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

wufskins

July 23rd, 2010
10:24 am

As long as Garcia is his QB, they will be no better than a 6 or 7 win team.

AltamahaDawg

July 23rd, 2010
10:26 am

Was that a Robot Role call?

Dumbo

July 23rd, 2010
10:26 am

Atlanta Jackets & Nachos….guess what, I’m the APD that’s having both of your cars towed from in front of that favorite Tech watering hole…Swinging Richards….hah!!!!

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

July 23rd, 2010
10:28 am

Spurrier will always be remembered in the SEC and his short stint in the NFL. But lets face it, his career is slowly fading and maybe has 2-3 years left. USC will never be able to top the SEC East with UGA, UF, & UT.

Miles

July 23rd, 2010
10:46 am

South Carolina, Cal, and Clemson are, every year, the teams that are going to surprise the nation, but inevitably they don’t. Hopefully, the Spurrier proves us wrong this year.

Bear

July 23rd, 2010
11:17 am

He can’t win big there. No one can.

Mike the Tiger

July 23rd, 2010
11:26 am

Crimes have gotten worse, coach: armed robbery, stomping an off-duty cop, hit and run, beating up girlfriends, and, of course, drunk driving with naked women.

Paul "ManBoobs" Johnson

July 23rd, 2010
12:02 pm

Atlanta Jacket — The next “TOUCHDOWN” that “Nesbot the Robot” scores against “UGAy” will be his first…..he has NEVER entered the endzone against “UGAy”….ever…..go look at the box scores loser…..0 TDs for “Robot” in all three games

By the way, I think the last time I used “burn!” I was 10. Nice.

SOGADOG

July 23rd, 2010
12:04 pm

Bulldawgs beware. If Spurrier can find a productive running back South Carolina will be dangerous.

from a UGA man, class of 71 & 73

July 23rd, 2010
12:06 pm

I will say that for all of but maybe 4 or 5 games with Florida, over the last 20 years, UGA has gone into the game thinking that we were are going to get beat. Enough said. They are tough until Florida hits a big one, then they usually slide into the negative mentality tank.

I know that to compete at that high level is tough but UGA does sign plenty of quality players. The thing is that Dooley with inferior kids ( for the most part, having to do with overall team speed ) would go into that game with a quiet confidence. It accelerated with the many years. Dooley understood that game was THE GAME. Things change over the years.

I think that today’s UGA coaches look at the season ( privately ) and hope that “well, if we only lose one to them and they maybe lose two, we can still “back into the SEC EAST thing. That is my humble opinion adn i am sure the UGA coaoches would reject that from a competitive standpoint.

Facts are that UGA needs to win about 5 or 6 of the next 12-15 years to fright this ship. Hell, I am 61.

If UGA wins this year, that will make it about 4 or 5 wins over the last 11 or 12 years and that is not so bad, given Florida’s successes. Am I wrong? Who else vs Florida over that same period has a better record? Hmmmmmmmm?? Let’s get on with it and start a new trend. Urban will be in rehab again anyway and they might have some down years, where we could do some damage.
Dad was a Gator too. Damn.

Go Dogs

GTax

July 23rd, 2010
12:13 pm

Yes Tony, the Head Ball Coach is going to do quite well this year.

Just watch. I am by no means a USCe fan at all but one doesn’t have to be a complete idiot to see that it’s only a matter of time before Spurrier makes his move.

I am feeling it this year and next year.

Go Jackets!

GT

July 23rd, 2010
12:13 pm

Paul Johnston reminds me a lot of Spurrier. Always underestimated, always out there somewhere but never welcomed to the table. They are geniuses at what they do and remind the rest of us how little we know about the game of football especially these so call experts that make a living at it. The season starts and every guru will look at Georgia’s schedule and skip over South Carolina like they are Vanderbilt. The game is played early every year and is a nail biter until the last minute, Georgia usually squeaks out a win and the next week is playing someone the press likes and this escape is quickly forgotten, leaving South Carolina looking like Vanderbilt or an easy win one more season. I am guessing this is the year Spurrier gets those two or three yards he needs to win. The press must think so too because they are actually giving him some due respect and don’t want egg on their face.

Mel Gibson's #1 Fan

July 23rd, 2010
12:15 pm

I NEED A WOMAN !!!!!!!!!!!

