Stever Spurrier leaves no doubt about who is in charge of the Carolina football program these days. Unlike his predecessor Lou Holtz, Spurrier has his hands on all of the controls.
When an impromptu press conference was called during halftime of the SC Vs UT basketball game Saturday night, it left some in the media perturbed at the lack of pre-notification. Beat Writers were scrambling to do double-coverage of the important hoops contest and the football coach's unscheduled update. Classic Spurrier. Afterall, it was Tennessee in the house and Phil Kornblut used the opportunity to remind SOS about his now infamous 'You can't spell Citrus without U.T.," put-down.
"Is that who we're playing tonight? Oh yeah I guess it is. Welllll, I wasn't really the first one to say it," Spurrier shrugged. "Someone else said it before me. I said it while I was speaking at a club down there (in Florida) somewhere and it just sort of stuck."
Spurrier knew what he was doing. You get the feeling that nothing is as unplanned as it seems when dealing with this guy. No opportuniy missed.
You could also feel the favorable time to possibly seize the moment and put some positive notes in the Sunday morning rags ... prospects scour the local papers looking for mentions of visits before their departures. And the message he wanted relayed to fans, players and prospects alike? That he is fully in control.
"Morale and attitude have been excellent," Spurrier said regarding returning players now in the middle of Winter Workouts. "We haven't lost any yet ... and we hope we don't as long as they keep doing what they are supposed to do."
"I've been encouraged and impressed with the guys. We've had perfect attendance (in the weight room). Now, academically we're going to do well this semester but there are a couple of guys in dire straights who are going to have to pick it up."
The Old Ball Coach makes no bones about where his priorities lie. Hard work during the off-season both in and out of the classroom. It is an important message not only for returning players, but for Mommies and Daddies visiting with their sons reading the Sunday morning sports pages. The only problem being that The State had only Ron Morris there to cover Spurrier's words ... an iffy conduit at best.
More questions were addressed.
"The theft is still under investigation. I'm not an investigator. When the time is right, when we know something more we'll let you know."
There was mention of the first game being played on a Thursday night ESPN broadcast.
"That would be ok," Steve confirmed as if it is all but a done deal. "Having the first game on a Thursday night is probably good. Later in the season I might change my mind but a first game would not pose much of a problem." He then went on to explain that the only time he had played on Thursday was at Mississippi State in Starksville ... a game which his Gators lost. Spurrier indicated it is difficult to prepare for Thursday night games as they tend to take your team out of sync.
The fans wanted to know about Special Teams coaches and who would coach what.
"Coach (Ron) Cooper will coach outside linebackers. He'll also coach punt coverage, kick off covergage and punt returns."
And the rest?
"Coach Stock (Rick Stockstill) will coach Tight Ends and kick off returns. I've always done it this way ... use multiple coaches on special teams and it has worked for me."
The the questioning turned to recruiting.
"I've decided we're going to try to sign two quarterbacks this year," Spurrier revealed. "I'd like to sign two."
His key to signing the better players?
"It's simple really. You let the ones you really want know that you really want them and hope that they decide to join your program."
"There are a couple of weeks left in recruiting. February 2nd is signing day. We'll find out in years to come how good this class is but I have every confidence in the class because I have an excellent staff of recruiters."
You got the feeling that recruiting is not as important to Spurrier right now as other things might be. Things such as establishing the fact that there is one man in charge ... no more coaching by proxy at USC as the past head coach went-out doing. Spurrier will be here doing what head coaches are supposed to do - managing their programs with a hands on approach.
SOS finished by letting those remaining know that he has put a down payment down on at home in northeast Columbia this very day. There will be no appointed dwelling for the Spurrier family - they will possess their own. He's here to stay for awhile and he is definitely in control.
Spurrier: Confident - In Control
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