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BRINGING OUT THE BEST
AUSTIN MURPHY
August 22, 2011
Corruption. Fraud. Cheating. Where's the joy in the college game these days? Everywhere from Stanford to South Carolina
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August 22, 2011

Bringing Out The Best

Corruption. Fraud. Cheating. Where's the joy in the college game these days? Everywhere from Stanford to South Carolina

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Spurrier Jr. is thinking of a catch Jeffery made in the fourth quarter of South Carolina's 35--21 upset of No. 1 Alabama last fall. With the Gamecocks up 28--21 and 'Bama rallying, he ran a fade route toward the right sideline.

"I got a bad release, then ran a horrible route," recalls Jeffery. The defensive back was all over him, clutching Jeffery's jersey while pinning the receiver's left arm to his body. "There's nothing Alshon can do," says Spurrier Jr., picking up the story, "so he sticks one hand in the air and catches the ball in the crook of his arm. He knocks [the defender] down, goes out at the six. We score three plays later. I'm watching it on tape later, saying, 'That's a minus, that's a minus'—and it's the play that wins the game for us."

Another picture day is in the books. The elder Spurrier is standing outside a meeting room, feeling his years. "We lost Bubba Smith this week," he says of the former Michigan State great. He and Smith played in some college all-star games after the 1966 season. "He was a fun guy."

"When I was in my late fifties," he went on, "I told myself if I was still doing this in my sixties, I'd delegate the play-calling—just kinda 'CEO it,' like all these other head coaches."

One of the canniest, most intuitive play-callers of his generation, Spurrier has made half-hearted attempts in recent seasons to delegate that duty: to his son, to quarterbacks coach G.A. Mangus. The job always ends up being ... temporary. "What ends up happening," Spurrier admits, is that after a quarter or so of second-guessing, "I just say, 'Shoot, let me take over.'"

"The only reason I do it," he says, "is that I believe I can do it better." Coach, no need to apologize for your talents. You bring joy to a lot of people.

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