New South Carolina coach Shawn Elliott appears to have re-energized South Carolina’s fan base in addition to its team.
USC supporters outside of Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturday afternoon said they are anxious to see what Elliott can do the rest of the season after taking over a Carolina squad that went 2-4 through six games under previous head coach Steve Spurrier.
“I’m excited. I think he brings a lot of energy to the program,” USC fan Bill Williams, of Lexington, said. “I think he’s got a shot to keep the head job. I think he would do well in recruiting. He brings a lot of energy in recruiting.”
Mark McDonald, of Chapin, has a nephew who played under Elliott when Elliott coached at Appalachian State. McDonald said he has heard nothing but good things about Elliott’s coaching ability.
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“My nephew said he doesn’t know head coach wise how well he’ll do, but he’s glad to see him get an opportunity,” McDonald said. “He knows the guys will be really, really motivated and jacked up to play the game.”
Fans differed on whether Elliott should stay on as South Carolina’s head coach following the season.
Some said they believe he is the right man for the job as long as USC is competitive the rest of the year, while others believe he needs to win out to have a shot. In order to win out, the Gamecocks would have to beat three teams currently ranked in the top 10.
“I think he’s a fantastic coach, motivator and recruiter,” Billy Parnell, of Columbia, said. “I love him, but he’s going to have to win them all to keep the job.”
Added Al Burts, of Columbia, “I think he’s as good as any candidate I’ve seen so far. He knows all of our recruits and he’s from the area. He’s shown how good he is at recruiting with the offensive linemen he’s brought in. They’ve got some spots to shore up, but I’m sure they can do that.”
Several people have questioned the timing of Spurrier’s resignation. Some analysts and fans said he should have stayed throughout the year or at least until USC’s bye week this upcoming week.
However, the consensus on Saturday was that the move came at the right time.
“I would have liked to see him finish out the year, but in hindsight I was glad to see it from a recruiting standpoint. It made sense after I heard that,” McDonald said. “I think we had some players who had kind of given up and quit a little bit this year. I think they need to get behind somebody and get excited about football again.”