Steve Spurrier made some waves earlier this month when he off-handedly told reporters that he might coach for "two or three" more seasons. It was the kind of crack that the Head Ball Coach makes all the time with his trademark aw-shucks delivery and which no one takes particularly seriously.
But something strange happened this time. People listened. Especially, apparently, members of South Carolina's 2015 signing class, six of whom have decommitted from the Gamecocks, topped by four star commit Mark Fields, who'll visit Clemson and Texas among others, and got a visit from Jeremy Pruitt in the days after Spurrier's comments. Now the Ole Ball Coach is changing the game plan, or at least says he is. He's now "back on the four or five (year plan)".
Anyone who watched Spurrier shuffling in obvious pain to and from the locker room this season has to wonder how long the man is going to continue to roam the sidelines. He'll turn 70 this April, which frankly is longer than I ever expected him to stay around. I figured Spurrier would have decamped to Augusta National two or three years ago, but he spent 2011, 2012, and 2013 winning more football games at the University of South Carolina than anyone even dreamed was possible. It's hard to hang 'em up when you're having a lot of fun, and three consecutive 11-2 seasons in Columbia qualifies as a lot of fun.
But then came 2014 and a 6-6 campaign that saw his defense struggle all year long. Along the way the 'Cocks fell from the preseason top 10, and were all but eliminated from the SEC East race by late season after being the preseason favorite to win it. None of that seemed like a lot of fun. Except the part where the Gamecocks beat Georgia thanks to Mike Bobo deciding not to run the dang ball and SEC officials doing SEC official phantom holding call things. I'm pretty sure he enjoyed that little escapade immensely.
I don't believe that Steve Spurrier will last another four years at South Carolina. I say that because he just told us so. And while that cocky 'Cock may have his faults, dishonesty is not one of them. Steve Spurrier told us his plans in a moment of candor, now he's dealing with the fall out. I don't imagine this late about-face is going to fool many people. It doesn't help that recruiters from Clemson, Georgia, and Tennessee will be reminding Gamecock recruits of Spurrier's originally stated plan.
The Head Ball Coach's exit is inevitable. The bigger question will be whether South Carolina football can continue to prosper in his absence. While Steve Spurrier may in fact be fibbing to himself about whether he still has the zip to continue "coaching 'em up", South Carolina officials are about to have to figure out if Spurrier has made theirs a destination job. I'm not sure it's a question they're ready to answer. Until later...