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The Thread [04.27.08] :: Career Paths

Boyd a Buc. Cory Boyd is headed to Tampa Bay, causing nothing but heartache to those of us who pull for the Gamecocks and the Falcons. Sure, he could have ended up in worse places -- like with the Saints -- but the Bucs? Really?

The Bucs' press release on the event makes playing time look as likely as anything else in Tampa Bay, where the running back situation is a touch unsettled.

The Buccaneers concluded their draft with a running back for the second straight year. Last spring, Tampa Bay's final pick in the 2007 draft was Alabama running back Kenneth Darby, who remains on the roster.

The Bucs' current roster also features 2005 first-round pick Cadillac Williams, who was the NFL Rookie of the Year in '05 but missed most of the 2007 season due to a significant knee injury. Williams is confident he can return from his injury, but he hasn't played since the fourth week of the '07 season and will remain a question mark until he suits up next fall.

The Bucs also return running back Earnest Graham, who emerged as a legitimate force last season after Williams' injury and the one that felled Michael Pittman a week later. Graham ran for 898 yards and 10 touchdowns and averaged 4.0 yards per tote. In addition, the Bucs re-signed Michael Bennett just before the start of free agency and lured former Bucs start Warrick Dunn back to Tampa in March. (HT: LOHD)

So we've finally found a team with more running backs than Southern Cal. This is a discovery, indeed. And the NFL, no less, where roster limits and salary caps are supposed to control such things.

In any case, good luck to Boyd, whom we all hope (and suspect) will turn out to be a steal for the Bucs at No. 238.

Coincidentally, for any non-Gamecock fans who don't understand the fascination with Boyd, it essentially comes down to this: Over the last two years, when everything else about South Carolina -- from Blake Mitchell to the defense -- seemed maddeningly inconsistent, the one thing we could count on was Cory Body playing his heart out. Even if he did make an ill-advised comment every once in a while.

No player seemed to want South Carolina to win worse than Boyd wanted it. Certainly no player (with the possible exception of Syvelle Newton) played more like he wanted South Carolina to win than Boyd did. Which is not to disparage other players.

Boyd set the bar pretty high.

Whose Call? Yes, C&F is aware of the Spurrier play-calling hand-off, even if he's only mentioned it in passing. There will be more on this in the season preview.

In any case, The State does a wider piece on the phenomenon of coaches across the country handing the headsets to someone else.

One of the teams where the coach did this: Georgia. See the spelling-challenged Dawgs play last year? (And by that, C&F means after South Carolina beat them. cough cough) Not guaranteeing the same results here -- a lot of that will depend on how well Spurrier Jr. runs the offense and whether he has, like, a quarterback to run it -- but there do appear to be benefits to letting go of the main play-calling responsibilities.

"Before I was in the middle of the forest chopping wood like everybody else, and there's nothing wrong with that. I think there's some value to the leader being right in the middle of it," Richt said recently. "But once I moved away from that I was able to kind of back away some and see everything from a little bit different perspective, almost from the outside looking in." ...

With his extra time, Richt was able to spend 15 minutes in his office with each of his players last fall, "getting a chance to know them better."

Spurrier, though, isn't entirely backing away from the offense.

Spurrier said the switch allows him more time to look for big-play opportunities against various defensive schemes, which have multiplied during Spurrier's 23 years as a head coach.

C&F also wonders whether Spurrier will be able to resist the urge to jump in if the offense is struggling. (Hopefully, with better results than the 23-0 disaster that ensued when Lou Holtz tried that.) We shall see.

First Base tomorrow won't be pretty. Because any sweep was supposed to go the other way.


Arizona State in trouble with Iran. After all, if the theocracy is really serious about cracking down on things "which do not respect the required norms [and] present dangers for the health of children," then Dennis Erickson has to be at the top of your list.

Patrick Cowan is hurt. This is all Karl Dorrell's fault. Just ask UCLA fans.