Spurrier’s quarterbacks have his back now

Watching Steve Spurrier coach always was highly entertaining. (Todd Bennett/GettyImages)

Watching Steve Spurrier coach always was highly entertaining. (Todd Bennett/GettyImages)

Steve Spurrier took a fair share of grief upon his sudden departure at South Carolina. Hey, he dished out plenty over his long and snipe-filled coaching career. So, Spurrier can take a little now. That’s a reasonable return on his investment in barbs and one-liners.

But this past week, one key figure from his past spoke another, more balanced, view of a coach quitting on his team in mid-season.

That would be Shane Matthews, Spurrier’s first quarterback at Florida when he returned to coach there in 1990, who said:

“I’m a little bit (disappointed). He was never a rah-rah type guy in the locker room but he always said – and I preach this to the kids I coach now – keep playing. There are going to be good things that happen and bad things that happen throughout the course of the game, but keep playing to the end.

“But then again, the way his mind works, if someone’s not getting the job done, you’ve got to make a change. Like alternating or benching his quarterbacks. Well, it’s kind of like he benched himself here.”

We spoke with some of those who had the most intimate contact with Spurrier’s gifts for offense and for being offensive – his quarterbacks – for a story in Sunday’s AJC. There emerged the informed impression that the manner of his departure was not going to significantly subtract from the breadth of his legacy.

Even those who had strong personality clashes with their coach – like the Gators (and former Falcon) Doug Johnson – were only understanding and supportive in the aftermath. “A sad day for college football,” Johnson called Spurrier’s departure.

They know better than most Spurrier’s faults and his flights of football genius. They know all the shades of his personality, from dark to light. And they seem to realize which, in balance, will be remembered in the end.

As the pile that jumped on his October resignation slowly disperses, a softer view of Spurrier’s tenure undoubtedly will remain.

The way Spurrier chose to exit was, to put it indelicately, chicken-bleep. But that washes away with the next rain, leaving behind the innovator, the agitator and the competitor whose absence makes college football a little poorer. The quarterbacks he rode so hard know that, and we’ll do well to keep that in mind also.

Reader Comments 0

23 comments
TreeRollins
TreeRollins

I'm tired of people criticizing a 70 year old man for realizing he wasn't getting the job done to his or his fans' satisfaction and thus retiring. These are the same people that always had an issue with this guy and are using this as their axe to grind. He was a great coach and one of the most outspoken honest coaches the media has ever seen - agree with him or not.

The Dogfather
The Dogfather

@TreeRollins This guy brought it on himself--all he did was criticize- and when the burner got hot he left HIS team out to dry.  you can call him what YOU want but his ACTIONS are much louder than his words. 

MoistDawg
MoistDawg

looks like we get the last laugh we probly had alot to do with making him give up after we dominated there team 52-20 he may have beaten us a couple times at floriduh but in the end we win just like tech and i hope we still win the confrence championship just to rub it in his stupid face one more time lol!

WardinConyers
WardinConyers

@MoistDawg What do you mean "we?"  The way you write portends that you probably did not go to college, even UGA.  

Steve_The_King_Spurrier
Steve_The_King_Spurrier

Spurrier 16:7 


On the eighth day, scientists at the UGA Animal Husbandry Center created a killer cyborg goat. Since then, UGAAHC agents have been working feverishly to secure a rudimentary time machine.  Plans have been made to send the killer goat back to 1945 Miami Beach to prevent my birth.


brian4567
brian4567

Nothing funnier than a mutt fan hack taking a closing shot at Spurrier. "The way Spurrier chose to exit was, to put it indelicately, chicken-bleep."  First off, when is it right for a college coach to leave? You can not really tell recruits you will not be around by their 5th year. They will probably go somewhere else. Also, This is not the pros where you are drafted, the 5 star recruit chooses which college he will play for 100% of the time. I agree with Matthews, Spurrier benched anyone and it was time to bench himself. To these guys it's a job, to fans it is a passion. Bowden at FSU did it best when he had his successor ready years before he left. Everyone knew it was jimbo Fishers team next. Spurrier benched himself. End of story. 

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

Alright Dog fans since the AJC has stuck us with the dud of a site (Dawgnation) lets use this site to discuss the UGA /Mizzou game tonight. Just my way of keeping Steve employed at the AJC.

