Friday, July 18, 2008

What To Make of Steve Spurrier

The Ol Ball Coach is not scripting ball plays this July but fending off rumors of an imminent retirement after just 3 seasons at South Carolina. Spurrier
denies the rumors, but the question is raised of how long he will be in Colombia as he is in his 60s. The Ol Ball Coach, known for his innovative offenses, has passed off some of the playcalling duties to his son, Steve Spurrier, Jr, but assures Gamecock supporters he will still be an integral part of the offensive strategy. "I will oversee all the playcalling. I'm still the offensive coordinator," Spurrier said. "In fact, I plan to spend more time with the quarterbacks and the offense this year than maybe I have in three years." Is this shared responsibility a sort of passing of the torch?

So what do we make of Spurrier's tenure so far and his future at South Carolina?
Last season had to be a frustrating one for Spurrier. After starting 6-1 with win over Georgia and a top 10 ranking, the Gamecocks proceeded to lose 5 straight and finish at .500, including a last second loss to arch rival Clemson. In his three seasons, Spurrier has taken South Carolina to two bowl games, but his still far from reaching his goal of an SEC title.

When given time, Spurrier is still one of the best if not the best game planner in the country as evidenced by his win at Georgia last year with far less talent. But South Carolina as a football program has many challenges. They are in a small state with a small recruiting base where you have to compete with a big program like Clemson in state. Not to mention schools like Georgia, Florida State, North Carolina, and Tennessee among others cherry picking your local talent as well. Throw in the fact that you are in the toughest division of the toughest conference in the nation and you have quite a job on your hands. The game has certainly not passed Spurrier by but he needs a good QB to run his system and he has not had one yet. His prize QB recruit of two years ago, Stephen Garcia, has been pulling more fire alarms than snaps from center so far and is currently suspended from the school. Even with all of this, South Carolina fans start each year with some of the most optimistic views in college football and loyally fill Williams Brice Stadium every game, but many times by late October those title dreams have been dashed.

Obviously, time will tell if Spurrier can get South Carolina over the hump and into Atlanta. I think we will see Spurrier coach at least two more years. At that time he will evaluate whether or not he can get South Carolina an SEC Championship in the next two seasons. If he feels he can, then he will stay. If he feels he is no better than he was two years prior, then he retires to the golf course. I think we see Spurrier at Augusta National before we see him at the Georgia Dome.

AJC Article

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