Steve Spurrier, Then and Now


Florida heads to South Carolina to face the legend that is Steve Spurrier this Saturday.  (Funny side story: I heard someone say they love Lane Kiffin for his confidence, but hate Steve Spurrier for his cockiness.  People are a hoot!).  The man that made the Gators what they are today is the same man (sort of) that’s stumbling through the years with the Gamecocks.  There were happier times for the Ol’ Ball Coach.  For 12 years, he had Florida putting up points at will and collecting SEC titles like they were pogs (pog reference inserted to relate to the era discussed).  Spurrier was clearly more content in orange and blue then he could ever be in garnet and black.  Over those 12 years as the Gator head coach, he only lost 27 games.  As the 2008 season nears its end, Spurrier will reach that total in only 5 years at South Carolina.  There are visible differences between Spurrier then and Spurrier now…

• The hair.  So perfectly placed back then.  It defined Lego hair.  It snapped on with ease and was rarely out of place.  Sure a tantrum thrown visor could disrupt it from time to time, but he always had it under control.  Winners look good.  The rest, well, look disheveled.  The visor used to be an accent.  Now it’s an excuse.  An excuse to have rouge hairs sticking straight up as if they are attempting to run away and hide in a locker room, far away from SEC mediocrity.

• The shirt.  Although the Gator-scale design was a personal favorite, you can’t deny the stylish look a diamond pattern can produce.  Back then, corporate logos were a second thought.  It was all about the Gators and it was all about Spurrier.  He dressed like any coach.  He dressed like your granddad.  Everything about the shirt was in order.  Now, sigh, disgrace.  All black.  Untucked.  Collar in disarray.  The sign of a man with his best years behind him.  No respect for the image he portrays.  He has become that unkempt shirt.

• The slacks.  There’s a difference between a pair of pants and a quality pair of slacks.  Not everyone can pull off the blue slacks.  Not everyone can do so while crouching and showing off the immaculately clean white socks and program-issued Nikes.  Steve Spurrier then can.  Steve Spurrier now looks like he buys black pants in bulk at Sam’s Club.  Florida Spurrier would never have one hand in his pocket and another at his side.  He was too busy barking orders or berating officials.  He had work to do dammit!  There was no time to laze around.

• The face.  One says “Steve Spurrier, damn glad to meet you.”  The other says “Steve Spurrier, I’d rather be golfing.”  Take the facial expressions as a result of the surroundings.  Behind Spurrier of the past you have Gator Power.  Making the best athletes…better.  You damn right!  The alternate Gator logo of the times says “we’re coming for you” and they were.  40 points.  50.  60.  Even 70.  It would put a smile on anyone’s face.  Behind Spurrier of the present you have a Gamecock looking at a scoreboard that surely spells defeat.

When you’re watching the game this weekend and notice a distracted, distraught Steve Spurrier roaming the South Carolina sideline remember, there were better days.  There were happier days.  The man used to have a fire about him that said “losing?!?  HA!  Winning by 40 isn’t enough!”  It did happen.  We were witness.  We idolized Steve Spurrier, then.