Spurrier quietly optimistic about season

South Carolina head football coach Steve Spurrier at SEC Media Days 2010 (WBRC photo)
South Carolina head football coach Steve Spurrier at SEC Media Days 2010 (WBRC photo)

By Dennis Washington

HOOVER, AL (WBRC) - South Carolina head football coach Steve Spurrier says he is optimistic about the upcoming season, but what he isn't saying says even more.

Spurrier, 65, spoke to reporters Thursday at SEC Media Days as he began his sixth season as the head coach of the Gamecocks. He opened his remarks not about plans to win the SEC East, but talking about longetivity, academics and facilities.

The remarks are a stark contrast from the days when Spurrier was the head coach of the Florida Gators. Back then, when Spurrier was leading the Gators to SEC and national championships, he earned a reputation for boasting about his great team and promising great success in the upcoming season.  However, since becoming the head of the Gamecocks, Spurrier had lost almost as many games as he has won and lost more games in five seasons than he did in 12 seasons at Florida.

Spurrier admits he and his staff have work to do.

"We believe we got a team ready to play it this year," Spurrier said. "Our last game out, we were pretty lousy. The Bowl game here in Birmingham, Papa John Bowl, UConn beat us soundly. We haven't forgotten that. Until we prove we can play on a consistent basis, we just got hope. We got to go earn our way to believing that we can be a top SEC team."

South Carolina is predicted to have one of the toughest schedules in the Southeastern Conference this season, which Spurrier admitted Thursday will not make his job any easier.

"It's always a tough schedule at South Carolina," Spurrier said. "Anytime you're sort of the middle-of-the-road SEC team, which we are, you're going to play a tough schedule. Think ours was ranked fourth most difficult by one of the pre-season magazines. It's probably about right. We play a good schedule, but that's part of our game there."

Despite the negativity, Spurrier has high hopes.

"We have belief and hope that our best days are ahead of us," Spurrier said. "I wanted to mention that because we do believe we're heading in the right direction, and hopefully real soon we can get over those seven wins and get up in there and be more competitive."

South Carolina begins football practice on August 3 and will plays its first football game on September 2 against Southern Miss.

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