Friday, April 21, 2006

Ken Buger column in todays Post and Courier

I love reading Ken Buger's column. For those that don't know him he writes sports columns for Charleston's local newspaper, Post and Courier. Well in his column today he writes about South Carolina and it's football program under Steve Spurrier. For everyone outside of SCU you knew this wasn't going to be the marriage that all Shamecock fans expected. They expected the Ole Ball Coach to come in and poof, bowl seasons after bowl seasons. Well reality is about to hit home and Stevo knows it's coming.

Here's what Ken Burger had to say:

Honeymoon over for Carolina fans

The Post and Courier

When Steve Spurrier first arrived as the latest savior for South Carolina football, he told the fans what they wanted to hear.

Now, he's telling them the truth.

A little over a year ago, when Spurrier rode into town on the proverbial white horse to save the day, he said the Gamecocks had everything they needed to be a winner.

But a year later, he's singing a different tune.

As he begins his second summer of touring Gamecock Clubs around the Palmetto State, his message isn't as optimistic. Despite going 7-5 with big upset wins over Tennessee and Florida in his first season, Spurrier says the Gamecocks have some catching up to do.

"Our message to the fans is that we have to improve our facilities, and yes, that means money," Spurrier told the Greenville News on Tuesday night at a booster meeting. in the Upstate. "I'm not talking about the 98 percent of our fans who contribute loyally every year and do everything they can, I'm talking about the two percent of the wealthy who can step up and really make a difference for us."

Political collateral

So what do the other schools have that South Carolina doesn't have?

After all, USC has been bragging about its new weight-room facility that is supposed to be state of the art. And the stadium seems plenty large enough.

So what's the problem?

Well, Spurrier says he wants renovated dorms, upgrades in the cafeteria, an improved training center and a free-standing academic learning center.

Spurrier knocked the status quo, saying the training center is one "they've had around for about 30 years" and the learning center is "a little room they give us in the library."

Not known for pulling punches when talking about his team or even his own coaching, Spurrier has obviously decided to cash in his political collateral from last season by telling the fans the truth.

And the truth is, "The fans who say, 'we hired Spurrier, now we're gonna win.' It's just not like that," he said. "They might be thinking this is going to be bowl game after bowl game, but people in football know we're not a great team, we have a long ways to go to get to where we want to be."

Rude awakening

And don't think you can clear your conscience just by writing a check.

Spurrier says he's not happy with the small crowd of 8,000 who turned out for the spring game last month, down from the 35,000 who showed up last year.

"We need to have the kind of place where people make plans to come out for the spring game, where it's one of the things you just do," Spurrier said. "Obviously, it isn't like that at South Carolina, but it is like that at Tennessee, Georgia, Florida and some other places."

So, for USC fans who have been told over and over how great they are, this should come as a rude awakening.

Apparently, South Carolina's loyal fan base isn't pulling its weight and needs to pony up more money and make more noise if they are going to measure up to Spurrier's lofty expectations.

Either that, or the Ol' Ball Coach didn't look under the hood before he drove this one off the lot.

Reach Ken Burger at 937-5598 or


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