Scott Michaux

Sports columnist for The Augusta Chronicle. | ScottMichaux.com

Steve Spurrier's behavior is stranger than usual

  • Follow College

At the risk of being branded as a “negative guy” and out to “hurt the football program” at South Carolina, the head ball coach has lost pieces of both his mind and his credibility.

Back | Next
South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier  Associated Press
Associated Press
South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier

Maybe it’s the severe jet lag talking as I try to wrap my head around the bizarre confluence of events Tuesday in Gamecock Nation when Steve Spurrier chose the hour before the summary dismissal of recidivist QB headache Stephen Garcia to suddenly clear his chest over an unrelated column that was written seven months ago, but the coincidental juxtaposition of those two unseemly events strikes me as a little suspicious.

As I’m sure everybody has seen repeatedly since I was out-of-pocket flying halfway across the globe Tuesday/Wednesday, Spurrier rode his high horse into his weekly news conference. He paced the room in front of reporters as he engaged in a rant besmirching The State newspaper columnist Ron Morris for what he called a “fabrication” that he’d written in March about Gamecocks basketball player Bruce Ellington opting to play football in 2011 for South Carolina as well.

Spurrier never called out Morris by name, but he pointed at him across the room several times and declared him to be persona non grata No. 2 in his 26-year coaching career (joining the esteemed Larry Guest, formerly of the Orlando Sentinel). The head ball coach stated that he would no longer give interviews with Morris in the same room and invited the TV cameras for one-on-ones in an adjacent space while presumably the other print guys put together a posse to hang Morris so that the ol’ HBC would come grace them with his thin-skinned wit and wisdom again.

I’m sure it’s only coincidence that this belated boycott of Morris came just a week after a post-Auburn column he wrote under the headline, “In the end, Spurrier coached poorly.” Spurrier couldn’t complain about that one because anybody who read it and watched the moronic final drive against Auburn knew that every word of it was true.

But the conspiracy theorist in me believes that this silly hissy fit had less to do about the columnist and more to do with the exiled quarterback. It smells like a clumsy attempt at misdirection that worked about as well as those misused time-outs against the Tigers.

Less than two hours after his petulant little tantrum, the head ball coach got to issue a statement regarding the inevitable final chapter in a Garcia saga that has been an ongoing public relations disaster.

“We all feel like we’ve given Stephen numerous opportunities to be a student-athlete here at South Carolina. Obviously, he has chosen not to follow the guidelines of his reinstatement contract,” Spurrier said in a statement. “We wish him the best.”

Part of that reinstatement contract must have involved not throwing interceptions. It’s awfully curious that Garcia finally got kicked off the team just days after being benched for being ineffective. Funny how the other five times he ran afoul of the school rules he never missed a game, but then again he was the most effective quarterback the Gamecocks had back then. I’m sure that’s just another coincidence, right?

Given a sixth chance, Garcia had been a grave disappointment halfway through what is presumed to be the most promising season in Gamecocks history. His failure was a reflection on the coaches who kept giving him chances and couldn’t understand how he didn’t respond to the confidence tear-down methods that worked so well for Spurrier with other QBs during his successes at Florida.

Spurrier had pretty much ruined any chance of Garcia ever being the leader the Gamecocks needed this year with his constant criticism. Now he’s stuck with Connor Shaw to try to salvage the championship run. Maybe Shaw will react better to being belittled for his perceived failures.

Garcia claimed to be “shocked and completely flabbergasted” by his sudden dismissal for reportedly failing a substance test that was a condition of his latest get-out-of-doghouse-free card. Excuse me if I don’t share his surprise.

But it seems odd that now is finally the moment that the Gamecocks chose to give up on him once and for all. And it seems even odder that Spurrier tried to preemptively change the subject before having to answer any hard questions about his quarterback.

Perhaps one of those questions should be why the head ball coach chose to stick with the troubled Garcia instead of pursuing N.C. State transfer Russell Wilson, who has emerged as a Heisman Trophy frontrunner as a one-year mercenary at Wisconsin instead of South Carolina where he could have been much closer to his family in Virginia.

