Does Spurrier have one more big run left in him?

Hoover,  Ala.— I don’t really believe the next sentence even though I know it to be entirely accurate: Just a few months ago Steve Spurrier turned 65 years old.

How is that even possible?

He doesn’t look 65. Thanks to a pretty rugged exercise regimen, he’s fitter than most men half his age.  He doesn’t sound 65. Shoot, when Spurrier is 95 he won’t SOUND 65.

Example: Somebody asked Spurrier if players got into trouble a lot more than they used to or was the media just reporting on it more?

“I think (player arrests) are common now because players are getting arrested for everything that in the old days they did not get arrested for. I can sort of remember back in our day, if you were out and something happened they would say: Can you get home? We’ll drive you home. They did not go into the tank that night. But nowadays, as we all know, you go straight to jail if you’ve broke the law. There’s no room for error. Times are a little different than they were 25, 30 years ago.”

It was vintage Spurrier and explains why, after all this time, he is still a favorite at SEC Media Days.

Now does he get off as many zingers as he used to at Florida? Nope.

 “I don’t think I’ve won enough games lately to have any outlandish quotes,” said Spurrier, who is 35-28 (18-22 SEC) in his first five seasons at South Carolina. “If you win a bunch of games, it’s pretty easy to give all the answers up here.”

 But the man still wins. He has taken the Gamecocks to bowl games four out of five seasons. The fact is that in the 100-plus year football history of the school, no other coach has won 35 games in a consecutive five-year period.

He may have been a little less bombastic than the old Spurrier on Thursday but he was, as always, painfully candid: He is far from satisfied where the South Carolina program is as he heads into year six.

“We hope to be a team that can compete for the SEC (championship) year in and year out,” he said. “That’s what you hope to be. We haven’t gotten there yet.”

But there is a sense that if Spurrier is going to finally make a breakthrough at South Carolina, the next two years represent that window of opportunity. Spurrier knows that it is going to be very difficult to out recruit Georgia, Florida and Tennessee on a consistent basis.

“The glamour schools are going to recruit all the top guys,” said Spurrier. “But what you got to hope and believe is that your (top) 40, 45 players can play with their 40 or 45 that are going to play that day. Then you got to hope and believe you can out-play them or make a play and eliminate mistakes, this, that and the other.”

Spurrier has been able to get some of those top drawer recruits in his last couple of classes. In the 2009 class wide receiver Alshon Jeffery and cornerback Stephon Gilmore could play for anybody. In this class everybody in the world wanted running back Marcus Lattimore. Defensive end Kelcy Quarles was a Parade All-American.

“We’ve got excellent players,” Spurrier said. “I think we’ve got the best group of athletes since we’ve been there. I know they have the best attitudes. Their work habits and so forth have been excellent. Now we need to get past seven wins. We need to win big at South Carolina.”

But the facts are that Spurrier was 5-3 in the SEC his first season at South Carolina, beating both Tennessee and Florida. He was 4-4 in 2008 and 3-5 the other three seasons. The Gamecocks have played in one New Year’s Day Bowl (Outback) with a 7-5 team, losing to Iowa.

And one has to wonder how much longer Spurrier, a man who enjoys winning but simply despises losing, wants to do this without winning big. He admits he had a gap in recruiting a few years ago but that the last three classes have been much better. He also had to weed out some bad attitudes in the program.

So he’s turned recruiting around, found his star defensive coordinator in Ellis Johnson, and will once more completely take over the play calling duties in practice and in the games this season. Spurrier talks like a man convinced he still has one good coaching run left in him.

“I’m always asked: How much longer are you going to coach? I always have the same answer:  Four or five years,” Spurrier said.  “I said that when I was 50. Four or five years.

“As we know, those years go fast. I’m pumped up about our team. I like our team.”

Consider where Spurrier now stands in the history of SEC football. His six SEC championships (his 1990 Florida team, he will remind you, finished first since the SEC but was not given the championship due to NCAA violations of the previous staff) are tied with Vince Dooley of Georgia and John Vaught of Ole for second on the all-time list. Paul W. Bryant won 14 championships, 1 at Kentucky and 13 at Alabama. Nobody is going to catch him.

But there still are some important goals left. With his second SEC victory this season, Spurrier will have 107 conference wins in his career. He will pass Dooley and Vaught on the all-time list and trail only Bryant, who won 159 SEC games.

He has 177 career wins in college football. Would he stick around long enough to win 23 games (probably four years) to reach the magic 200? Spurrier is already in the College Football Hall of Fame as a player. Getting to 200, with six SEC titles, one ACC championship (at Duke no less) and one national championship would probably put him into the Hall as a coach as well. There are only three other men who have done that: Bowden Wyatt, Bobby Dodd, and Amos “Alonzo” Stagg.