GTDog = very witty for a UGAG fan

Gator88

July 23rd, 2010
12:22 pm

Spurrier is done. I am suprised he didn’t quit last year. I loved him when he was at UF but in retrospect leaving in 2002 was a blessing-after we got rid of Zook. Spurrier was IT when he entered the SEC in 90 at age 45 but the game, the level of coaching, the hours of coaching that are required have all passed him by. Is he above averague-sure. Is he top 20….not so sure. Go Gators…….

Spike

July 23rd, 2010
12:23 pm

Spurrier was a great coach in his day. But his day is gone, and he is washed up. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

Hank

July 23rd, 2010
12:31 pm

Spurrier has proven to simply be a beneficiary of superiror talent at Florida.

He just can’t coach.

Always gets 7 wins a year at South Carolina.

If he could coach, he could win with 1 star players.

if you don't know Nesbitt...

July 23rd, 2010
12:34 pm

then you don’t know Jack…..NESBITT FOR HESIMAN

secondguesser

July 23rd, 2010
12:35 pm

GEEZZZ……………………Those beat downs sure left a mark on the leghumpers!!!! This guy won a championship at DUKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And he can’t coach?!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You people are STUUUUUUUUUUPID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

if you don't know Nesbitt...

July 23rd, 2010
12:36 pm

then you don’t know Jack..Nesbitt for Heisman

Spike

July 23rd, 2010
12:45 pm

Nesbitt idiot.. if we agree Nesbitt for Heisman, as idiotic as that is, will you give it a rest?

Dawg H8R

July 23rd, 2010
12:48 pm

If MarkRicht could coach,he’d win with 1 star players.
For now,he gets by with 4 and 5 star players!

Noisewater,UT fell below USC years ago.That’s why
Fat Phil Fulmer got run off.USC is a top recruiting
class(or two) away from being at the top.Has Jawja
been using Larry Munson to play for them?

Kids go to USC to play for a Hall of Fame coach,to
actually be coached AND required to go to class.

Tony,I’m surprised to even read this on Spurrier
and USC.UGA and ALA must be closed today.

I remember you laughing at USC,on tv and radio.
Doesn’t that make it harder for USC and easier for
Jawja?

Miles

July 23rd, 2010
10:46 am
South Carolina, Cal, and Clemson are, every year, the teams that are going to surprise the nation, but inevitably they don’t. Hopefully, the Spurrier proves us wrong this year.

Unlike Jawja,those SCHOOLS recruit STUDENT-ATHLETES.Jawja recruits
dummies.Period.

Bill

July 23rd, 2010
12:50 pm

I don’t think Spurrier is that nice of a guy but if you love college football then you gotta love Spurrier.

Tide Rising

July 23rd, 2010
1:19 pm

I used to hate Spurrier with a passion back in the 90s when he was ruling the SEC. In the last several years I’ve found myself to be one of his biggest fans. I guess it started with his constant needling of phat phil. The guy always has a good quip, his game face demeanors are downright hilarious at times, how can you not like the guy? Unless you’re a dawg or vol fan of course.

Would like to see him win the east for once for Carolina and compete for the SEC. This may be his best and only chance to do it. The east was always kinda boring just being mostly a one horse race with Florida and sometimes a 2 or 3 team race. But it was never more than a 2-3 team race ever in any given year. Would be great if Carolina could put together a run and make it interesting for once.

Damon Good Dog Evans

July 23rd, 2010
1:44 pm

I love the smell of red panties in the morning

Dawg H8R

July 23rd, 2010
1:57 pm

Appreciate that Tide Rising.You’re not Tony Barnhart are you?
How about Chris Smelley?

mike mooney,joe hamilton,reuben houston,robert hall,8outof9,nerdsnerdsnerds

July 23rd, 2010
1:58 pm

Tech traditions-gotta love them

SEC FAN

July 23rd, 2010
2:03 pm

No one in this league should ever underestimate the “old Ball Coach”, especially Richt and UGA. Spurrier ain’t dead yet, no matter how many of you say or think he is.

Tide Rising

July 23rd, 2010
2:13 pm

DawgH8R,

Chris Smelley? I heard he’s doing okay on our baseball team. I guess he just didn’t have what Spurrier needs in a qb and transferred back to Bama to be closer to his brother and play baseball which is probably what he should have done all along. Funny thing is that if he had stayed at Carolina and just concentrated on baseball he would have a national championship ring. Ironic huh?

