Sunday, September 14, 2008

Spurrier Goes Down Fighting Until The Bitter End

Spurrier Goes Down Fighting Until The Bitter End
for Gods Among Men: Coaches and Coordinators in the SEC

Moreno, showing off his now legendary leaping ability. Far less players were hurdled this week.

Steve Spurrier, who some say is in virtual retirement in Columbia, South Carolina, others believed would come up with an ingenious way to go to the heart of the University of Georgia game. Many in Columbia and outside were saying that it was Do or Die for The Ol' Ball Coach this week against Georgia.

And the Steve Spurrier we have always known was much more prominent Saturday than what the naysayers have begun to characterize as "The Ghost of Spurrier Past" when the Gamecocks played the #2 Georgia Bulldogs until the very last seconds in a game that had every opportunity to mirror last year's 16-12 upset that derailed Georgia's SEC and National Title hopes.

The Bulldogs trailed for most of the game 6-7 until Moreno scored the go ahead touchdown and Matt Stafford, Georgia quarterback, passed successfully for the two-point conversion making the score 14-7.

South Carolina had three chances in the fourth quarter to tie the game. The Gamecocks drove to Georgia's 2 yard line midway through the fourth quarter when tailback Mike Davis fumbled and lost the football. Later, South Carolina got to the Georgia 17 yard line in the final minute before quarterback Chris Smelley was intercepted.

Returned were the flashes of emotion and frustration that have characterized Spurrier's laregly futile tenure at perennial SEC doormat South Carolina. It was the lack of his trademark visor throwing, berating of officials, and red-faced theatrics during the recent Vanderbilt loss that had everyone from Gamecock faithful to National Media speculating that Spurrier's time in Columbia may be running short. The perception that he largely spends the week playing gold while heir-apparent, Steve Spurrier Jr., does much of the daily head coaching tasks has been drummed up recently but anyone familiar with Spurrier's career knew that the game against lifelong rival, Georgia, brimming with two Heisman candidates in Matt Stafford and Knowshon Moreno was likely to ignite the old fire that saw Spurrier rise to the top of his profession with the Florida Gators in the 1990's.

Despite the seemingly inspired showing, the loss was Spurrier's sixth straight SEC loss, by far the longest of his stellar career.