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

Dawgdom

July 23rd, 2010
10:16 pm

polskidawg, he is loaded this year & we need to respect that and be concerned. Agree, year after year he won’t get the talent. He has it now, however.

Dawgdom

July 23rd, 2010
10:19 pm

Are you 12, dawgone? And, Bianchi is credible? Get lost. Past your bed time

GayGrayGeek

July 23rd, 2010
10:35 pm

Dawg H8R – We used to live on the east side of Columbia near Spring Valley H.S., and lovedLovedLOVED Little Pigs B-B-Q on Alpine Rd. at Percival. I heard they had a fire earlier this year – did they ever reopen? ‘Cause if they did, and you want some GOOOOOOOOOOOOD ‘cue, head over close to Ft. Jackson.

college football

July 23rd, 2010
11:42 pm

Tax Jacket your an yellow idiot, just like your school.

uuugh

July 24th, 2010
1:57 am

I love Steve Spurrier…he is good for College Football. He is good for the Sports Page. He is an outstanding offensive coach. I worry about SC when they get a good DC. Ellis Johnson might be the man…and as a UGA fan that sucks to think about!

I know that Spurrier will always put more effort into beating UGA than any other school. The two school’s proximity and the familiarity between players will keep the USC UGA game close forever. How in THE hell USC plays UF tougher than UGA is beyond me.

After watching Spurrier put up 50 on us in Athens…just because he could, I love to watch him lose. I love to watch him struggle. I love to watch him get angry.

None the less he is good for College Football.

Dawgonit

July 24th, 2010
4:21 am

We didn’t see Kenny Miles (GA. boy), Alshon Jeffrey (superstar in the making) or Lattimore last year. It will be totally different than the team that put 37 on us last year-better. Culliver, Auguste, Matthews, Abijoye and Robertson should keep Bobo up at night. They have Sapp and Robertson coming off of injuries to offset the loss of Norwood. Won’t be surprised to see USC win and win big. Lots of pent up frustration. Oh, and Lakatos was the beneficiary of 12 documented drops in the pizza bowl on that ice cold day. He won’t be so lucky in September.

That OL that has been so bad just has to be better. Hellsbells they are all seniors.

EgginDawg

July 24th, 2010
5:41 am

No matter what year it is S. Carolina fans claim “this is the year”. Call me whatever you want but until you actually do something, ANYTHING, then keep your mouth shut. SOS has proven he was a great coach. I haven’t seen ANYTHING since he got to Columbia that proves he is one now. Every year USuC pins all of the hopes and dreams on beating GA and almost every year they fail. We haven’t been great lately, but still good enough to beat Cackalaky. Is that something to really brag about?

j

July 24th, 2010
9:23 am

spurrier got the runs? :) doggammitt what’d he eat over there in south carolina?

I bet it was one of them fancy seafood restaurants.

spurrier is done. not enough horses.

Lame name goes here

July 24th, 2010
11:13 am

Hmmm so the”thug” Players are no different than players from before. Just get away with less. Who would have thunk it!?

Call IT

July 24th, 2010
3:05 pm

Most of you are MORONS as you would gladly have Spurrier as your head coach and yet all you want to do is bash the guy.

BTW, the guy backs up what he says. I would gladly have him coach my kid and have him as a head coach again at Florida! He is a true WINNER!

Enough Said!

messin with sasquatch

July 24th, 2010
4:55 pm

how can we change the subject to uga? hmmmm

Hey Joey

July 24th, 2010
6:24 pm

Joey says, “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.”
Hey Joey…Vince Dooley!!!

Hey Joey

July 24th, 2010
6:28 pm

So glad you puppies got Richt, average coach at best, instead of Spurrier, great coach! It would be impossible to stand all the bragging and woofing about all your SEC and national championships he would’ve won for you in the same time frame.

Florida Dawg

July 25th, 2010
12:19 am

If Spurrier could recruit at South Carolina he would be in the hunt every year and would have already won an SEC Championship.
SC does not have the pull that he had at UF…for him, it’s the program.
If he where at UGA or Tenn, he would have already won an SEC Championship and most likely a National Championship. If he was at Vandy or let’s say, Miss State..he would be where he is today.
Sadly, he can beat UGA any year coaching at a school that is not on our level.
He has proven he can get it done.

Scaley Dog

July 25th, 2010
1:23 am

To paraphrase the Channel 2 News Team, “I hate you Steve Spurrier, but By God, I respect you.”

Lumpkin Street Larry

July 25th, 2010
8:47 am

May South Carolina should go into the minor leagues and join the ACC. But wait…do they play football?

Shadrach

July 25th, 2010
10:00 am

Wow, Tony. Waxing nostalgic? Does Carolina have any returning starters on the OL? Any replacements for the Brinkley’s? It just doesn’t look like he’s got a fully complemented team with depth and experience anywhere except the skill positions. That’s not a recipe for a successful season in college football.

POAD

July 25th, 2010
11:53 am

Steve has a lot of runs in him. Like to the john as he gets older and to the golf course. In football not so many.

Paul Has A Small Johnson

July 25th, 2010
2:12 pm

Nesbit for heisman

That says it all about the stupidity of Tech fans or should I say delusional Tech fans

Delbert D.

