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South Carolina keeps contradicting itself on Will Muschamp's future

One thing is clear: No one at South Carolina wants to fire Will Muschamp. We reported as much earlier last Monday, and Gamecocks AD Ray Tanner seemed to confirm it with this statement on Friday:

“Today, I want to make it clear that Will Muschamp is our football coach and will be our coach going forward. Caslen and I are fully supportive of his leadership and his development of student-athletes on and off the field. Coach Muschamp and our staff are dedicated to the success of Gamecock football. They have built a program where our team plays for each other and for our university, and they deserve our support. While we wish the outcome of some of our games would have been different, we are excited about the future of our program.”

I say seemed to confirm because Tanner's words were frustratingly vague -- "going forward." If you want to set the record straight that Muschamp will be South Carolina's coach next season, why not say those words specifically? And if you don't want to say that, why say anything at all?

Then, on Monday, South Carolina president Robert Caslen said this: “Listen, for the record, (Muschamp) is my coach, period. And he’ll remain my coach, just for the record. If you look at the athletic director’s statement, that’s the same that I endorse.”

All good, right? But then Caslen was asked about a rumor that South Carolina officials had inquired to their Florida State counterparts about how they managed Willie Taggart's buyout, which was similar to Muschamp's $19 million buyout figure. No, Caslen said, I didn't ask about that... but Tanner did.

“No, but our athletic director (Ray Tanner) has,” Caslen told SC Now. “And they’ve got a whole lot more money in their athletic endowment than we do. I know that, for a fact."

Oooookay, well, moving on. South Carolina is 4-7 and eliminated from bowl contention following consecutive losses to Appalachian State and Texas A&M. The 'Cocks will take this week off to prepare for their finale against Clemson. The defending national champions are on an absolute tear right now, ripping off four consecutive wins in which they've scored at least 52 points while allowing no more than 14. There's a chance that game could get ugly just, because, well, it's Clemson.

And what if, say, Clemson comes to Williams-Brice and wins 52-14 or something like that?

“If we’re totally imploding and no one shows up, I’d say we’ll have a discussion,” Caslen said. “But there’s no desire intended to make a change.”

So, it South Carolina's brass is clear that they want to retain Muschamp as the Gamecocks' head coach into next season, but that intention becomes less clear with every word they say.

As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.