LIKE IT IS : Spurrier strives to solve South Carolina puzzle

HOOVER, Ala. – There is something about the Ol’ Ball Coach that keeps most folks from truly disliking him even if their favorite team is playing him.

Steve Spurrier has a healthy dose of ego, but he has an awshucks, gee-whiz drawl that makes his well-aimed arrows seem more like darts.
A year ago at SEC media days, he boldly stated that South Carolina was ready to compete, and he didn’t give an inch after losing the last five games.

Listening to him closely Friday, you came away knowing he knows he needs better players. It wasn’t coaching, in his mind, but a lack of proper execution.
This is the man who while at Florida dubbed Florida State University “Free Shoes U”after sports agents paid for some Seminoles to go on a shopping spree at a Tallahassee Foot Locker.
He can be brash but then turn around and charm Barack Obama and John McCain into having a double cheeseburger dinner together at Wendy’s.
If you could only use one word to describe him, it would be winner.
Spurrier has won everywhere he has been as a player and coach, except with the Washington Redskins, but he won the lottery there with a buyout that left him very, very financially secure.