USC FOOTBALL

Work-smart approach helps focus Steve Spurrier

jkendall@thestate.comJune 21, 2014 

South Carolina head football Steve Spurrier

TIM DOMINICK — tdominick@thestate.com

Steve Spurrier played his best golf round of the summer Wednesday in North Carolina.

“Shot an 80, bogeyed the last two holes hitting an 8-iron and 9-iron into the green, but anyway …” South Carolina’s coach said. “If I break 80, that’s a pretty good round.”

It was his first round in a week, and he’s found that longer breaks between rounds help his game.

“That’s one thing I really believe has helped me to get fired up about the team and coaching, I guarantee you in July the … when is media day golf? July 24th. When that thing is over, I’m going to take the clubs out of the car and put them in the garage, so the car will be a little lighter, and I’ll have no desire to play golf,” Spurrier said. “I will be all into getting the team ready. People around the country say, ‘Do you play during the season a little bit?’ No. I don’t even hit balls. I think Lou (Holtz) would hit balls on Friday morning. I’ve got no desire to even hit balls.”

Spurrier has long been an avid golfer and is the college football coach most closely associated with the game. He’s a two-time winner of Chick-fil-A Bowl Challenge, along with former Gamecock Sterling Sharpe, and he’s a regular at the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship in Lake Tahoe, Calif., but his summer schedule doesn’t include as much golf as it once did.

That doesn’t mean, though, that he’s filling that extra time with 12-hour film sessions in the office.

“I have read stories that people who last a long time have outside interests. I can’t grind on football 11 months a year maybe the way some of these coaches do. They can grind now,” Spurrier said. “I mean, they will go 6:30 a.m. to 7:30, 8:00 at night in the offseason. Did you know that? I don’t know what they do. They say they are working.”

Spurrier is 77-39-0 in nine seasons at South Carolina and 219-79-2 in 24 years as a collegiate head coach.

“I told Nick Saban one time, I said, ‘Nick, you don’t have to stay there until midnight and your teams would be just as good and win just as many,’ ” Spurrier said. “He said, ‘If I could do it the way you do it, I would, but I don’t feel comfortable unless I try to cover every base, every angle, be totally prepared.’ I said, ‘Well, that’s probably why you do it.’ When I come out there, I feel comfortable we are ready to play. We have our game plan in, going to call this, call that and so forth. Everybody is different as far as when they feel they are totally prepared.”

The Gamecocks have won a school-record 11 games in each of the past three seasons.

If he worked longer hours “would we be 12-1 instead of 11-2? Oh, you’re kidding,” Spurrier said. “I haven’t heard anybody say that really, but if you wanted to, you can find faults with anybody if they don’t win them all. How many SECs has (Saban) won there in eight years? He’s won two. He’s won three nationals, but he’s only won two SECs in eight years. Now, if you had the No. 1 recruiting class every year and so forth, I don’t know if he has maxed out potentially as well as he could.”

Spurrier compared his work-smart approach to that of former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden, who Spurrier has tried to emulate in several professional areas.

“One thing in all of his books, and I have read a lot of them or most of them, he never talks about outworking his competition,” Spurrier said. “He doesn’t talk about spending more hours in the film room or the meeting room. He talks about the time with his players.

“Coach Wooden, nowhere does he talk about all the hours he spent watching game film. I sort of like that.”

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