|Spurrier Jr.: A chip off the head ball coach|
|Written by Admin|
|Sunday, 03 August 2008 22:28|
In the spring, Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier ceded duties as chief playcaller to his oldest son, the team's receivers coach, in effort to change things up and give a fresh look to South Carolina's inconsistent offense.
``I've been close to his offense for a long time,'' Steve Jr. said Sunday. ``In the past I've agreed a lot with how we've done things. Hopefully, I think similarly to the way he does.''
The elder Spurrier remains the offensive coordinator and can veto things he doesn't like. However, he will leave the weeklong planning, scripting and scheming to his 36-year-old son.
``Hopefully, he'll be ready to fire 'em in there quickly,'' Spurrier said.
Gamecocks fans watched in digust as Spurrier's Florida teams generally manhandled South Carolina for more than a decade. That changed after Spurrier signed on as coach in 2004 and talk of a productive ``Cock'n'Fire'' attack rivaling Spurrier's ``Fun'n'Gun'' days with the Gators.
But that hasn't happened.
Spurrier has continually shuffled quarterbacks because of injuries, suspensions and shoddy play. South Carolina finished an un-Spurrier like eighth in the SEC in offense and scoring last season.
After ending 2007 with a five-game losing streak and out of the bowl picture, Spurrier knew things had to change. That apparently included his role as full-time playcaller.
``I'm excited about the opportunity,'' Steve Jr. said. ``I feel like I'm prepared to take on the task.''
How did father tell son?
``That's a good question. I don't know,'' Steve Jr. said. ``Probably read in the paper. It's hard to say how we exactly came to it.''
Steve Jr. played at Duke, starting there in 1990 right after his dad left the Blue Devils to coach Florida. Father and son reunited on the Gators' staff from 1994-98. Spurrier Jr. left for Oklahoma in 1999, serving on Bob Stoops' staff for three seasons.
After that, the Spurriers hooked up again for two years with the NFL's Washington Redskins.
When Spurrier was named Gamecocks coach, Steve Jr. left Arizona to rejoin his father.
``I think Steve's a good coach,'' Spurrier said with fatherly pride.
The younger Spurrier will be charged with thinking, studying, and drawing up plans for South Carolina's next opponent. The head coach will be in on offensive meetings.
But with the schemes clearly on Junior's shoulders, the elder Spurrier can spend more time teaching and mentoring South Carolina's young, untested quarterbacks. The son has been active in South Carolina's playcalling the past three years with limited success. ``I suggest a lot. Some go in, some don't,'' he said.
Not all father-son partnerships work out. Jeff Bowden resigned in 2006 as Florida State's offensive coordinator after the son of coach Bobby Bowden was harshly criticized for the Seminoles' offensive struggles.
And then there were the Spurriers' predecessors at South Carolina - head coach Lou Holtz and offensive coordinator son, Skip.
Skip left a burgeoning career as Connecticut's head coach to join his father with the Gamecocks. However, it was evident early on that Skip's philosophy was more like a Spurrier than Lou's emphasis on a strong running game.
Things ended disastrously after a 63-17 home loss to Clemson in 2003. Lou relieved Skip of his coordinator title, although the younger Holtz remained quarterbacks coach for the 2004 season - Lou Holtz's final one before retirement.
The 63-year-old Spurrier joked with reporters at the SEC's preseason football gathering last month that if a play doesn't work, ``I did it. If it goes pretty good, he did it. That will be the way it will go.''
Spurrier Jr. says he carries more than his father's game-calling imprint. At Oklahoma, Spurrier Jr. wrinkles in the passing game from fellow assistants Mike Leach, the current Texas Tech coach, and Chuck Long, now heading San Diego State. Spurrier Jr. learned about the run game there from Mark Mangino, who brought Kansas into the national title picture last season.
The younger Spurrier's ready to call things his own. Don't be surprised if stellar playcalling runs in the family.
``We'll look at some things a little bit differently,'' Spurrier Jr. said. ``But certainly I've been raised on his way of thinking on offense. Hopefully, I've absorbed some information.''