ATLANTA – Steve Spurrier may not be finished as a coach, after all. The one-time Head Ball Coach at South Carolina and Florida told SEC Country he may consider returning to the coaching ranks as an offensive coordinator or quarterbacks coach “down the line.”
Even if he had to do it as volunteer high school coach.
“I think if I miss anything, it would be calling plays on offense,” Spurrier said Wednesday. “Being an offensive coordinator, that was probably more fun than being head coach. Being an actual play caller and getting to coach quarterbacks and receivers and all that. Maybe, somewhere down the line.”
Less than a year after he abruptly retired from South Carolina, Spurrier spoke with some regret about his exit and said he wishes he had taken on a larger role in the Gamecocks’ offense last year. He misses calling plays and working with young people.
“I delegated way too much,” Spurrier said. “The assistant coaches say, ‘I can handle the O-line, I can handle the running backs.’ Eventually you keep delegating everything and you’re in charge of nothing. If I could have that do-over again, I’d be in there yelling and screaming at everybody, and encouraging everybody on offense.”
These days, Spurrier is watching as many games as he can. He caught all of South Carolina’s win over Vanderbilt. He was on hand for Florida’s win over Massachusetts. He even watched most of the Ole Miss-Florida State game.
When Spurrier travels, he’s not out visiting recruits. He’s out promoting his new book “Head Ball Coach: My Life in Football”. His travel itinerary still resembles that of a college recruiter. He was in Gainesville for practice on Tuesday, at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta on Wednesday, and headed to Columbia on Thursday.
Speaking at a book signing event, Spurrier is very much the same person he was in his time at Florida and South Carolina. He’s jovial with everybody, telling jokes and making people smile. All while checking the time on his flip phone.
He’s grateful for all that college football has given him: a Heisman Trophy, a national championship and his name on Florida’s field. But he’s also done with the game as a head coach.
“I was head coach for long enough. I was a head coach for 30 years,” Spurrier said. “Blessed and fortunate to get that many in. My head coaching days are over, I’m almost convinced of that.”
Spurrier is still very well connected to both Florida and South Carolina. He serves as a consultant and ambassador for the Gators. He’ll watch practice and make suggestions to Jim McElwain and the staff, but little more than that in terms of X’s and O’s.
His son, Scott, is a quality control coach on Will Muschamp’s staff with the Gamecocks. And after a decade at the school, Spurrier is still plugged into the South Carolina program.
Having watched both the Florida and South Carolina games, Spurrier was more impressed with the Gamecocks come-from-behind win over Vanderbilt than the Gators 24-7 win over UMass.
“I know for the opening game, the Gator coaches said ‘opening game, new quarterback, this, that and the other, it was decent.’ But the game was 10-7 in the fourth quarter. None of us thought it would be that close but it was,” Spurrier said about the Gators. “Hopefully we can get some offense, score some points.”
He added that the Florida defense was going to be real solid throughout the season and that it was up to the offense to improve.
As for the Gamecocks, he liked how the team fought. He knows how big the win can be for a team that went 3-9 last season. While the result may have been a surprise, Spurrier wasn’t shocked that Elliot Fry nailed the game-winning 55-yard field goal.
“They got one drive, then a couple of drives and tied it up at 10,” Spurrier said. “Then Elliot Fry, who I think is the best kicker in college football, nailed that 55-yarder. It was a wonderful win.”
Spurrier feels pretty good about both Florida and South Carolina this week. The Gators host the Kentucky Wildcats, while the Gamecocks take on the Mississippi State Bulldogs.
The offensive guru, who wonders why LSU can’t develop an offense, doesn’t agree with the idea that the SEC’s quarterback play is in decline. He thought Chad Kelly looked pretty good against Florida State. And he thinks Florida quarterback Luke Del Rio has some talent.
Spurrier said the biggest thing for teams when developing a young quarterback is patience. And he singled out one of the Gators’ rivals as one of the best quarterback developers in college football.
“There are still some really good quarterbacks out there. They just need training,” Spurrier said. “They need a good coach to sort of live with them and get them ready to play. I think Jimbo Fisher at FSU does a good job as anybody coaching quarterbacks.”
Spurrier was quick to also credit McElwain and Florida offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier in their ability to develop quarterbacks.