You would have to be one tough and thick skinned kid to be a qb under Spurrier. I remember Spurrier used to yank a qb if he made just one errant pass or poor play. And of course he would have his usual scowl or throw the visor when that qb did screw up. Anyway, I’m hoping he gets it done this year except of course when we come calling. BTW, I have the Carolina game as the most likely game that we get upset in.

Dawg H8R

July 23rd, 2010
2:23 pm

Tide Rising,Columbia will be electric when you
guys come here. Try the BBQ at Bessingers,Hudson’s.
There are a few more,I’ll drop the names later. Tell Saban
to be ready,because I really think the toughest games
for us will be ALA and AUB.

I really thought Smelley was playing well 2 years ago,his
numbers were good.Maybe behind the scenes there was
something said to him,and he couldn’t handle it.I didn’t
want to see him go.

5IML

July 23rd, 2010
2:30 pm

H8R,

I was in Columbia a few years ago for the Troy game and had a great time. I know it will be even more electric for the BAMA game. Hopefully, we, BAMA fans, will feel like partying into the wee hours of the night that Saturday.

Tide Rising

July 23rd, 2010
2:47 pm

DawgH8R,

I went to Columbia 3 years ago for the Thursday night game with AU which was ranked #1 at the time. My two best friends just happen to be Aubbies and one of them had tickets so we drove over, tailgated, saw the game. Had a great time and yes it was an electric atmosphere. Night games in the SEC always have that special feel. I’ll always remember it not just cause we had a great time but because its the only game I’ve ever seen where one team had the ball the entire quarter. Au got the ball in the 3rd qtr, scored, did an onsides and got it back. 2 long drives that consumed all of 15 minutes and SC never had the ball the entire qtr. Extremely unusual. Don’t know that I’ll ever see that again in my life. Was also a close game that went down to the wire 24-17 AU.

Dawg RR

July 23rd, 2010
4:13 pm

Spurrier doesn’t have the talent to ever win at USC—they may finish 2nd or 3rd in the east, but that’s it. They’ll get blown out by Georgia and Florida and lose 2 more games and end up in another minor bowl.

juice sourcer

July 23rd, 2010
4:17 pm

Going to bowl games means nothing…everyone does…winning 35 in 5 years for the 1st time…well, they play a 12 game or 13 game schedule….South Carolina is and always will be one of the most pathetic college football programs even with the great Steve Spurrier.

juice sourcer

July 23rd, 2010
4:27 pm

Another thing…how do teams like TCU, Utah, Boise State develop big time national programs and SC can’t. One reason is that Columbia, SC sucks as a town…errr…city…Athens, Clemson, etc. are cool towns to go to school at or you can choose a great city like Atlanta or Miami…Columbia ain’t got nothing to offer a big time recruit…except getting beat more times than not. Loser school, horrible city…I was there on business the other day and I though I had gone to hell it was so hot….they do have a lot of wing joints and barbeque joints that may attract the great high school ball players though.

Columbia

July 23rd, 2010
4:30 pm

You saw it here first:

South Carolina 31
Georgia 24

It will be glorious, stomping our hobnail boots in the dawgs’ face.

Sally M

July 23rd, 2010
4:33 pm

SC will put a serious hurt on Georgia this year and knock them into 3rd place in the division!

Evan

July 23rd, 2010
4:54 pm

If he had stayed at UF all this time, he would have come very close to surpassing bryant.

JP

July 23rd, 2010
4:57 pm

Dawgs you better hope Grantham finds someone that can slow down Alshon Jeffrey or it might be a long day in Columbia for your defense. I gurantee Spurrier will have this team fired up and ready on Sept 11th.

Spike

July 23rd, 2010
5:19 pm

How come my posts are getting blocked?

UGA_Alum_93

July 23rd, 2010
5:36 pm

Chicken Curse will keep him from it. 110+ years of losing in Columbia and a washed up 60+ year old coach isn’t going to change that…just ask Lou Holtz.

Spurrier is SO overrated.

July 23rd, 2010
6:21 pm

Since the SEC figured out his pass happy offense, he has declined. Look at the records. Most of his SEC championships came in the first half of his FL tenure. What the F has he done since at Wash or SC.

