Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Spurrier Takes Himself Out of the Game

And just like that, he's gone. No farewell tour, no victory lap, just gone.

I tweeted about this yesterday evening when the story broke on Twitter, but this topic deserved an entire post.

First of all, anyone who is criticizing Spurrier for not staying until the end of the season has no idea what they're talking about. Also (and this isn't news for y'all who know anything about college football) Spurrier doesn't care what we all think about him.

He was the kind of coach who kept scoring as much as he possibly could, and if the opposing coach complained about him "running up the score", he'd just spin it back around and say that it's the other team's job to stop us.

He didn't follow the script as to coaching norms, whether it was calling plays on the field, saying what he thinks in the press conferences, or otherwise. When he got to South Carolina, he openly called for the Confederate Flag to come down. And that ways way back in 2007, well before everyone changed their minds after the Charleston shooting.

He did everything exactly like he wanted to, all the way up through the end, when he decided that he wasn't the best coach for the job here at South Carolina. As soon as he decided that, he called it quits, because in his mind, that is what was best for the team.

Spurrier is famous for taking struggling quarterbacks out of games midway through games, and putting in the back-up, only to pull the back-up out if he struggled. He always, always preached the gospel of getting the best guy in the position, no matter what. Even though the accepted conventional wisdom in college football is to kind of stay with the starting quarterback through struggles, Spurrier openly defied that and made no-bones about pulling a starting player if he didn't think he was going to be as good for the team as someone waiting in the wings.

He was no different with himself, in the end. He decided that even though he was the head coach, he owed it to his team to get the best guy in the head coach position, and he knew that it wasn't him.

It's fitting that he made the same decision about himself with the same objectivity. It would have been so easy to stay too long, even knowing that you were going to call it quits at the end of the season. Spurrier realized the he needed to take himself out of the game for the good of the team, and good for him.

The Steve Spurrier era has come to an end at the University of South Carolina. It's been a heck of a ride.

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