For this edition of "Wisdom from the Other Side," we do something a bit different. The guys over at Saurian Sagacity suggested that we each write a post for each other's blog. Their effort follows below. Be sure to check out Saurian Sagacity for my post. Both, unsurprisingly, are about the same man.
The Old Ball Coach.
Everyone knows who you are talking about when you talk about the Old Ball Coach. Born in Miami, raised in Tennessee and currently coaching in Columbia. But he's not a Cane or a Vol or a Cock. He's a Gator.
A lot of Gators have mixed feelings about the Old Ball Coach. Not me. I love the guy. I don't blame him for leaving to the NFL; he had $25 million reasons to do that. I don't blame him for coaching another team in our conference, a team in our division no less; the welcome mat wasn't exactly out for him when he came a calling after Ron Zook was deservedly canned. Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge Urban Meyer fan (because I think he's a younger version of Spurrier and because I think he's the right man for our program today), but I can't help but smile when I think of the Old Ball Coach.
Steven Orr Spurrier made Florida football feared, respected and hated. And love everything about that. Nothing makes me happier than to see fans of other schools get their noses out of joint because of some jab that Spurrier gets in during a press conference or at booster club dinner. Honestly, if that Gators can not win the SEC East in any given year, there is no other team that I'd want playing in Atlanta than South Carolina as long as the Old Ball Coach is roaming the sidelines.
But, alas, the Gators are still alive in the race for the SEC East and the only way they can make it to Atlanta is for the New Ball Coach to get over on the Old Ball Coach. Last year's game was way too close for comfort and was used by critics of the Gators and proponents of the Wolverines as a reason to keep the Gators out of the BCS title game. How many times did we hear that we would have lost if not for those blocked kicks? As if special teams wasn't part of the game.
To me this year's edition of the Cocks is an enigma. The offense looked inept in the early part of the season, and the defense was stout. It seems like the roles reversed as soon as Spurrier went back to Blake Mitchell. The offense suddenly began to move the ball and score while the defense became porous.
As my co-blogger Mergz recently pointed out, the Gamecocks defense "was imploded and laid bare by the Arkansas Razorbacks. The numbers involved boggle the mind -- 651 yards total offense by the Hogs, including 542 yards rushing. Arkansas converted 10 of 13 third-down attempts."
Looking at the match-up, I don't know how I could predict anything but a high scoring game. As I've become fond of saying, the Gator defense can't stop the run and it can't stop the pass; other than that, they are OK. A determined Spurrier and a suddenly competent Blake Mitchell scare the crap out of me.
In the end, the Cocks may win on Saturday. They may even have great success in the future. But one thing is certain. The Old Ball Coach was, is and always will be a Gator.