Spurrier "trying not to get too mad"

One of the joys of reporting Gamecock football these days is attending a Steve Spurrier press conference. Not only is he one of the top coaches of the modern era, he is also extremely entertaining. Even with his team struggling, Spurrier was able to find the lighter side of his team through his brutal honesty.

South Carolina Head Football Coach Steve Spurrier stepped into the press room in the J. Crews Building shortly after his team defeated a far inferior football team by a score of 26-13. His first comment was, "Ok, I said I was not going to get too mad... I'm trying not to get too mad," as if he had anticipated a lackluster performance from his team.

He did not get too mad. His tone was very even as if to say, "What else can I do?"

What can he do? Watching Spurrier roam the sidelines during USC football games, it is very evident that he is constantly coaching. In order for a coach to be successful, his players must buy into his system AND follow instructions. When that happens, this team will play to its capability.

Following the Gamecocks' sloppy win over UAB, Spurrier refused to say anything negative about any one of his individual players' performances. In fact, he placed this task on the media. "So, you guys (the media in attendance) watched it. Don't ask me to be critical of any players," he said.

"I don't need to be critical. You guys watched the game, and you can be as critical as you want to... and we had a lot of guys who didn't play their best."

There is a glaring problem about the 2008-09 Gamecock football team and that is their lack of effort as a unit. Brian Maddox said, "We've got to find some leaders on this team. I think that's what we're lacking. Leadership plays a big role and we need that."

When asked who should be the leader he said, "Whoever steps up and wants to be the leader. A leadership role takes a lot." Finally he was asked if he was that guy and he replied, "I'm working on that."

Spurrier continued with his sincerity of his team's performance Saturday night, saying, "We have a lot of guys that didn't play their best. I told our guys, 'I don't know how some of you guys can look in the mirror sometimes after the performance you had.' The effort level and the way they play is sad. It really is."

This is not Spurrier using the media to motivate his team. This is not Spurrier trying to appease anyone. This is Spurrier's honest assessment of a talented football team that simply has not performed with any consistency or effort five games into the season. Yet, in typical Spurrier manner, he always seems to have the media giggling.

When he began to speak of Stephen Garcia and his first significant playing time, Spurrier was cautious in his praise. "Obviously we've got to let Garcia play, and obviously we've got to live with his mistakes. We won't be able to audible much."

"He can throw that comeback route, can't he? There's something positive," he quipped. "I think we were three for three on it tonight. We should've called it every play."

When asked if he planned to replace any of the offensive linemen with backups he responded, "Who did you have in mind?"

In the end, Spurrier was quick to remind everyone that USC did win the game. They are 3-2 and they will begin to prepare for their trip to Oxford to take on the Ole Miss Rebels, who are flying high after a victory over the Florida Gators in The Swamp.

Spurrier knows that his defense is the strength of this team, and he says that they will just have to figure out a way to win a close ball game. He stated, "We've got see what we can do to win a low scoring game. We've got enough defense that we can win a low scoring game."

So there it is, Gamecock fans. A light hearted Steve Spurrier telling it like it is and continuing to coach his players to victory. Expect a low scoring game and expect Garcia to take more snaps under center and, oh yeah, expect a candid Spurrier post-game press conference.

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