said, ‘Coach, there’s nobody I’d rather beat in my whole life than my dad; we play pickup basketball, we play everything, we compete against each other,’ ” Smart said. “He said the last thing I’m worried about is trying to help him beat us. We’ll do everything we can to beat him.”
Georgia and South Carolina will indeed meet this season, but the SEC has yet to released its revised schedule after announcing it was moving to a 10-game conference-only league schedule last week.