But you get the sense that Spurrier would give up all of those incredible numbers for a chance to win another conference championship. That is where his focus has always been. Win the SEC championship and everything else will take care of itself.

If Spurrier is going to make a run this season, there is little doubt that it will have to begin on Sept. 11 when South Carolina hosts Georgia in Columbia. I can’t tell you how huge that game is for both programs.

Spurrier wouldn’t bite on the importance of the Georgia game. He wanted to talk about the Sept. 2 opener with Southern Mississippi on a Thursday night.

The Head Ball Coach may have been a little subdued compared to previous years. But you just get the sense that he is not done—that there is still something left in the tank. I think we’ll find out on Sept. 11.

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Programming note: Our CSS Show, “Talkin’ Football” will wrap up our SEC Media Days coverage tonight at 6 p.m. Please check us out.

133 comments Add your comment

TheTaxJacket

July 23rd, 2010
8:22 am

*** NESBITT FOR HEISMEN ***

(((( 45 – 42 ))))

GeoffDawg

July 23rd, 2010
8:28 am

He’s gone from evil to eccentric in his older USC years. Just not the same ole Darth Visor.

Geoff

July 23rd, 2010
8:30 am

I couldn’t help but get the feeling the ole man is done. Didn’t see any fire behind those old eyes.

Chi Town eating at Crumpy Burgers

July 23rd, 2010
8:35 am

Where is Nachos?

How2fish

July 23rd, 2010
8:36 am

Who is Nesbitt??

david

July 23rd, 2010
8:39 am

The only reason Spurrier came back is to get a member of Augusta.

you have a man crush

July 23rd, 2010
8:40 am

tony, for the last 7 years, you and all your media buddies have been singing the same ole song about spurrier and south carolina…every year, typically around media day, EVERYONE picks USC to be the darkhorse in the east. Nobody did that when Lou Holtz was there….hmm……

USC is the graveyard of football coaches. You can’t recruit there….sorry, but it’s the truth.
Great fans, but Columbia is an armpit and this time of year, it is hotter than hades. I heard a rumor that people from columbia go to the equator to cool off during the summer time.

Looloo

July 23rd, 2010
8:42 am

You guys kiddin’ me? The old guy wants to win as bad as ever. He’s too smart to be running his mouth at this point. And if he doesn’t get too many injuries, the east better look out for him. Come on, leg humpers, start dissin’ him…..BEFORE the game !

Mobile DAWG

July 23rd, 2010
8:42 am

Who is Nesbitt?? Sounds like a pesty insect to me!!!

Starring Kam Fong as Chin Ho

July 23rd, 2010
8:48 am

I think a Nesbitt is a cookie made by those little elves isn’t it?

Beast from the East

July 23rd, 2010
8:50 am

To all you Dawgs that are dissin’ the Ole Ball Coach,
His South Carolina teams play UF tougher than your Richt coached Georgia teams. That is a FACT. And with recruiting classes ranked MUCH, MUCH lower. So based on the logic you guys are putting forth, who needs to hang it up? Thought so! Give the man his just due. He’s earned it.

Whoa Nellie

July 23rd, 2010
8:54 am

The Ol’ Ball Coach is just old. Looks like the SC curse has infected another great coach. It is almost like a fly-trap. It looks soooo inticing- the school, facilities, fan base, but then you enter and slow death occurs.

GTDog

July 23rd, 2010
8:58 am

Too funny…The TAXJACKET guy obviously has a slow schedule this time of the year with his job as Assistant Manager of the local H&R Block. Good spirit though, getting to work before 9AM, out of tax season, on a FRIDAY! Yeahhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!

GTDog

July 23rd, 2010
9:01 am

But I do have one question? I understand the (45-42..hahaha) posts LAST year. I guess I can, maybe, kiiiinda, a little bit, in a desperate kind of way, get them THIS year.

But what’s it gonna be next year? At that point do you have to start adding the date in there to remind yourself WHAT you’re posting about? You know (45-42 {2008}..hahaha)? Just wondering…

Whoa Nellie

July 23rd, 2010
9:01 am

TB-What is the latest with the South Beach PartyGate?? At this point several teams could unwillingly be on the NEW NCAA version of the South Beach Diet..And these are not the kind of pounds coaches want to be losing.

Mikey in SAV

July 23rd, 2010
9:03 am

SOS?
My Mama always told me if I couldn’t say something nice about someone to not say anything.

