Rooster Report: 12 July 2004

News from around the program, particularly concerning some of the latest rumors. Questions you want answered ...

These Steve Spurrier to South Carolina rumors are ridiculous. First of all you should know the potential damage being done. Imagine your wife is riding down the road and she hears you on the radio talking about your chances of finding another woman. A woman you perceive to be hotter or sexier or whatever. Would your wife react favorably to this news? Probably not! In fact, your wife might very well respond by quietly going about the business of divorce intentionally plotting to do as much damage as possible on her way out. Afterall, she really wouldn't owe you loyalty anymore, would she?

Gamecock fans, you are playing with fire by calling all of these sports talk radio shows and initiating all of these posts on the message boards claiming that you want Steve Spurrier as your next head coach. We should be about the business of projecting confidence and support to the coaches and players of the 2004 squad. Regrettably, these discussions imply that we have already given up on this year's season. How can that be when the season has yet to even begin?

Honest question, why would you want Steve Spurrier at the University of South Carolina? He has accomplished everything there is to accomplish in the sport. He has personally won a Heisman Trophy. He has coached in the USFL. He has coached in the NCAA ... even managed to win ballgames at Duke! Then he coached at his alma mater, Florida, built a powerhouse where there had been none before. Coached a Heisman Trophy winner in the process and won a mythical National Championship. He has also coached in the NFL. What is there remaining for the man to do? What possible challenge would he be looking for in order to even consider the job at South Carolina? A move of this nature would bring him back into the SEC to coach against his alma mater and beloved Gators. Also, it would imply that his close friend Lou Holtz had failed. Not to mention, it would mean that the Gamecocks, namely the Board of Directors, would have to be willing to pay the man upwards of 1.5-2.0 million dollars a year. And last but not least, (and this is where it really becomes ridiculous beyond words) ... someone such as Mike McGee would have to have already approached the man about the job! From that you could easy conclude Dr. McGee was expecting a catastrophic season. Where is the evidence to support such an expectation? The truth of the matter is Dr. McGee, above all others, appears to be very confident that Lou Holtz and the Gamecocks are about to have a breakout year! He himself has said as much in so many words. Yet some fans believe he is out approaching Steve Spurrier about the head coaching job at USC?

Then there is the little detail about it having to happen at the end of this season. Agreed? Steve Spurrier is definitely going to get back into college coaching. No doubt about that. The man is nuts to do it. He does not need the money. He is not an avid and tireless recruiter. He has little patience for what makes NCAA football tick, (exactly why he got out of the business in the first place). But yes, he is definitely going to get back into college coaching at the end of this season. So what does that tell us? It tells us that if he is going to be hired at USC, it would have to be at the end of this season correct?

Why let a "little detail" like that stop us from participating in the gossip mongering. This rumor has grown legs and taken on a life of its own. It is even being reported that Lou Holtz is telling people that this will be his final season. I have tried my best to confirm this rumor. The problem is, I cannot find one single person who he has told that to - not one. More to the point everyone "in the know" that I have spoken with, says that the "last year" rumor is complete nonsense unless Lou or Beth become ill or unless he wins a championship of some sort. The entire coaching staff, including Lou Holtz, have multi-year contracts. Most are committed for three years, all of them are planning on being here for at least that long if not longer. The game plan is to win this year and the next and the next and then expect changes, hopefully a hiring from within in an effort to stabilize the program for the first time in its existence and to lend a certain amount of continuity to the program via the staff. Remember, Mike McGee is not going to be here to save us from ourselves much longer either and the only thing I ever heard that made any sense whatsoever was that McGee and Holtz may go out together.

Forget about the Steve Spurrier rumors Gamecock fans. To put it bluntly, it ain't gonna happen anytime soon. Certainly not at the end of this season - and we're taught to never say never but ...

All the rumors, the radio chatter and the internet gossip is doing is cutting off our noses to spite our faces. Lou, Skip, Rick and the entire staff deserve better. The rumors are destructive.

Now about the Tom Perry situation. Tom Perry, as you know, is no longer employed by the University of South Carolina as a Senior Associate Athletics Director for Academic and Student Support Services. Officially, he is on medical leave. Unofficially, it appears this may not be the entire story. There is speculation that Perry may return in some other capacity and there is equal speculation that the ties may be completely severed. The confusing part is that no one is willing to confirm either sceanario at this time. I will say this, according to my sources, it is definitely linked to the NCAA investigation. It is possible that Perry may have spoken out of turn regarding the investigation. That does NOT mean, as far as I can tell, that Perry turned in the University or was maliciously supplying damaging inside information to the NCAA. I do not know what it means quite frankly. It sounds to me as if it may have been more of upper level personality clash. A scenario whereby a questionable statement or two may have been judged as "misleading" giving an already volitile situation the proverbial "straw that broke the camel's back" opportunity to end the relationship. There is just no telling. One thing is certain. All of this will continue to be pure speculation until official word is handed out. No conclusions can be drawn until the participants involved (the Administrative, SID or Perry himself) decide to issue an official statement. Perry has insisted emphatically that he has no knowledge of anyone in his department violating any institutional policies or NCAA legislations while under his command. He has made the same statement to the NCAA. Why he is no longer with the University remains unclear. What it does NOT indicate, in any definitive manner, is that Perry's leaving is the result of any NCAA related violations on his part. What it may mean is that something minor or major happened under his watch. Time will tell.

Finally, we all now know that there will be a complete uniform overhaul this season. This decision was not based upon any sort of desperation needs, voodoo or karma. There is no mentallity that a uniform change might change our fortunes, (oh that it were that simple). It is instead something that has become fairly common in college athletics today. Keeping up with current styles is important in recruiting, and it gives existing players a chance to chime in one way or the other when it comes time to pick and choose their new duds. No final decisions have been made on the helmets - at least that is what I am being told. However, it does appear to have come down to a black helmet with an interlocking USC or a black helmet with the old standard Block C with a Gamecock in the middle. As I understand it there was a Garnet helmet with a Block C and a black helmet with an interlocking SC that were turned down early in the process. As far as jerseys are concerned, three colors will be available this year. White, Garnet ... and Black. The players wanted a Black jersey option and it appears that they are getting their wish. It also appears that the players have decided that perhaps it was not a good idea to have the names on the back of their jerseys. While no final decision has been reached - we may not see names back there this year - reminiscent of Lou's first few seasons in Columbia.

Oh yes, one last thing. Thanks for your patience in giving me a week off. I needed that!! It was a chance to recharge my batteries and get ready for the coming season. SEC Media days are only a couple of weeks away and football practice begins shortly afterwards. Some members have asked me to publish a calendar of when we plan on vacationing ... and I will. But honestly, it's easy to remember. We take a couple of days off during the normal holidays. New Years, Easter, Christmas ... but especially the week of the Fourth of July. That week ends baseball season every year for us officially, and it gives us a breather after a long non-stop year of covering the Gamecocks. Thanks again for the week off. :)

- Rooster

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