On Saturday morning, members of the South Carolina football team will be warming up on Steve Spurrier-Florida Field.
Chances are, the man himself, the one who recruited most of them to Columbia, will be standing on it, maybe amble over, maybe say hello.
“I suspect he would,” USC tight end Hayden Hurst said.
What might Hurst say to his former coach?
“I don’t know,” Hurst said. “I kind of really get locked in on gamedays. I don’t know if I’ll really go out of my way to say a whole lot.”
Several Gamecocks said their goal is to try to treat it as they would any other game. There’s the possibility of clinching a bowl, the outside shot at a division title if things break right.
It’s a nice storyline, but it’s not as if Spurrier will be coaching on the other sideline.
“It’s something that my parents brought to my attention,” offensive tackle Mason Zandi said. “I didn’t think it was weird. I got so accustomed to coach (Will) Muschamp. So it’s just kind of another game, really.”
Spurrier’s role as the most accomplished coach at both Florida and South Carolina led to an odd departure from USC during the summer. He’d been hired as an “ambassador” in Columbia, but ultimately returned to the school he’d played at, met his wife Jerri at and won a national title.
There’s of course the other tangled level of this, that Muschamp will be seeing a large group of his former players as he recruited a good part of the Gators roster.
Muschamp said when he ran the show in Gainesville, he had a strong relationship with Spurrier.
“He was very helpful to me,” Muschamp said. “He always called to check in, see how things were going. Just really supportive of me, and I always appreciated that because he didn’t have to do that and he did. He called after we beat Tennessee. He was happy.”
South Carolina has won four of its last six against the Gators, four of five with Spurrier at the helm against his former team. The last win, in 2014, was the final straw that got Muschamp fired.
There will be plenty of chances for folks to get reacquainted. Hurst admitted, he hasn’t talked to Spurrier since he left Columbia.
“The only person I’ve talked to is Mrs. Jerri,” Hurst said. “She comes back up here every once in a while and she’s the nicest lady in the world. We see her, but we haven’t seen coach.”