GeoffDawg

July 23rd, 2010
9:05 am

Nesbitt? Isn’t he that guy? You know who I mean – the guy with the shirt?

Worm

July 23rd, 2010
9:06 am

Ga.-carolina on the 11th will define each team’s season!..

Boogers are Salty

July 23rd, 2010
9:08 am

If Nesbitt wins the heisman… it will be because all other NCAA college football athletes were suspended due to agent/player infractions.

Wes

July 23rd, 2010
9:09 am

Tony,

I was wondering if you’ve read this article:
http://msn.foxsports.com/collegefootball/story/jason-whitlock-expose-ncaa-not-reggie-bush-072210
I thought it was over the top. It still had some interesting concepts.

Your thoughts?

JB

July 23rd, 2010
9:11 am

This is one Dawg fan who is keeping a close eye on that Second game in Columbia…..I think we’ll be fine on Offense. Murray won’t be asked to do any heavy lifting early in the year, he’ll have a great supporting cast, but the Defense is anybody’s guess……….I think we will be better coached, better prepared, but we just won’t know until we see. Lot’s of folks around the SEC think this may be Spurrier’s best team since he’s been there, and he’s laying low…

Lowcountry Bulldawg

July 23rd, 2010
9:12 am

1) Spurrier doenst run his mouth because he doesnt have the damn talent to back his mouth up. HELLO! This aint UF circa 1996.

2)He plays UF tough b/c he coaches harder that when probably more than any other week. Do you not think that outsdie of Clemson is the single most important game to him on the schedule? HELLO!

3) USC plays UGA so tough b/c of the amount of talent the state produces. Every year USC will sign 3-5 players out of the state that the “State” school has perceptionally “overlooked”. The “diamond in the rough” caliber players are more than motivated when the two schools get together. There respect teammates feed off of this, thus the game always playing so hotly contested.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

July 23rd, 2010
9:13 am

Coffee = typo’s

Whoa Nellie

July 23rd, 2010
9:15 am

Mr. College Football-At this point the only “Run” left in the Ole’ Ball Coach may be in his pantyhose. Coach definitely does not have the same fire in his belly that seems to stoke the great ones these days..sad..Wrong job..Timing just didn’t work out-He could have been at LSU, Tennessee, Alabama or Auburn..Wonder which ball coach we would be seeing. I would bet it would have been a circa mid-90’s version-witty, sarcastic and motivated version.

dawgdammit

July 23rd, 2010
9:16 am

nachos is in the toilet…where else would you look for that little sht?

LowerTheDrinkingAge

July 23rd, 2010
9:16 am

Attitudes have changed. College kids today can no longer get away with the very same things that their parents and older generations got away with in college. And student/athletes suffer the greatest from this shift because, for some reason, we seem to hold them to the highest standard (because we’ve endowed them scholarships to perform for our pleasure). Zero Tolerance = Zero Common Sense. I seem to recall a discussion on this very subject not too long ago on this blog.

Chi Town Loser

July 23rd, 2010
9:18 am

Hey Chi Town, roll over and take a look next to you. Nachos is the fat slob you were spooning with all morning.

Atlanta Jackets

July 23rd, 2010
9:18 am

Nesbot the Robot, he’s the guy that just scored ANOTHER TOUCHDOWN on UGAy!!

Burn!

zeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee Nachos

July 23rd, 2010
9:20 am

Chi town loser – that’s pretty funny….. go dawwwwgs right ???

7-5 redneck deal with it.

JB

July 23rd, 2010
9:21 am

I’ll say this about Tech……The country’s leading rushing team laying 39 yards of offense in the first half on Iowa in their bowl game was something to see….Whew……

Chi Town

July 23rd, 2010
9:24 am

Ha! Ha!

I own all u mutts. Can tell Im getting under that skin a little.

Just remember this……..

What’s that coming down the track?
The NCAA in Red and Black.
Ain’t nothing finer in the land,
than a drunk,fat,redneck,obnoxious Jawja fan(with red pants on)!

Go Dawgs, Sic ‘em! Woof Woof Woof!

Whoa Nellie

July 23rd, 2010
9:29 am

LowerThe DrinkingAge-You are correct..Things are no longer gently wept under the rug. In today’s society, these players/athletes need to realize that not only are they targeted by the coaches/schools for the talent on the field, they are also targeted by a slew of various and assundry folks off the field-including: wanna-be instant media hounds, opportunistic fans, other college students who’s goal is to provoke this athlete into situations, criminals and other crazy characters that our society is soo adept at producing these days.

Joey

July 23rd, 2010
9:32 am

Spurrier used to drive me crazy with his winning, bragging, and rubbing UGA’s nose in it all. I still think he lacks some class.