If the Gamecocks fail to defend their title as East Division champs in the Southeastern Conference, I’m sure many fans will blame Garcia. He makes a convenient target. Heck, some fans might even follow Spurrier’s logic and blame Morris. Rationality is not a prerequisite for blind allegiance.

But if Shaw can’t be coached up to deliver the wins the Gamecocks need in the second half, blame should be placed where it belongs. When the head ball coach acts erratically, should it be any surprise if his team follows his cue?

Comments (15) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
broad street narrow mind
348
Points
broad street narrow mind 10/14/11 - 08:07 am
0
0
so what is spurrier
Unpublished

so what is spurrier supposedly mad at the reporter about exactly?

johnstuff
0
Points
johnstuff 10/14/11 - 09:02 am
0
0
Sometimes a sports columist

Sometimes a sports columist would fare much better reporting what is know to be true instead of reporting his own speculations as to what may or may not be true......this columist, a well know Georgia Bulldog supporter seems to love to write articles that appear negative to Spurrier and the Gamecocks without concern of what he says being true or simply speculation on his part.......the Augusta Chronicle could sell more newspapers....with more truthful reporting....

mike1sc
217
Points
mike1sc 10/14/11 - 09:08 am
0
0
Scott..Scott...Scott...."At

Scott..Scott...Scott...."At the risk of being branded as a "negative guy" and out to "hurt the football program" at South Carolina"....what a way to start your piece about bashing the Ole Ball Coach. You know, Gamecock fans stuck on this side of the state have to put up with your submissions throughout the year, your little negative pieces about South Carolina, Spurrier, play calling decisions, Garcia, or whatever else you can rustle up. But at the end of the day, the record still reflects that South Carolina, with Spurrier at the helm, has beaten Georgia the last two years.

Its interesting....when you decide to write a negative piece, you cover both ends. In the same article, you criticize the Gamecocks for first keeping Garcia on the team, and later in your piece you criticize them for booting him off. Now that's the best of both worlds...huh! In reality, it only proves one thing....you set out to write a negative piece on the Gamecocks...they still beat Georgia the past two years in a row...that won't change.

justthefacts
23739
Points
justthefacts 10/14/11 - 09:17 am
0
0
What has beating UGA have to

What has beating UGA have to do with the above article? Lot's of people have beaten UGA the last couple of yrs. Get in line. Is beating UGA the litmus stick for coaching at USC? The only goal?

mike1sc
217
Points
mike1sc 10/14/11 - 09:19 am
0
0
Are you really asking that

Are you really asking that question? Michaux is a known Bulldog follower...Spurrier and Gamecocks have rained on Bulldog's party last two years, this year in beloved Athens. Michaux takes every opportunity to jab here and there at Spurrier when possible, especially in times when the Gamecocks have prevailed over the Bulldogs. Relevant? Its relevant.

justthefacts
23739
Points
justthefacts 10/14/11 - 09:31 am
0
0
mike, you can find an article

mike, you can find an article with the same mantra all over the web. Is every sports writer in America a UGA fan. Hardly. If anything, accuse Scott of piling on. But again, it's opinion piece. What in the article is not true?

PManuel
0
Points
PManuel 10/14/11 - 09:45 am
0
0
I take issue with your

I take issue with your belittling of Connor Shaw, e.g., "Now he’s stuck with Connor Shaw to try to salvage the championship run. Maybe Shaw will react better to being belittled for his perceived failures." What an unfair statement for you to make. What you failed to say in your article is how Garcia let his team down, let his fans down, let the Gamecock Nation down. He made the choice, yet another irresponsible decision. He made this bed that he must now lie in. How embarassed his parents and others close to him must be. He has no legacy at USC. Garcia who?

