Always the Joker, Steve Spurrier Silenced by The Dark Night in Tennessee

tre wellsCorrespondent INovember 1, 2009

KNOXVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 31:  Head coach Lane Kiffen of the Tennessee Volunteers watches against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Neyland Stadium on October 31, 2009 in Knoxville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Steve Spurrier didn’t have much too say in the postgame press conference following Saturday night’s loss to the Tennessee Volunteers.

And that’s saying something.

The man who used to not be able to wait to play Tennessee and fire off jabs at the good 'ole boy running the show must have left Knoxville feeling he had just been beaten by his doppelganger.

With the Volunteers taking to the field for warmups in their patented orange jerseys, the joker of the SEC must have felt that everything was pretty quiet on the front.

Perhaps a little too quiet.

As the Vols came back to the field for the start of the game, they raced from the tunnels donning black jerseys. It was the first time since 1921 Tennessee had worn black jerseys, their team color, before it changed to orange a year later.

The crowd of 96,000 erupted.

You could have cut the energy with a knife, in your own living room. It exploded from the stadium and into our dens with a movie-theatre feel sans the $12 ticket price.

The beginning of Spurrier’s demise started before the kickoff and ended before the first quarter was over.

With two fumbles in a span of five plays, Spurrier’s offense yielded two short fields for Tennessee and may have metaphorically passed the torch from the Ole Ball Coach to the new kid on the block.

For it was the Tennessee teams of the past that would travel to Florida to take on Spurrier's Gators, who would find themselves buckling under the pressure of the moment, coughing up the football in the opening minutes and looking to the scoreboard to see they were down by three scores in the first quarter.

Saturday night, Spurrier did the scoreboard watching.

Times are changing, and he knows it.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Spurrier had a quip in his back pocket ready to use in the postgame conference had the Gamecocks won. He would have undoubtedly referred to hopping on the bus and heading to the nearby service station to have a Volunteer fill up the bus with gas for the trip back to South Carolina.

There was no such opportunity.

Instead, the former joker answered a few questions and slipped away into the night.

As for Kiffin, it’s back to the bat cave, where his elder is surely already formulating ways to trap the Memphis Tigers.


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