On a day when his coaching tree branched out to Ohio, South Carolina's Steve Spurrier did not endorse Eric Wolford's jump to Youngstown State.
Wolford was introduced as the Penguins' coach Tuesday afternoon, ending his tenure as the Gamecocks' offensive line coach and run game coordinator after one season.
Spurrier tried to talk Wolford into staying at USC. But the 38-year-old called Spurrier on Tuesday to tell him he was leaving for the FCS school in his hometown.
"If it's a good decision, time will tell. I didn't think it was the right decision for him right now," Spurrier said. "But we all have choices to make, and that's what he wanted to do. He wanted to go back to his hometown and be a head coach."
Graduate assistant Andy Boyd, a former USC tight end who worked with Wolford this season, will serve as the interim line coach until Spurrier hires a replacement. That likely will not happen before the Gamecocks' Jan. 2 matchup with Connecticut in the Papajohns.com Bowl.
"We're not going to be in a big hurry," Spurrier said. "We're going to get the best guy we can."
Spurrier said he had a stack of applicants interested in becoming the Gamecocks' third line coach in as many years. While acknowledging staff movement is part of college coaching, Spurrier said he did not expect to be hiring for the line position again so soon.
"I thought he'd be here longer than one (season)," Spurrier said. "But he got a head-coaching opportunity, and that's what he wanted. So we'll move on."
Another USC assistant, rumored to be a target of Tennessee, plans on sticking around.
Running backs coach Jay Graham, a Vols tailback from 1993-96, said he has not been contacted about Tennessee's running backs position.
"I haven't spoken to anyone at Tennessee. I'm happy here, and I'm happy with the things we're doing here," Graham said. "That's the most important thing for me, is how we're going to get ready for the Papa Johns Bowl."
USC will get ready without the coach who oversaw the running game and helped gained commitments from recruits who make up one of the nation's top-ranked offensive line groups.
Spurrier downplayed the effect Wolford's departure would have on recruiting.
"I hope it doesn't hurt at all," he said. "We lost our last three games last year and it didn't hurt us."
At his news conference, the 38-year-old Wolford credited Spurrier for preparing him for his first head-coaching job.
"Steve Spurrier, in basically eight months, has transformed me, taught me, groomed me to be in this position here today," Wolford said.
Gamecocks offensive guard T.J. Johnson said he learned Wolford was leaving through media reports. Johnson believes the whirlwind nature of Wolford's exit is the reason he has not heard from him yet.
"I don't blame coach Wolford. He's pursuing his dream," Johnson said. "There's no hard feelings (from) us for coach Wolf. We all wish him the best."
But Johnson, a redshirt freshman who has started every game this season, has seen firsthand the big business of college football. When a reporter asked about who the line coach might be for Johnson's final three seasons, the Aynor native was skeptical.
"I don't know about the next three years, because I've had two since I've been here," he said. "It's a business, and what happens, happens."