Competitive fire still drives Spurrier

As the Steve Spurrier odyssey continues into its sixth year at the University of South Carolina, it is obvious that expectations will continue to rise for the Gamecock football program in the ultra-competitive Southeastern Conference. But how much the USC players and coaches can answer those expectations in the 2010 campaign remains to be seen.

Hoover, Ala. -- After five seasons at USC and a 35-28 overall record, Spurrier said that he still feels like his program is one moving upward as he continues to reign as one of the deans of SEC coaching.

"Well I'm going into my sixth year, (and) we realize how the coaching profession is (with turnover), (but) we really feel like we're heading in the right direction at South Carolina. We really do. You always have motivation that you want to get better."

Thanks to a new era of success both within the football program and overall athletics at USC, Spurrier said his team has to continue to move toward competing for an SEC championship.

While the football team has experienced unprecedented success with five seasons of .500 or better records under Spurrier, USC is also riding the wave of momentum that began in Omaha, Nebraska as the baseball team brought home the first men's national title in school history.

The question has many around the football program uttering the famous question of, "why not us?"

Spurrier summed it up simply in saying that, "our baseball team certainly proved that you can win a national championship at the University of South Carolina."

As all programs in the SEC must do to compete on a national level, South Carolina has also raised the bar on recruiting the past couple of years, pulling in big names such as Alshon Jeffery and Stephon Gilmore, while culminating that success with the commitment of Marcus Lattimore in the 2010 signing class.

"We have been able to recruit," said Spurrier. "This past year of course Marcus Lattimore was our top guy in the recruiting class. The year before, Stephon Gilmore and Alshon Jeffery were two players that could have gone anywhere in the country."

But even with that success, the Gamecocks still continue to chase the top power players in the conference.

"We hope to be a team that competes for the SEC year in and year out," added Spurrier. That's what you hope to be. We haven't gotten there yet. Can we recruit the caliber of players to do it here? That's the question right there. Can we recruit close to Florida, Alabama, (and) LSU?"

"We have a belief that our best days are ahead of us. We believe we're headed in the right direction and hopefully soon we can get over those seven wins and be more competitive."

According to Spurrier, the addition of that high-profile talent will hopefully lead to continued success under his watch.

One integral part of competitive SEC teams is the continued drive to succeed 365 days a year. As programs become more and more competitive, there is no longer an offseason in Division I college football.'

Coach Spurrier said his team has been working harder than ever this year, with one-hundred percent participation in the offseason conditioning program, and offensive players gathering on the practice field to work on passing drills.

But the drive to compete is what has motivated Spurrier for many years and what continues to drive him as he continues to try to breed long-term success at USC. Without a doubt, the competitive fire of a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback is still alive in well in the man that many refer to as the "Head Ball Coach."

"I think all competitors hate losing," noted Spurrier. "Hopefully you get in the habit of winning and you sort of expect it as you go. The opportunity to compete (is what) we're looking forward to this year. I don't know what's going to happen. We've got a lot of good players that believe we have a chance to do something. That's all we've got right now is the hope and belief that we have a chance to do something because we haven't proven anything yet."

With the formula for winning solidly in place at South Carolina, it's now time to see just how far fire and desire will take the 2010 Gamecocks.

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