Old dog ... new tricks?

Everything old is new again. <P> Just ask South Carolina coach Lou Holtz, the elder statesman of SEC football. Though considered ''old school'' by many observers, the Gamecock head man has installed an offense in Columbia that has all of the latest bells and whistles. Then again, it also has elements of the oldest attack known to man.

''He's very innovative in what he's doing with his offense down there,'' said Tennessee head coach Phillip Fulmer, whose Vols visit Columbia Saturday for a 12:30 kickoff.

Holtz utilizes bits and pieces of the West Coast offense, the option series, the shotgun and the basic I formation. He also uses elements of an attack that is even older than he is.

''Some of it's closer to the single-wing than it is to anything,'' Fulmer said. ''I guess that's pure 'old school,' if you want to look at it that way. But it (Carolina offensive scheme) is very dynamic. They use the Northwestern option and all the stuff that's going on now that everybody's running.

''I guess everything cycles itself around.''

Or, as Cole Porter put it: Everything old is new again.

When a reporter suggested that Fulmer is ''old school'' and similiar philosophically to Holtz, the Vol boss deadpanned, ''Is that a compliment?''

When the flustered reporter qualified that Holtz and Fulmer share a similar devotion to the old principles -- ground game, defense, kicking game -- the Vol coach nodded:

''If I can last as long as he has lasted,'' Fulmer said, ''that's pretty good.''

Holtz made three blunders during his brief teleconference with local media on earlier this week, referring to Vol offensive tackle Michael Munoz as ANTHONY Munoz (Michael's dad), referring to Cedric Houston as HUDSON and mispronouncing the name of defensive coordinator John Chavis. Still, Holtz did better than last year, when he referred to Chavis as CHAVEZ. Some observers think the veteran coach is growing senile. Others say he's just crazy like a fox. Fulmer seems to fit the latter category.

''I have great respect for Coach Holtz,'' he said. ''Most people who have accomplished as much as he has, you SHOULD have great respect for them. He's won a lot of football games at a lot of levels, turned a lot of programs around. So, I think anything you can learn from people like that, you should do it.''

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