July 25th, 2010
6:14 pm

I don’t buy the fade late in the season this year. They have some quality young guys in the 2-deep. They can win 5 of the last 7. Florida looks like a loss, and pick Arkansas or Clemson for the other.

hop

July 25th, 2010
6:30 pm

ole steve is a “has been” he has not won anything since he left florida,with total failures at washington and now with carolina.

he is just drawing a huge salary and his record at carolina is about the same as all other wanna bees that have tried their hand at usc.
this year will be no different, they might beat uga,but they will lose later on as the season progresses since they have little depth!

Delbert D.

July 25th, 2010
6:39 pm

Questions about returning players. Arkansas and South Carolina are #2 and #3 in the nation with 83.10% of lettermen returning.

Other schools of interest (contenders):
#10 UNC 78.00%
#16 Ga. Tech 77.10%
#51 Clemson 71.80%
#52 Miami 71.80%
#55 Auburn 71.40%
#63 FSU 70.50%
#90 Georgia 66.20%

Source: Phil Steele

Auburn Man

July 25th, 2010
6:44 pm

I cannot imagine spending as much time on Bama posts as these looser Tech boys do on UGA posts. I guess when they have nothing to look forward to they’re just frustrated. Kinda like they were in school, bunch a boys with no dates.

Delbert D.

July 25th, 2010
6:45 pm

That post was accidentally truncated (missed the 2nd column):

Questions about returning players. Arkansas and South Carolina are #2 and #3 in the nation with 83.10% of lettermen returning.

Other schools of interest (SEC-ACC contenders):
#10 UNC 78.00%
#16 Ga. Tech 77.10%
#51 Clemson 71.80%
#52 Miami 71.80%
#55 Auburn 71.40%
#59 LSU 70.80%
#63 FSU 70.50%
#90 Georgia 66.20%
#101 VaTech 63.90%
#105 Florida 63.60%
#109 Alabama 63.10%

Who was #1? Boise State 91.70%, 20 of 22 starters.
Source: Phil Steele

Delbert D.

July 25th, 2010
6:49 pm

Hmmm…this is a Spurrier/South Carolina post.

The rival feces-slinging baboon tribes migrate to any blog, no matter what the subject is.

Auburn Man

July 25th, 2010
6:56 pm

Well you are correct. However I see more Dogs than anyone else here, on an AJC article so…I do stand corrected but the my point is still valid.

RedandBlack

July 25th, 2010
7:01 pm

Ball coach reminds me of the old saying, “keep your friends close but keep your enemies closer.” I like him over at SC but I sure don’t want him getting our recruits. Any kind of talent and he’ll ruin somebody’s day or even year.

Jesse James

July 25th, 2010
9:46 pm

I hope he stays in for a while longer. I love to beat him. He is good for college football and the job he did at Duke is one of the greatest college football stories there is.

Atlanta Gator

July 27th, 2010
12:14 pm

Spurrier is already a shoe-in for the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach. The minimum requirements are 10 seasons and a .600 winning percentage. He’s got that covered and then some.

As we all know, Spurrier is already in the Hall for his exploits as a player. The double induction as a coach is merely gilding the lily anyway.

Ed

August 2nd, 2010
2:05 pm

RE: “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.”

———————————————-

Those aren’t ‘diamond in the rough’ type players. That’s not the correct phrase to describe players who were overlooked. If they were diamonds, they wouldn’t have been overlooked, get it? Under-the-radar would’ve been more appropriate.

[...] View the original article here Posted in Uncategorized [...]

Slamiejate

August 4th, 2010
8:44 pm

“The Head (Ol’) Ball Coach?”

Please, for goodness sake, stop using his self-assigned title. Call him Steve. As in Stevie wonder why he is still coaching.

Spurrier has not done a thing since the mid-1990s. He had a shot at the NC in 2001 and lost at home to UT. That’s right, he LOST his last SEC game AT HOME to UT when the NC was on the line. CYa Stevie.

He then quit, went to the NFL and revealed himself as the coach that he is…overrated.

He then was fired, yup fired, by the Skins and ended up at Carolina where he has produced exactly…. squat.

I have been telling you USC-G fans that the sooner you get rid of that bum the sooner you can move on. He will not produce for you. Never.

Slamiejate

August 4th, 2010
8:50 pm

I am not sure what the ratio below means. Does it mean their players are not ready to head to the NFL?

Experience (my fourth year here) does not equal talent. BSU, btw, could not stand a season in the SEC. Look at the depth chart and size. lol.

——————————————-
That post was accidentally truncated (missed the 2nd column):

Questions about returning players. Arkansas and South Carolina are #2 and #3 in the nation with 83.10% of lettermen returning.

Other schools of interest (SEC-ACC contenders):
#10 UNC 78.00%
#16 Ga. Tech 77.10%
#51 Clemson 71.80%
#52 Miami 71.80%
#55 Auburn 71.40%
#59 LSU 70.80%
#63 FSU 70.50%
#90 Georgia 66.20%
#101 VaTech 63.90%
#105 Florida 63.60%
#109 Alabama 63.10%

Who was #1? Boise State 91.70%, 20 of 22 starters.
Source: Phil Steele