Spurrier to assume play-calling duties

Updated: April 7, 2010, 8:38 PM ET
By Chris Low | ESPN.com

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- South Carolina's Steve Spurrier, aka the Head Ball Coach, says he's going to get back to being the Head Ball Coach next season.

Most notably, he's going to resume calling all of the Gamecocks' offensive plays.

"I called most all of them last year, but I'm going to call them all this year," Spurrier told ESPN.com on Wednesday. "Sometimes, you think, 'Well, it's probably best to delegate a little bit more, this, that and the other.'

"But, no, I told the guys the other day that I'm going to go back to doing it the way I did it at Florida. I'm going to call the plays, or else they're going to all come through me."

Who was actually calling the plays the last two seasons has been a polarizing topic for South Carolina fans, ever since Spurrier said he was going to delegate a lot of the play-calling duties to his son, Steve Spurrier, Jr., and others on his offensive staff.

The elder Spurrier is considered one of the best playcallers in SEC history, and South Carolina fans weren't thrilled with the idea that he wouldn't be doing one of the things that's made him a surefire Hall of Famer.

Known for his unpredictability, Spurrier said his entire offensive staff would still be very involved in drawing up the offensive plan each week. In particular, he said first-year offensive line coach and running game coordinator Shawn Elliott would be heavily involved in choosing running plays.

The Gamecocks are running more zone read plays under Elliott, who was at Appalachian State previously. Elliott is the Gamecocks' third different offensive line coach in as many years.

"It's pretty good stuff, and we're trying to expand it this spring," Spurrier said. "The offensive line doesn't have to be as great as Alabama's or Florida's, maybe, to get some running lanes in there."

The Gamecocks were last in the SEC in rushing offense last season, averaging just 121.2 yards per game. They also tied LSU for the most sacks allowed in the SEC (37) and ranked 105th nationally.

Spurrier said he's been too tolerant of soft play at South Carolina and that he's turning up the intensity on everybody.

That includes starting junior quarterback Stephen Garcia, who has really drawn the ire of Spurrier this spring.

"I'm going to yell and scream and be a jerk," said Spurrier, who was known for throwing his visor at Florida. "I hope one or two players say, 'That Coach Spurrier is yelling at us all the time.' Nobody has said that lately. I'm going to try and be a little bit more of a jerk to some guys, because we've put up with too much soft play, put up with pitiful effort by some guys and put up with just not good team play."

Heading into his sixth season at South Carolina, Spurrier has lost five or more games each of his first five seasons in Columbia. He's won more than seven games only once.

Still, the 35 wins mark the best five-year run in South Carolina football history.

"If we're going to ever achieve anything, we've got to change our ways, and it probably needs to change with the head coach being a lot tougher and a lot meaner to some of these guys that are too soft around here," Spurrier said.

Chris Low covers the SEC for ESPN.com.

Chris Low | email

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