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Spurrier’s credibility takes a hit

October 14, 2011

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Steve Spurrier hurt his credibility as a football coach in South Carolina’s home loss to Auburn.

He hurt his credibility as a leader and a man Tuesday when he walked out of a news conference because of the presence of a columnist he doesn’t like and, an hour later, announced quarterback Stephen Garcia was cut.

Spurrier has suspended Garcia, a fifth-year senior quarterback, five times. But Spurrier allowed him to return this summer in time for practice.

Garcia didn’t miss a snap.

Although Garcia didn’t start in South Carolina’s opener in Charlotte against East Carolina, he was integral in helping the Gamecocks overcome an early deficit and beat the Pirates.

But Garcia has played poorly lately. He’s been as likely to throw an interception as he is to get suspended. Spurrier replaced him in the starting lineup with Connor Shaw. The better Shaw has played, the more expendable Garcia has become.

According to ESPN.com, Garcia tested for alcohol and marijuana, and after five suspensions he’s not supposed to do those things. So he’s finally off the team.

Spurrier prefaced his weekly news conference Tuesday by telling the media that “as all of you know we’ve got a negative guy over there.”

The negative guy, says Spurrier, is The (Columbia) State newspaper columnist Ron Morris.

Spurrier said he was upset about a column Morris wrote in March about Bruce Ellington, a South Carolina basketball player.

Morris alleged that Spurrier poached Ellington from the basketball program to the football team.

Spurrier said Tuesday that Morris made the story up.

So are we to believe that for six months Spurrier has silently suffered and chose Tuesday to come out of his shell and address the Ellington story?

Or do you think Spurrier might have been angry about a column in which Morris ripped Spurrier after the Auburn loss?

Spurrier said Tuesday he doesn’t care if writers criticize him. He’s making this up.

He’s called me twice to complain about columns I’ve written, once when he was at Duke and once last season.

He cares desperately how he’s perceived.

Spurrier said as head coach at South Carolina, a public taxpayer-supported institution, he didn’t have to talk to Morris. He left the news conference to adjoin to another room, and invited broadcasters to join him. They were going to talk one-on-one.

The way he said it, they would all get a special treat.

As bad as the Auburn loss was, Tuesday was worse. Spurrier came undone.

What’s that saying?

Ah. I remember.

When the going gets tough, the tough leave the room.

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