South Carolina Football Roundup, 11.20.08

Tim PollockSenior Writer INovember 20, 2008

First if all:  No, Steve Spurrier is not retiring.

Is it just me, or are the words “Spurrier” and “retirement” always linked after a loss?  Vanderbilt beat the Gamecocks in week two, and all of a sudden, “anonymous sources” came out of the woodwork claiming SOS was off to the links at season’s end.

The Gamecocks then recover and run off to a 7-3 record, and just like that, Spurrier has regained his passion!

One nasty loss to Florida later—despite the fact that the Gators have been pasting everyone—and Steve’s time is up again, according to those same sources.

Sure, the guy is untraditional, but I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:  Spurrier is a competitor. 

This is his last job. 

The Head Ball Coach isn’t just going to walk away after a sub par season and plenty of recruits coming in to bolster his already solid team.  In his words, Spurrier says, “We’re hoping for that one special year that we can put it together.”

Give him two more season with Stephen Garcia, a competent (or perhaps just “fast”) running back, some serious improvement on the offensive line, and more seasoning for his young receivers. 

If an additional lift hasn’t been given to the program by then, it will perhaps be time for Spurrier to re-examine how successful he can be at Carolina. 

I may be biased, but I think Spurrier still has one SEC East title left in him. 

And for all of those haters who still claim the game has passed Spurrier by, please look at what he is facing at South Carolina:

1.) Spurrier is now guaranteed a fourth non-losing season in a row, and with Lou Holt’s 6-5 final season before Spurrier’s arrival, this will give South Carolina five consecutive non-losing seasons in a row. 

The last time that happened at Carolina was in the 1928-1934 seasons. 

Yes, like the Great Depression.

For those counting at home, that’s about 80 years.

This is not taking over struggling Florida, Tennessee, or any other SEC outside of Vandy, for that matter.

The guy is a great coach, but he doesn’t own a magic wand.   

2.) If South Carolina beats Clemson and wins their bowl game, they would reach nine wins for only the second time in the history of the program—over 100 years of football.

The last time the Gamecocks reached nine wins was when Dr. Lou was in office.  In 2001, Coach Holtz guided the Gamecocks to an eight-win regular season and a win over Ohio State in the Outback Bowl.

Coincidentally, the Outback Bowl is the likely destination for Carolina this year, unless things go wrong in Clemson next week or Vanderbilt and Kentucky look fantastic to close the year.  

Finally, it appears Chris Smelley is going to be the guy to get “most of the snaps” in Carolina’s season finale against arch rival Clemson.  Stephen Garcia has shown flashes but still doesn’t grasp the way Spurrier wants to run his offense—and Garcia’s play has suffered in recent weeks. 

That said, Garcia’s play “in spots” could lead to an entire quarter or half of playing time.  You just never know. 

Much has been made of Spurrier’s tongue-in-cheek comments about Garcia’s ability to give the coaches headaches, but it’s just Spurrier being himself.

Whether being himself is still good enough to compete for a title, well, time will tell…


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