I spent an hour with South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier Monday morning. With some coaches, there’s a script. Spurrier has no script.
He jumps from subject to subject, talking about getting closer to being able to compete in the SEC with Florida, Georgia and Tennessee, talking about the old days at Florida, talking about Clemson, about the garnet steam through which players will run onto the field at Williams-Brice Stadium this season and about his Uncle Bob.
Uncle Bob lives in Charlotte and Spurrier says I should call him. I tell him I will and Spurrier gives me Uncle Bob’s telephone number. Hi, Uncle Bob.
Out Spurrier’s window is the unlined field at Williams-Brice, the grass thick, pieces of the stadium newly painted. On his desk is an N.C. State media guide. The Gamecocks open the season at home against the Wolfpack. In the bookcase behind Spurrier are footballs commemorating victories past. Two jump out, and both come from his days as head coach at Duke. They are: Duke 21, Clemson 17, and Duke 41, UNC 0. It’s odd to see the higher number next to Duke and the lower number next to Duke’s opponent.
On the dry erase board to the right of his desk is a play that his son, Steve Jr., the receivers coach at South Carolina, diagrammed. He borrowed it from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Spurrier is a friend of Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden.
Oh, about Clemson, Spurrier says: “Well, I wish one of the sportswriters when they start picking everybody’s record this year would write how they’d do if Clemson played South Carolina’s schedule and South Carolina played Clemson’s schedule. They don’t do that.”
In Tuesday’s Charlotte Observer, I suspect that one sportswriter will.
I ask Spurrier what he’d write if he were me.
“Hope is still alive at the University of South Carolina,” he says.