And the FL thing was a joke. 6-5 in bowls. Are you serious?

dawgone

July 23rd, 2010
6:26 pm

UGA has had “best” recruits in country for past umpteen years but can’t do diddly squat on the field. Their redneck fans haven’t got anything better to do than piss their pants over what USC might do to them year after year. USC are current National Champs and UGA just another also ran. Quit your whimpering and whining, fire all your coaches, send all your players to jail where they belong and come back to reality. UGA is just what thr reporter from the Orlando Sentinel said; “the most overrated program in the country.” Sorry

P City

July 23rd, 2010
7:39 pm

Nope, Spurrier doesn’t have 1 year left. South Carolina is like the Browns in the NFL, Bill Billacheck coudn’t turn around a losing mentality. If Lou Holtz, master energizer, couldn’t ressurrect the program, then nobody can.

Spurrier just seems like a cynical, megative cry baby. Always whing about his team. It obviously isn’t effective, but he keeps on doing it.

dawgone

July 23rd, 2010
8:11 pm

P City is an idiot. Lou Holz and USC had back to back wins in the Outback Bowl over Ohio State which, by the way, went on to win the National Championship the following year. What USC doesn’t have is a bunch of cheaters like OSU and other teams that regularly win big. USC has been winning over the past 10 years but hasn’t broken through to the top level. The reason this hasn’t happened is because Carolina’s recruit ranking has generally been around 25th or worse. You can’t recruit big until you win big and it’s a viscious cycle. This all boils down to high schoolers who want instant gratification and stardom. Holz and Spurrier have down the best that could be done with lesser recruits while almighty Georgia on the other hand has taken the best recruits year in and year out and then they suck on the field. Thats because you had an AD who was out drinking and driving like the rest of your sorry university. Face the facts you idiots. You are losers and always will be while USC is taking the next step. They are national champs in baseball. Where was terrific Georgia? Home watching on tv with a drink in hand most likely. Face it, your glory days are over and you are fiddling while Athens burns.

Dawgboy

July 23rd, 2010
8:20 pm

Yeah, he’s got another big run or two in him. Unfortunately for us. Don’t feel good about our game at all. They are going to be fired up and we will be there with our new QB and a defense that I think Spurrier is probably licking his chops over already only because the scheme is so new. Definitely got more life in the Ol’ Ball Coach.

Dawgdom

July 23rd, 2010
8:20 pm

I wish we would loose some of our fans. I am embarrassed by many who underestimate SSpurrier. Probably the under 30 crowd who run their mouths all the time.

Paul ( You doesn't have to call me Johnson)

July 23rd, 2010
8:47 pm

Spurrier is a great coach. If he were still at Florida he would have 3 National Championships. How many coaches actually leave their Alma Mater to coach at a rival University? This has to be a real embarrassment to the Florida Gators. It’s no wonder Gator Fans have so much animosity towards other teams in the SEC.

UGA_Alum_93

July 23rd, 2010
9:15 pm

Yeah right Dawggone we have done nothing in recent years. How ’bout 3 BCS Bowls in the 2000’s and #3 finish in 2002 and #2 finish in 2007. How ’bout South Cackalacki? In fact, your greatest year in your pathetic history was 1984 and even that year you didn’t finish in the top 10. How pathetic is that….NOT EVEN A TOP 10 FINISH IN YOUR HIIIISSSSSSTTTTTTOOOOORRRRRRYYYYYYY. Just give up South Carolina and keep polishing that 1969 ACC Championship trophy.

polskidawg

July 23rd, 2010
9:43 pm

“Does Spurrier have one more big run left in him?” – No.

At least, not at USC. He’s done remarkably well there, but with little in-state talent and little history of success, USC will likely never be a year-to-year contender.

UF, UA, AU, LSU, UT and UGA have no excuse for not being contenders every year.

dawgone

July 23rd, 2010
10:15 pm

UGA Alum 93 probably didn’t ever graduate from Dawgville that’s why you parade your moniker around like a big fat dawg turd around your redneck. The only big season UGA had was while you were still in diapers and I never said I was rooting for USC I was just stating facts about Spurrier and his team. And your big season as was pointed out by Mike Bianchi was all due to a fluke play.