Spurrier has Georgia's respect entering Saturday's showdown

Spurrier has Georgia's respect entering Saturday's showdown

September 16th, 2015 by David Paschall in Sports - College

Steve Spurrier has won more games over Georgia (16) than any other college football coach.

Photo by Chuck Burton

ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia star tailback Nick Chubb and defensive menace Jordan Jenkins were still in diapers when current South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier won his fourth consecutive Southeastern Conference title in 1996 with the Florida Gators.

They never experienced the disdain many Georgia fans harbored when Spurrier's Gators were winning 11 of 12 meetings, many of them blowouts, and they feel no animosity now toward a coach who has spent 23 seasons in the SEC. Even if Spurrier's Gamecocks have defeated the Bulldogs four of the last five seasons.

Bulldogs glance

* No. 7 Georgia (2-0, 1-0 SEC) vs. South Carolina (1-1, 0-1)
* Sanford Stadium
* Saturday, 6 p.m.
* ESPN and 102.3 FM

Linebacker Jordan Jenkins (59) scoops up a fumble during Georgia's homecoming game against Appalachian State in Athens, Ga.

Linebacker Jordan Jenkins (59) scoops up a fumble...

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

Georgia tailback Nick Chubb rushed 16 times for 120 yards last week against Louisiana-Monroe in an offense that rushed 38 times out of 52 plays.

Georgia tailback Nick Chubb rushed 16 times for...

Photo by Rob Saye

Dog catchers

College football coaches with the most number of wins against Georgia:

Steve Spurrier (16-6)

Shug Jordan (15-10)

Bobby Dodd (12-10)

Phillip Fulmer (11-6)

Bear Bryant (9-3)

"When I was getting recruited, my dad told me that I really needed to respect Coach Spurrier," Jenkins said Tuesday. "My dad would talk about all the things he did when he played and all the things he accomplished as a coach. My dad has always spoken highly of Coach Spurrier."

Spurrier, whose Gamecocks visit No. 7 Georgia this Saturday night in Sanford Stadium, is the first 70-year-old head football coach in league history. He is also alone in being the winningest coach at two separate SEC schools, posting a 122-27-1 record at Florida and an 85-46 mark at South Carolina.

Much of his success has come at the expense of Georgia, as his 16 victories over the Bulldogs are more than any other coach has tallied.

"We've just been fortunate to get some breaks here and there and win some close games," Spurrier said Tuesday in a news conference. "We've lost some close games with them, too, but we've played them really well at home, and we've won a couple over there since I've been here.

"Who knows why sometimes you win close games over one team and not another team."

Spurrier said his favorite win over Georgia remains Florida's 26-24 upset triumph in 1992, which clinched the first of five straight SEC East titles for the Gators.

The Spurrier-coached Gators averaged 36.1 points against the Bulldogs from 1990 to 2001. His Gamecocks have averaged 33.7 the past six years against Georgia.

"You can never count them out," Jenkins said, "because Spurrier is going to find a way to get them rolling on offense."

Said Chubb: "He has a great offensive mind. He draws up plays on the sideline. He's crazy good."

Spurrier's run at Florida was highlighted by six SEC titles and the 1996 national championship. His tenure at South Carolina has been headed by three consecutive 11-2 seasons from 2011 to '13.

South Carolina enters this week's game with an all-time record of 584-554-44. The Gamecocks were nine games under .500 before Spurrier's arrival.

Bulldogs counterpart Mark Richt, who is 5-6 against Spurrier as a head coach, was asked Tuesday if he could imagine himself coaching in the SEC at 70.

"I don't know," he said. "I think the older you get, the more you realize you still have some juice. Coach Spurrier is still doing a great job, but I don't want to even predict what's going to happen down the road."

Spurrier is not planning a retirement timetable, but his age is being used against him in recruiting. The Gamecocks had the SEC's eighth-ranked signing class earlier this year, according to Rivals.com, and their commitment crop for 2016 is ranked 12th in the league.

Chubb visited South Carolina in May 2013, which was before his senior year at Cedartown High, but Spurrier was down in Gainesville receiving the "Great Floridian Award." A few days later, Chubb committed to Georgia.

"I pushed my commitment date back for them, but I probably would have come here anyway," Chubb said. "They said if I came in and worked hard that I could have the same opportunity as Marcus Lattimore did. It would have been great to have met him, but I was coming here."

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.


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