7576DAWG
7576DAWG

Spurrier, the individual , I despised . When you are beating a team by 4 touchdown and there is only 8 minutes left in a game you run the ball up the middle and run the clock out . When there is less than a minute in the game you take a knee , you don't throw the ball. Spurrier did all of these , especially when he was at Florida. Complete , sorry excuse for a human being. Mean, arrogant, revengeful, narcissistic , bully personality , all could describe Spurrier. 

After saying all of that , he was one of the greatest Football Coaches ever in College Football. If anyone ever read my comments over the years you know that I feel the most important person on the field is the team leader , the Quarterback. Spurrier was a Great Quarterback Coach and PLAY CALLER. The game of Football will miss him. 

In this case I don't think he quit on his team. I have been saying for 2 years now that any Recruit who went to South Carolina would not have Spurrier as a Head Coach when they left. Everybody gets old and when it is time to retire , you retire . You do yourself a favor and everybody around you , one. With Spurrier leaving now he doesn't have to lie to every Recruit who is going to ask him , " WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO LEAVE ". Now ,the Position Coaches know what to expect . the Recruits know that Spurrier won't be there and South Carolina has a jump on everybody in trying to find a replacement. This is better for everybody . It is even better for Georgia because we don't have to prepare to play against one of the best Football minds in the business. 

The Dogfather
The Dogfather

@7576DAWG   0-4 versus georgia as a player---his senior year florida was rank#1--Georgia beat florida and spurrier won the heisman.   good luck coach 

WardinConyers
WardinConyers

@7576DAWG Well said. BTW, having retired from teaching after 33 years, just a few years ago, I felt it when it was time to hang it up.  And I had that feeling about Spurrier too.  You just know, if and only if you are really paying attention.  

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

I see that things are back to normal on Steve's blog. Last week was an aberration of Dog fans having no other place to vent. Back to an average of  1 post every 2 hours ,the blog is humming along as usual.

Surelyyoujest
Surelyyoujest

" if someone’s not getting the job done, you’ve got to make a change. Like alternating or benching his quarterbacks. Well, it’s kind of like he benched himself here.”

What a succinct and profound statement!  This explains it all - thanks Mr. Matthews.

And, when my last two employers decided that I was no longer worthy of their employ, neither of  them asked me to stay on until "the end of the year" - they just showed me the door right then and there.  What Spurrier did was best for all involved!

jezel
jezel

Any one who has coached for some time...knows... when it is time to leave. Many would not have the courage and resources to do what Spurrier did.


Apparently the players had quit listening to him and at 70 he felt there was no time for him to correct it. And that it was best for all... to get a coach who would be around another decade  to see the process through.


Spurrier did the best job any coach could do in a small state where recruiting must cross state lines. I think Paul Dietzel ( LSU ) and Lou Holtz ( Notre Dame )...both NCAA champs...would say the same thing.


Go and enjoy yourself Steve....you deserve it. No other SC coach has ever done it better. Congratulations.

WardinConyers
WardinConyers

@jezel As a die-hard gamecock and graduate of USC, I remember Lou and Paul trying real hard to make my alma mater a winner.  They brought integrity to the program, but little else. Dietzel was a godly man.  Everyone was very excited when Lou Holtz came to Columbia.  He was especially nice to my sister and her kids when they ran into him and his lovely wife at a local restaurant, taking time to encourage my nephew.  But Lou was already past his prime and left after a few years with a not-quite .500 record at Carolina.  Before he left, he recommended Steve Spurrier.    Good one, Lou.

ErkMunson
ErkMunson

Just glad to see the Dawgs hang "half a hundred" on the ole' HBC between the hedges in his final (half) season. 

DawgNole
DawgNole

@ErkMunson

I expect that ironic number (52) helped hasten his hasty departure.

GaLatino
GaLatino

What is it about coaches from Florida who always seem to quit as soon as things go south?

Termigator
Termigator

Better than anyone who ever coached the Leg Humpers.

BCB
BCB

Spurrier is a sore loser. He quit on those young men and promised the recruits he signed the past two years he would be coaching for 4 or 5 more years. I feel sorry to the players and their families he lied to.

Waynejacket
Waynejacket

@BCB The man is 70 years old and deserves to make his own decision. Have you ever quit a job?