Spurrier hands off

As a former quarterback, Steve Spurrier generally prefers passes to hand-offs. So, the fact he says he will hand off the play-calling responsibilities at South Carolina to his son this fall is somewhat mystifying.

Reporters attending last week's 2008 SEC Media Days were even more skeptical of Spurrier's comment about the play-calling responsibilities than they were of his comment at 2007 SEC Media Days that his Gamecocks were ready to contend for the league title.

Apparently anticipating some skepticism this time, the Ol' Ball Coach was prepared to explain his play-calling decision when he showed up for the annual media gathering in Hoover, Ala.

"My son, Steve, Jr., is going into his 11th year coaching with me," the ol' ball coach said. "He came down as a GA (grad assistant) at Florida in '94, '95, '96, and we were fortunate to win the SEC all those years, and fortunate enough to win the National in '96.

"He went to Oklahoma with Bobby Stoops, and the second year there they won the National. So he's got more National Championship rings than a lot of people."

After calling Steve Jr., "a good coach," Steve Sr., added: "You guys can check his background ... check how his wide receivers play ... check how he recruits. That's sort of how you judge assistant coaches."

Besides, Spurrier says, his son is no stranger to play-calling.

"He's been watching me call plays but he's been calling 'em also," the Gamecocks' head man said. "He's been up top watching (and saying) 'Da, da, da, send this one in.'"

Steve Sr., is recognized as one of the shrewdest offensive minds in football, a reputation he built while going 122-27-1 as head man at Florida between 1990 and 2001. He called all of his own plays during that span but says the game has changed dramatically since then because of all the shifts and motions involved.

"Nowadays it's a little different than the early '90s," he said. "Heck, at Florida the first few years, I didn't even have a play sheet over there half the time.... I'd signal in myself half the stuff."

It is worth noting that Spurrier eventually referred to his son as "the principal play-caller," which suggests Steve Jr., will not be the exclusive play-caller. Spurrier's subsequent comments further implied he will not abandon the play-calling duties altogether.

"I'll still have the sheets ready to insert ... 'Don't forget about this one, let's get this one in here,' and so forth," the ol' ball coach noted. "So it will be a team effort."

That may sound like a guy hedging his bets, but Spurrier insists it isn't. He says Steve Jr., will call the offensive plays with minimal input from his famous father.

"One guy's got to do it," the head man said. "He'll get 'em in there to start with. If there's a time for me next, 'I want this one the next play, da, da, da' ... If it goes bad, I did it. If it goes pretty good, he did it.

"That will be the way it will go."


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