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South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp looks toward the scoreboard during the Georgia vs. South Carolina football game on September 8, 2018, at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina. The Bulldogs beat the Gamecocks 41-17. (Photo/Christina R. Matacotta, crmatacotta@gmail.com)

The last time South Carolina visited Athens, head coach Will Muschamp led his Gamecocks to a walk-off overtime victory. This Saturday, he’ll walk into the same conference matchup, this time as a Bulldog, to face his old team.

Reserve quarterback Jackson Muschamp and defensive analyst Robert Muschamp are both involved with Georgia’s daily on-field operations alongside their father.

Will Muschamp returned to Georgia with his family in 2020 as a defensive analyst following his departure as head coach at South Carolina. Since then, his initial role with the team has morphed into a more substantial assignment of special teams coordinator.

Will Muschamp holds the reins to what is projected to be among the most lethal special teams groups in the country with electric kick returners and seasoned kickers. He also provides defensive observations for the Bulldogs.

“Coach Muschamp is a great coach, and he’s coached with coach Kirby Smart a good amount throughout their careers,” said cornerback Kelee Ringo. “Coming in, I had a lot of trust in him … it was really just building a relationship early with him.”

No stranger to the spotlight, Will Muschamp’s resume includes two previous SEC head coaching positions and one as a defensive coordinator. Although originally staked to a supplementary coaching post with the Bulldogs, he now has the opportunity to employ past coaching experiences in a more permanent role in the Classic City.

History at Georgia

Will Muschamp began his collegiate career at Georgia as a walk-on in 1991, and was a senior on the team when Smart entered the program as a player in 1994. Both were eventually named Georgia team captains.

“We knew he’s coached some of the best players, and also with some of the best coaches of all time in college football, so it was a great way to easily build a relationship with him,” Ringo said. Will Muschamp and Smart also both coached under Alabama head coach Nick Saban.

Will Muschamp approached the special teams with the same intensity that has characterized his overtly dynamic coaching style for decades, and the group has responded.

Through their first two games of the season, Bulldog returners have averaged 12.4 yards per punt return and punt coverage teams have averaged negative two yards to the opposition.

Jake Camarda has averaged 45 net punt yards per game, and Jack Podlesny is 1-3 on field goals.

Continuing that consistency will be a test against Georgia’s first SEC opponent of the year, the same team Will Muschamp coached some nine months ago.

“He’s going to get us prepared and have us in the right positions to go out there and be successful,” running back Kenny McIntosh said.

Father and sons

The special teams coach won’t be the only Muschamp stalking the sideline on Saturday. Redshirt freshman Jackson Muschamp impacts Georgia’s offense without stepping foot on the field. His role as a reserve quarterback lies mostly in sideline play communication, which means he helps players with plays and signals.

“He’s been very productive for us, and has been very informational and educational with the small details that we [receivers] don’t really see on the field,” sophomore receiver Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint said.

The lineage doesn’t stop there. Will Muschamp’s older son Robert serves as a defensive assistant, a role not far from the one the former head coach was originally hired to fill. And although this isn’t the first weekend the Muschamp trio will compete together between the hedges, it’s the first time they face a former ally turned adversary in South Carolina.

“He has been a tremendous asset,” Smart said about the elder Muschamp. “I can’t express the move to get him on board, and how important it has been, especially considering our situation with being an on-field coach. He has brought a jolt of energy to special teams and an extra set of eyes on the defensive backfield.”