Monday, August 06, 2007

THE THREAD: CHILL OUT, MAN


Take a step back. Breathe. There, isn't the world beautiful?

The media has been going crazy over Steve Spurrier's threat to leave if no changes are made to the admissions process, and rightly so. When a legendary coach says he might bolt a ... well, not legendary program, fans and beat writers get a bit antsy.

Well, it's okay, because the South Carolina board of trustees is on the case. There also seems to be a sense on the board -- judging from their comments -- that this wasn't something that no one was aware of until Sunday.

Dr. Eddie Floyd, a former chairman of the board, said USC had "adequate" warning this was a problem and that it was "a failure of leadership" to correct it.
Floyd said he didn't know if that failure was that of USC president Andrew Sorensen, USC provost Mark Becker or athletic director Eric Hyman.
"This is an academic problem," said trustee Othniel Wienges, chairman of the Intercollegiate Activities Committee. "Coach shouldn't have to say anything."
Herbert Adams, chairman of USC's board of trustees, said changes should be
made and that he expected they would be.
"I talked with the president, and he said basically what they're trying to do is get a little quicker read on kids so they don't waste the coach's time and not waste the athlete's time," Adams said.

But even if no one was taking action immediately, it might not be the end of the world. Let's take a look at the actual text of what Spurrier said. All of it can be found here. Like the beat writers, I've excerpted things, but a bit more fully and with different emphasis.

The president has already told me how we're going to change how we do admissions here, but I think we need to get it out to the high school coaches and the players out there that this is not going to happen again. As a head coach, one of the big things I've always tried to follow, in a player-coach relationship, honesty has to be the centerpiece of everything you have to do with your players. And it starts when you recruit them. ... But we had a plan in place that if we oversigned, there's a perception out there that South Carolina oversigned and that they are just getting rid of guys, and that's not true. That's not true on our coaching staff. We had a plan in place to grayshirt if they all qualified. ... Again, I'm not criticizing the president, he said we're going to change how we do it. We're going to change, but for our creditibility, mine and the coaching staff, I just want the high school coaches, the parents of the players and all of them to know that that's not going to happen here if I continue to be the coach, and I plan on being the coach here a long time. ... We suffered a severe blow cred[i]bility wise around North Carolina, Anson County, where Michael Bowman is from, and Jacksonville, FL where Arkee Smith is from. I'm trying to do what I can to help that right now and to try to restore whatever credibility that we can get in those schools. As long as I'm the coach here, we're going to take guys that qualify. If not, then I'm going to have to go somewhere else because I can't tell a young man you come to school here, he qualifies, and not do that. [EMPHASIS C&F's]

This is what it looks like to C&F: Spurrier was trying to get the word out that this won't happen again, something he repeatedly stressed. In order to get that word out, Spurrier had to make sure that people took notice. One way to do that -- whether you're serious about it or not, and C&F thinks he is -- is to say that you'll quit if things don't change. Spurrier recognized the enormous rumor mill that was generated when we thought he might be talking to Alabama, and knew which button to push. Mission accomplished.

Again, C&F thinks the threat wasn't an empty one. But look at what Spurrier says: Sorensen "has already told me how we're going to change how we do admissions here." That's a key phrasing. If Sorensen tells Spurrier that the school is going to change the process, that still means the details have to be ironed out. Telling HBC how the process is going to change is another matter.

True, C&F might be parsing the words too closely on that one. But it appears that Spurrier wasn't trying to issue an ultimatum, at least not one he expected to have to act on. Instead, he seems to be saying: "Don't bail out on this." It's an insurance policy. And, most importantly, it shows the high school coaches and players who might wonder what's going on at South Carolina that Spurrier is dead serious about this.

C&F isn't oblivious to the potential for this to blow up. But he feels much better about it than he did several hours ago.

Elsewhere:
--A kicking Colquitt is looking to take over all the leg-related duties at Tennessee. Meanwhile, the TFP and Fulmer take coach-speak to an extreme.

Fulmer mentioned there were several confrontations on Sunday because of the high energy.
"They are trying to take the challenge that's out there for them," Fulmer said. "J.T. is leading the way and him and Demonté both had really good days today. That's encouraging as heck."

Fulmer also calls World War I "fisticuffs on the continent."


Gentlemen, gentlemen: Stop this confrontation.

--Wisconsin RB Lance Smith is back on the team despite pleading guilty to two misdemeanors that could lead to nine months in the clink. The charges againt Smith include pushing his girlfriend, keeping her in his apartment against his will and taking ... her shoes? He does know how hard it is to run in heels, right?
--Notre Dame will have a QB this year. Shhhhh. It's a secret.
--Less of a secret is what Derrell Hand was up to Thursday afternoon. That would be soliciting a prostitute. Allegedly, of course. Man, there's more and more competition to prove who can do the most creative thing with scholarship money.

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