Spurrier's next call should be calling all the plays

November, 9, 2009
11/09/09
11:49
AM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

Not that Steve Spurrier really needs another suggestion, but I’ve got one for the Head Ball Coach.

Take over the play-calling on offense … now.
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images
South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier doesn't call all the plays for the Gamecocks, but should he?

Listen, I understand the person who’s actually calling the plays on game day can be one of the most overrated duties in football. So much of play-calling is a team effort among the staff, and the plan is devised that week and long before you get ready to call a play on Saturday.

Spurrier is definitely involved, too. He’s calling some plays and overruling others that are called from the box by his son, Steve Spurrier Jr.

But this offense has been bad enough and inconsistent enough that it’s time for the Head Ball Coach to do what he does best – draw up some ball plays.

Make that ... draw up all the ball plays.

It’s got to become his baby again. Nobody was better at calling a game than Spurrier, the feel he had for calling a game and the way he was absolutely fearless in calling a game.

Granted, he doesn’t have the talent he once did at Florida, but he still has the gift of being one of the best play-callers the SEC has ever seen.

Come on. The Head Ball Coach not calling the plays and just being “involved in the play-calling” would be like Michael Jordan not taking the game-winning shot and instead being the guy who inbounds the ball.

It would be like going to see Eric Clapton in concert with Clapton on bass instead of lead guitar.

What makes the Head Ball Coach the Head Ball Coach is his ability to call ball plays. And no matter how involved he is or isn’t, it’s time that he get more involved.

The Gamecocks haven’t scored more than 16 points in their last four SEC games. Tight end Weslye Saunders is grumbling about not getting the ball more and made it clear that Spurrier Jr. is the main guy calling the plays.

They’re already starting to grow restless in Columbia with another late-season fade looming on the horizon.

It’s like another coach in the league told me at the beginning of last season when Spurrier first said he was going to start delegating more of the play-calling duties to his son and the rest of his staff.

“Those people want to see Steve Spurrier call all of the plays, not some of the plays. That’s why they brought him there. It’s what he does best,” the coach said.

As much as anything, Spurrier needs to demonstrate that he has a firm handle on this program as the Gamecocks enter these last two games against Florida and Clemson.

If they’re going to go down, go down with Spurrier calling the plays.

He was genuinely enthused about the young talent in this program back in August, and he still is. The offensive line is a concern and has been a concern really ever since Spurrier arrived in Columbia, but the rest of the roster is dotted with promising freshmen and sophomores.

Spurrier finds himself at a critical juncture as the Gamecocks try to avoid a third consecutive late-season collapse. He desperately wants to get this thing going and do something that’s never been done in South Carolina.

It's why he took the job in the first place. The man loves challenges.

His biggest challenge right now is fixing an offense that ranks 98th nationally in scoring offense. Only Vanderbilt has scored fewer touchdowns in the SEC this season.

The answers to these things are never as simple as they seem. But the first thing I would want to see if I were plunking down money every week to see the Gamecocks play is the guy who revolutionized football in the SEC a decade ago calling the ball plays.

Not just some of them, either. But all of them.

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