Who'll call the plays?

When Steve Spurrier was head coach at Florida, three things were given every year:

1. He would call the plays.

2. He would get excellent production from his quarterback, whoever it was.

3. He would win – or nearly win – the SEC championship.

As Spurrier enters Year 4 at South Carolina, however, none of those things are givens anymore. Here's why:

- He says he is turning the play-calling duties over to his son, Steve Jr.

- His quarterback play appears shaky at best.

- If his Gamecocks win the league title in 2008, he should be Coach of the Year ... nationally.

Given Spurrier's well-documented love for offense, his decision to hand the play-calling duties to his son is truly a shocker. It should be noted, however, that predecessor Lou Holtz handed the play-calling duties to HIS son, Skip, a few years ago. That handoff proved to be temporary, with Lou eventually reclaiming the play-calling responsibilities.

Don't be surprised if the same scenario plays out in Columbia again ... this time featuring the Spurrier clan, instead of the Holtz clan.

Sportingnews.com ranks the Gamecocks No. 39 on its preseason top 50. The accompanying article, penned by Matt Hayes, includes a quote from Spurrier saying of his offspring: "It's the right time for him to call the plays."

Hayes then writes: "Frankly, there couldn't be a worse time," adding: "The Spurrier offense – be it Steve or his son calling the plays (and both are more than capable) – is built around smart, efficient quarterback play. And South Carolina is nowhere near having that going into fall camp."

The Gamecocks' top two QBs, Tommy Beacher and Chris Smelley, combined to toss eight interceptions in the spring game. With that kind of slip-shod execution, it may not matter who's calling the plays this fall.

Regardless, Spurrier announced at SEC Media Days last July that South Carolina was ready to contend for the league title. That prediction was looking pretty good when the Gamecocks opened 6-1 and soared to No. 6 in The Associated Press national poll. What happened next, however, was decidedly un-Spurrier-like.

As Hayes notes: "Just when it looked as though the Gamecocks had turned the corner under Spurrier last fall, the team lost its last five games (the longest losing streak in Spurrier's college coaching history), and it begins this season with a multitude of questions."

Foremost among those questions: How long will Steve Jr. get to call the plays?


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