Bryan McClendon promoted to offensive coordinator at South Carolina

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- South Carolina has promoted Bryan McClendon to offensive coordinator, filling one of the Gamecocks biggest items on the offseason to-do list.

Coach Will Muschamp announced the move Friday, saying he talked with McClendon soon after the interim OC had helped the Gamecocks to a 26-19 victory in the Outback Bowl on New Year's Day.

"In his two years here at South Carolina, he's been outstanding," Muschamp said of the 34-year-old McClendon. "You see the rapport he has with our staff, with our players, how he positively affects everybody in our entire organization."

McClendon will remain in charge of wide receivers going forward.

Muschamp also hired Dan Werner as quarterbacks coach. Werner was co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Ole Miss for five seasons before moving on as an offensive analyst at Alabama this past season.

McClendon and Werner fill the role of fired offensive coordinator Kurt Roper, who was let go after the season.

The Gamecocks ranked 13th in total offense and last in points in the 14-team Southeastern Conference in Muschamp's first season in 2016. Those numbers improved slightly this past fall as the Gamecocks were 12th in both SEC categories. That was not enough, however, to keep Muschamp from making a change.

McClendon hopes to keep South Carolina's offense advancing to next year, building off the team's 9-4 season which marked just the sixth time in school history the team won nine games or more.

"It's not like we're going to reinvent the wheel offensively," McClendon said. "One thing that we do have to is giving our players the best chance to be successful. That's all any coach can be asked to do."

McClendon's attack will have a solid quarterback in rising junior Jake Bentley, who was named the bowl's most valuable player. It will also have dynamic playmaking receiver Deebo Samuel, who had six touchdowns before getting hurt against Kentucky on Sept. 16.

Samuel, who fractured his leg, is cleared for spring practice, Muschamp said.