With the sounds coming from the USC practice fields of coaches screaming, and athlete’s scrambling to get it right, you would think that it was late August, not early June. But a quick check of the thermometer sets the record straight.
Sweat was the prominent product for the football campers and coaches alike. The stifling heat rose above 90 degrees, as the recruits put all efforts into either solidifying their early reputations, or trying to make a name for themselves.
Right in the middle of it all was the Gamecocks head football coach, Steve Spurrier. While most head coaches make quick cameos before and/or after the mini-camps, especially the big name coaches, the Head Ball Coach had been there every minute of each camp.
What’s more, he isn’t up in some tower, overlooking the entire process. SOS was right there in the mix of the drills, showing by example and teaching the young prospects exactly how they should do it.
He brings something to the table few other head coaches can, the time and experience of playing the quarterback position at its highest level. He won the Heisman Trophy as the all-everything quarterback at the University of Florida in 1966. So, when the ole ball coach jumps in and actually shows his guys how to do it, they pay strict attention.
He hasn’t just done it on the field, either. He won six conference championships and the 1996 national championship as a head coach.
So you will have to excuse my bewilderment, over a few short weeks ago, when newspaper, magazine and internet articles came out everywhere proclaiming that Steve Spurrier was ready to hang it up, because he had handed off the play calling duties to his son, Steve Spurrier Jr.
I read article after article, where the writers would state that “The Ole Ball Coach was close to hanging it up.” They wrote these ridiculous statements, even after he had said many times that he was doing this to allow him more time to work specifically with his offense, and especially with the quarterbacks.
He also gave a stable of reasoning, anchored by the fact that Steve Jr. had coached with him for more than 11 years, and knew exactly, by this point, what he wanted to do offensively.
Coach Spurrier also spoke in detail about having to work extensively with the defense and the special teams last season, and how he looked up one day and realized that he was doing everything. It was at that point, that he understood how it caused his offense to suffer.
So he made all of the necessary corrections during the offseason, in hiring arguably the best Special Teams Coordinator in the nation, coach Ray Rychleski. He also made an excellent hire in Defensive Coordinator Ellis Johnson, to oversee his defenders.
Having competent coaches to oversee the play calling, special teams and the defense will give coach Spurrier plenty of time to work expansively with his offense.
But if any of you guys have any doubts as to who is going to be running the Gamecock offense, you need only to take a quick look out on the practice fields over the last couple of minicamps.
It is very evident that the Head Ball Coach still loves coaching up close and personal, and he is nowhere near ready to just sit out on the front porch.