Spurrier is STILL One of the Best

Posted: November 10, 2011 in NCAA
Tags: , ,

Steve Spurrier is one of the top five college football coaches of all time. Sure, you can argue that point, but that’s my opinion and you’re not going to change my mind.

He’s one of a handful of coaches who truly changed the way the game is played. Sure, before he grabbed our attention during his three seasons (1987-89) at Duke, other coaches tried a wide open, pass-first, pass-from-anywhere-on-the-field philosophy, and some had pockets of success, but it was Spurrier’s success – and attitude –that turned the game into what is now at both the college and pro levels.

His 12-year run (1990-2001) at Florida is among the greatest in college football history. Ironically, it was Spurrier’s own genius that turned him into the above average coach he has been during seven seasons at South Carolina. Opponents quickly learned the only way to beat him was the emulate him. And I’m not just talking about copying his offense. In fact, Spurrier’s greatest impact was on the defensive side of the ball.

To beat Spurrier teams had to have defensive ends and linebackers who ran like running backs to put pressure on the quarterback. They had to recruit more and better defensive backs so they could play five or six at a time. By the end of his run at Florida nearly all of the elite college teams mirrored the Gators of the 90s.They still do.

So why hasn’t Spurrier had more success at South Carolina? First, understand the Gamecocks have been more successful under Spurrier than any other coach in the program’s lackluster history. Winning the 2010 SEC East title a year ago is their pinnacle of success. He has made the Gamecocks competitive year in and year out, another milestone for South Carolina.

There are reasons why South Carolina never has and probably never will be an elite program in spite of its large and passionate fan base. There simply aren’t enough quality athletes in the state to feed two major college programs. A disturbing number of potential athletes can’t qualify for college admission because of one of the nation’s poorest secondary educational systems.

And then there’s Spurrier’s failure to recruit a blue chip quarterback. Rival recruiters use Spurrier’s track of NOT producing star NFL quarterbacks. His greatest quarterbacks – Ben Bennett at Duke and Gators Shane Matthews, Danny Wuerffel, Jesse Palmer, Doug Johnson and Rex Grossman – were basically backups as pros.

In some ways, Spurrier has done his best coaching at South Carolina. His team’s strength is now defense, for heaven’s sake. Heading into Saturday’s game against visiting Florida the Gamecocks are 7-2 and still playing for the SEC East title. They’ve become a fixture in the Top 25.

I expect the Gamecocks to stay in contention with a victory – thanks to their defense. Let’s say South Carolina 17, Florida 10.

Quik pix: FSU is improving every week and will handle visiting Miami; Georgia is a 13-point against visiting Auburn and the Bulldogs will win but it will be close; Oregon’s speed will end host Stanford’s national title run; and visiting Oklahoma State will struggle, but beat Texas Tech. Last week: 4-1 (26-19 overall)

Check out Blabbermouth Lamm’s college point spreads here, too!


  1. Terri says:

    only because they haven’t exposed the athletics fraternity parties that numerous young ladies were date raped by putting the body building junk into the girls drinks…campus police ignored.

  2. Gary says:

    Dave, I agree with you Spurrier has done more with less talent than anybody could at SC. Can you imagine if their RB was healthy and if he had a solid QB he would tear the East apart. I think Steve has used his NFL experience to his advantage. We are used to 52-20 games with Spurrier but he has adjusted to what the SEC West powers do to win and if he ever gets a top QB watch out.

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