mike1sc
217
Points
mike1sc 10/14/11 - 09:55 am
0
0
Opinion Piece? On the front

Opinion Piece? On the front page of the Sports Section? No, you miss my point. Michaux is not really piling on. Instead, he is supporting one of his own (Morris), and in doing so, greatly stretching the facts. Stretching, you say? Here's the stretch. For the "real" sports reporters following Gamecock football, they were quite familiar with the agreement signed in August with the University AD, which specifically stated Garcia would be tested numerous times weekly throughout the remainder of his last year, the university had insisted on a zero tolerance section in the agreement, due to Garcia's past. In the 10 days before his removal, Garcia was demoted due to poor play, and his Grandfather died. In interviews with Garcia's father in Florida, it was clear the family knew he fought a substance abuse problem, was continuing to support him, and it was during the same ten day span he failed the test and was subsequently removed from the team. For Scott Michaux to state, and I quote "Part of that reinstatement contract must have involved not throwing interceptions. Its awfully curious that Garcia finally got kicked off the team just days after being benched for being ineffective. Funny how the other five times he ran afoul of the school rules he never missed a game, but then again he was the most effective quarterback the Gamecocks had back then. I'm sure that's just another coincidence, right?"

Michaux's comments are misleading....and just crass....

The facts are that Garcia's agreement was a zero tolerance one and when he failed that agreement, he was removed from the team....and Michaux already knew all of this...but that's too simple. In his own twisted way, in an effort to support his cohort Morris, he needed to trash Spurrier and somehow write in a conspiracy theory...which is crass on his part....but he knows that role well.

mike1sc
217
Points
mike1sc 10/14/11 - 10:41 am
0
0
And "justthefacts", the

And "justthefacts", the litmus test at USC is beating Clemson! lol!

LemonJello
19
Points
LemonJello 10/14/11 - 10:50 am
0
0
Got to love the "WE BEAT

Got to love the "WE BEAT GEORGIA" chest beating when Georgia is way down. I think it has been conveniently forgotten that Georgia beat the Gamecocks in every category but the score, giving away 21 points on turnovers at the most damaging end of the field. It showed that Carolina is not invincible and that Georgia is not as bad as people thought. Ever since, Georgia has risen and Carolina has stepped backwards. Wouldn't Dawg fans love to see the two teams play now...even in Williams Bryce. For now, Georgia fans will have to utter the same words that Carolina is so used to saying decade after decade, "wait 'til next year." Every columnist in the South with an opinion to share is head-scratching over Spurrier's timing on this one. Are we forgetting that he is complaining about an article written 7 months ago as a diversionary tactic from addressing the Garcia issue head-on? As usual, Gamecock fans are delusional...thinking that they would be the next Notre Dame with Lou , and the next Florida with Spurrier...and now Spurrier has stepped into a public relations pile of you know what. He's done it before...and he will do it again. Spurrier is a legendary, great, head coach...and he is also a legendary, great, jack--. Even Gator fans will confirm this to be true, and they would hurt themselves to get him back on their sidelines. For what the evil genius lacks in class and grace, he makes up for on the sidelines as a football coach. A master of public relations, he is not.

Gamecrock
0
Points
Gamecrock 10/14/11 - 12:22 pm
0
0
While I agree that Coach

While I agree that Coach Spurrier may have been running a "trick play" with the Morris mis-direction, what isn't questioned is if Morris wrote a piece that was factually lacking. It doesn't matter that Ron Morris is a member of the sportswriters fraternity, it is the truth that matters. If he fabricated news, then you and all writers should be offended, for isn't it the truth that you seek?

mike1sc
217
Points
mike1sc 10/14/11 - 03:35 pm
0
0
"Isn't it the truth you

"Isn't it the truth you seek?" Come on Gamecrock....you don't really believe that, do you? That's like Fox News telling you their reporting is "Fair and Balanced". Sports reporters, report scores of events factually, as they are recorded from numerous sources, and they have no choice. But in other matters, such as this article we are commenting on here, is being played to a home crowd, which for the most part, is anti-USC, especially in those seasons in which the Gamecocks beat Georgia, so speaking factually may not necessarily be one of the requirements in completing the task.