The SOB knows how to win though. He never cheated, or sold his soul, in order to win it all, something a LOT of great college coaches had to resort to, in order to win it all – aw, alright I’ll name some names (remember I said cheated and/or sold their soul) – Barry Switzer, Danny Ford, Jackie Sherill, Lou Holtz, Bobby Bowden, Gene Stallings, Pete Carroll, et al.

Brian

July 23rd, 2010
9:32 am

Can someone explain to me why everytime I read one of these blogs there is a Tech fan reminding us of a score that happened two seasons ago? Honestly that says a lot about a program that had a BCS team which lost to its biggest rival and still wants to talk about 2008. I doubt that bothers and UGA fans, but it sure makes the Tech ones look foolish.

GTDog

July 23rd, 2010
9:33 am

Chi Town

I like the little rhyme. If you’d chill and cut a few words from the last line you’d have a neat little diddy. Then, see if you can add one more stanza as good as the edited first. Get back to us with the changes…

SecGuy

July 23rd, 2010
9:34 am

South Carolina will be improved relative to last year and will be more dangerous to anyone they play though it’s hard to pick them to win the division. They catch Georgia at a good time. Georgia’s new defense will not be as sound early in the season as it will be later. I can see them winning 9 games and with some breaks, possibly more.

1eyedJack

July 23rd, 2010
9:35 am

Ain’t gonna happen. Darth Visor and the Evil Empire finishes third in the east. Just not enough depth and they fade late in the season. Like always.

Mike

July 23rd, 2010
9:35 am

SC will win 8 or 9 games, and finish second in the east this year with wins over UGa, Tenn.

GTDog

July 23rd, 2010
9:36 am

Brain-Please see the 9:01AM post to understand where their going with the 2008 score thing…

innocent bystander

July 23rd, 2010
9:38 am

When SS beat UT and Florida his first year at SC I thought oh no here we go.. VInce Dooley was the last UGA coach to beat them both in one year. Hard to believe Coach Dooley has been gone that long.

Chi Town

July 23rd, 2010
9:42 am

Thanks, GTDog!

I appreciate the feedback. Just hard to leave out the red pants part bc its so cool. I’ll continue to focus on this for the remainder of the day and follow back up with you before 5.

GTDog

July 23rd, 2010
9:44 am

Chi Town-

Well, I think you can keep the red pants part in parenthesis, it’s not included in the rhyme. You just have too many words BEFORE the word “fan” in the lasr line…

PMC

July 23rd, 2010
9:50 am

Spurrier is a fantastic football coach. Does he have a run in him sure he does. The question is “Does he have a run in him at South Carolina”?

No I don’t think so, not without getting a quarterback who is capable of much more focus than the guys they have had.

They have terrific skill position players now, the other issue is that he can’t keep any of his best players in school long enough to really get the depth they need.

South Carolina just doesn’t have the numbers they need to sustain success. It’s not Spurrier’s fault. It’s Geography.

Mel Gibson's #1 fan

July 23rd, 2010
9:50 am

Hey GTDog – are you gay? Who else would take time out of their day to correct someone’s posts on a message board. Now run along nerd boy… your XBOX is waiting for you. P.S. 7-5 loser.

RomeDawg

July 23rd, 2010
9:51 am

No. His offense at Florida was based on his ability to “out athlete” everyone. That won’t happen at South Carolina. USC stands for U Suck Coach!

Evil Genius

July 23rd, 2010
10:07 am

————————–
Nesbitt for Heisman
————————–

GTDog

July 23rd, 2010
10:08 am

Hey MEL GIBSON’S #1 FAN! I’m sorry, but no, I’m not gay. And I don’t think Mel Gibson is either, is he? Man, a bad night for you all around. Better luck elsewhere…

5IML

July 23rd, 2010
10:17 am

S. Carolina is a coaching graveyard. But I do enjoy the Ol Ball Coach’s witty comments.

What’s the big deal with beating UT and Florida in the same year?

McDawg

July 23rd, 2010
10:21 am

I’m glad we get these guys early particularly this year-they look to have another stout D

DAWG Colonel

July 23rd, 2010
10:23 am

Love him or hate him, Spurrier is a true football statesman. He probably gets the most out of the least since Bear Bryant.

Unfortunately, he is in the SEC East. He may have one or two miracle seasons left but it takes a lifetime to change cultures and SC just doesn’t have it. But, I salute him for doing something there that no one has ever done before.

I’ll be watching on Sept. 11th and I expect the Dawgs to win a close one but I won’t be to surprised if SC wins. I have learned that you can never underestimate Spurrier. He is a winner in every aspect.