Spurrier gets a dose of his own medicine

col-tbuzz-2From our “Things that make you go Hmmm…” department, what was up with South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier’s impromptu press conference the other day? You know, the one where he denied that he was getting old and cranky by acting old and cranky.

“I got some enemies out there, I got some guys talking and writing and it’s all part of the game,” said Spurrier, who turned 70 earlier this year. “Some of our enemies out there want to make you think, ‘Spurrier’s getting old, he can’t do it anymore.'”

It may sound like the words of a paranoid soul, but there is some validity to Spurrier’s claim that “enemies” are trying to bring him and the Gamecocks down. Ironically, they are the same schools, coaches and writers Spurrier has taken shots at over the years.

In the name of recruiting, which has never been the most cordial of activities, Spurrier’s enemies are actually rivals who are trying to use his age and the Gamecocks’ latest ho-hum season against them. Coaches have been bad-mouthing each other since the days of leather helmets, even when Spurrier was being recruited by bitter SEC rivals.

It’s not necessarily ethical, but it happens. And if anyone should be pointing fingers, Spurrier isn’t the most innocent in the game. He has spent the better part of his career (usually during his more successful seasons) of stirring the pot and taking cheap shots.

Anyone remember him calling Florida State “Free Shoes University,” or reminding Tennessee that you can’t spell Citrus Bowl without a U and a T? Spurrier has never been shy about casting the first stone, yet he is the first to cry foul when someone returns fire.

Granted, what Spurrier is complaining about is more personal, but you can’t be surprised about getting a little mud flung your way when you have been the chief flinger. Dishing it out is all in good fun, until someone serves up their own brand of screw-you stew.

Spurrier has brought the criticism upon himself. Not only has he made enemies over the years, he also made the mistake last year of publicly stating that he had a couple of more coaching years left in him. Did he think no one outside Columbia was listening?

Of course, he quickly corrected himself in a cover-your-butt statement that he planned to coach for many more years, but the damage was already done. Rival coaches were already using his words against him by telling star recruits that Spurrier was ready for the rocking chair. Last season’s 7-6 record only compounded rumors that his days were numbered.

“I just want our fans to know that we’re going to have a good team and recognize that it’s our enemies saying these things about Spurrier being washed up and we’re not going to be heard from again,” he said. “Gamecocks out there need to know that I’m going to be here five or six more years, and away we go.”

It’s hard to blame coaches for using Spurrier’s own words against him, but the Head Ball Coach didn’t have any problem switching into the victim’s role. His hastily called press conference was designed to show recruits and USC fans that he still has the fire, but it left the distinct impression that he might be burning out.

I’m not an “enemy” of Spurrier or the Gamecocks; I just call them like I see them. And what I saw was the ravings of a 70-year-old man: “You kids get off of my lawn!” I left with the opposite of the intended impression. Maybe Spurrier is getting too old for the game.

Of course, the proof is ultimately determined by the scoreboard, and that’s the only way Spurrier can silence his critics. His justification for talking trash in his glory days was basically “If you don’t want me talking about you, shut me up by beating me.” That’s the only way Spurrier can convince his “enemies” that he’s still got plenty left in the tank.

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One response to “Spurrier gets a dose of his own medicine”

  1. Dean says:

    Spurrier was a douche all the way back at Florida when he used to run the blowout score up late in the 4th quarter.

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