DowntownJaguar
121
Points
DowntownJaguar 10/14/11 - 09:30 pm
0
0
South Carolina fans are

South Carolina fans are small-time. They will live on these past two wins over Georgia for a century. In 2001 Carolina went 9-3 and a video entitled "A Season to Remember" was produced. This is why South Carolina will never be better than 8-5 or 9-4.

Just My Opinion
6064
Points
Just My Opinion 10/14/11 - 09:57 pm
0
0
Mike, you are one paranoid

Mike, you are one paranoid dude! The way you see it, everybody is against Carolina. What's the old saying?..."If you're not for us, then you are against us!". I don't have a dog...or a "dawg"...in this fight, but I do always laugh at you Carolina fans who take GREAT pride and beat your chests when you've beaten Georgia 2 seasons in a row...like that means you've truly "arrived"! Come on, let's be real. If Georgia were to beat Florida 2 times in a row, do you really think any real Georgia fan who really knew anything about football would be beating their chest, thinking Georgia has "arrived"?? No. And that's because we'd know that, due to the horrendous record we've had the last 20 years...geesh, 20 years!!...against Florida, it'd have to take about at least 4 or 5 wins in a row to have us feel we've even BEGUN taking control of the series again. Look, Mike, don't forget, of all the times Carolina has played Georgia (64), you've won 16 times..that's only 25% of the time. You're off to a good start...I'll give you that...and next year I'll give you even more credit if you beat Georgia. But don't be so high and mighty. A real football fan who KNOWS about the game doesn't have to be so paranoid. As far as this paper is concerned, okay, on one hand you may think that Scott is "against" your team. But, on the other hand, you have to LOVE the frequent articles by the other writer (his name escapes me right now) that is always writing some sort of "Grading the Gamecocks" article every week...nothing about any of the other teams. So, okay? Does that make you alittle more happy? BTW, I'll be anxiously watching the Carolina game tomorrow. Who do you think I'll be rooting for??

shrimp for breakfast
5503
Points
shrimp for breakfast 10/15/11 - 12:49 am
0
0
As an Alumni of South

As an Alumni of South Carolina I personally think that Spurrier is a mediocre coach at best. He micro-manages the team to where he puts so much pressure on his players they don't stand a chance. He needs to go. He has never settled on a quarterback the whole time he's been there. A quarterback throws an interception and he yanks them out of the game and goes with another one. Scott you tell me how a quarterback is going to get in any type of rythmn when he's got the cry baby on the sidelines throwing his headset and visor down in disgust like a friggin child. "Old Ball Coach" my eye. South Carolina wiill never win the SEC as long as that egomaniac is in charge. The only reason he did so well in Florida was becuse of the recruting done before he got there. A football tem needs to be loose on the field. I would be on pins and needles trying to make sure I didn't ,make a mistake!

Just My Opinion
6064
Points
Just My Opinion 10/15/11 - 09:02 am
0
0
shrimp, you make 2 excellent

shrimp, you make 2 excellent points. However, even with his antics and tactics, I do think he is a great and smart coach. But, you're right, how can a kid (and they are still kids) react well on the field when he knows that his next pass may very well be his last. He might think he did the smart thing by throwing the ball away, whereas Spurrier might think he shoulda/coulda run the ball. Also, you're right in that Spurrier has never settled on a QB since being there, at least not without some drama being mixed in. You'd think that the Heisman Trophy winner Spurrier, with a history of great QBs from Florida, would make it a priority to have an outstanding QB, and a great backup, at Carolina! I just don't get it. You'd think that high school QBs would be loving the idea of playing under Spurrier. So, what's the problem? I honestly just don't get it. Unless their parents are steering them away from Spurrier...not so much Carolina, but Spurrier??? If someone has an answer, I'd love to hear it. And Scott, that goes for you too.

Back to Top

Top headlines

Disc golf tournament benefits Augusta charity

APPLING — When Paul Childs runs a disc golf tournament, he wants it to mean something for the rest of the community. Childs he found a cause worth supporting: the Ronald McDonald House Charities.
Search Augusta jobs