Steve Spurrier was gracious enough to open his practices through most of the first month.
Thank you Coach.
But the old ball coach is no fool and he gave away nothing during those open sessions. Not a single solitary thing.
What opponents' spies, and make no mistake about it there were spies out there, but what those spies took away is nothing more than the limited information one might gather from seeing a team being taught to work as a unit.
Oh sure. Now everyone knows how fast Spurrier's Gamecocks are going to be this season. And they know that the Gamecocks might be a tad undersized.
They also know that none of the quarterbacks are setting the world on fire. They know that South Carolina has serious issues to contend with on the offensive line. And they know that it's hotter than the proverbial two rats in a wool sock in Columbia this time of year.
What they don't know, and neither do you and neither do we, is exactly what kind of offense Spurrier will field this season.
Will they be a fire slinging throw-it-all-around pass happy offense taking advantage of all that speed?
Perhaps. Perhaps as the season wears on and that unspoken level of communication is developed between passers and receivers.
Will they be a bruising, stuff it down your throat, running offense?
Doubtful. But they should be proficient none the less.
Will the defense be worthy of the name "Fire Ants" once again?
Maybe. There certainly is the potential to be very good on the defensive side of the ball.
So what can be absolutely deduced from this squad so far?
They will play with heart.
They are young and enthusiastic.
They are willing to work and they are willing to learn. They are keeping their mouths shut and going about their business without fanfare and without incident.
The negative influences are gone. What remains wants to be here and is proud to be here.
All other talk about how great any one person/prospect/player is going to be, at any one position, is guess work. Any attempt by anyone to overdramatize anything anyone has done up until now is hoopla. It's useless and it means nothing.
What does mean something is what has transpired within the fabric of this football program.
Most fans are not expecting too much - instead choosing to take it day to day. Leaving it in the hands of the great football master.
It's really something strange and new and wonderful in Columbia if you think about it and perhaps, more than anything we have seen with regards to Spurrier since his arrival, it's the fans' trust in him that says it all.
Maybe Steve Spurrier, the Head Ball Coach, really is a god among coaches?
One thing for sure. None of us saw anything during these open practices that amount to a hill of beans. If anything, most of us with above average knowledge of the game ... we walked away with more questions than answers concerning mechanics, experience and depth charts. There are issues on that football team and only two weeks to correct them.
What we did learn is that Spurrier's number one objective was to bring this team together. To get them reading from the same sheet of music. To develop trust among themselves. To operate as a unit ... one common movement of will and desire to win.
He accomplished that and in doing so gave himself a chance to have a successful first season at Carolina.
And beginning this week, they really get down to business. But we shall not know the outcome of that until they step onto the field on September 1st on National TV against Central Florida.
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