BLYTHEWOOD -- It's not uncommon for Steve Spurrier to spew venom after a round of golf. Typically, though, it's about a missed putt or a wayward drive for South Carolina's football coach.
Wednesday afternoon, Spurrier wasn't a happy ball coach. And it had nothing to do with golf. Everything to do with, well, January.
On the doorstep of a new season, Spurrier still hasn't let go of the last one.
"We're not very good, because we got clobbered in the Papa John's Bowl by UConn," Spurrier said in the opening words of a news conference that followed his media golf outing.
After another 7-6 season -- seven victories is the average in Spurrier's first five seasons -- Spurrier identified with frustrated members of the fanbase. Particularly those who froze their rear ends off in Birmingham, Ala., at that bowl debacle.
The 20 points that Connecticut scored also equaled the high temperature at Legion Field.
"Sometimes I'm asked why ticket sales aren't quite where we hope they would be," Spurrier said. "I say, 'Well, our fans remember the UConn game.' And I remember the UConn game. We weren't very good."
The words were all clipped, with some zing to them. Spurrier acted as if the Gamecocks had just lost that game hours earlier, and not as if it were a hot day in late July.
"Don't tell us to forget it," Spurrier said, "because we're not going to forget it."
Spurrier was speaking in the front of a large tent. In the back, Spurrier's assistants were seated, listening to him. Some were nodding. Others were sort of giggling at the intensity with which Spurrier spoke about a game that was played nearly eight months ago.
Afterward, offensive assistants G.A. Mangus and Steve Spurrier Jr. both said the 20-7 loss to Connecticut sticks with them as well.
"Yeah," Spurrier Jr. said, "but it chaps his (tail) more than most everyone else."
Spurrier Jr. said that's because of Spurrier's innate competitive nature.
But it's also because he recognizes the effort wasn't indicative of the kind of season USC had. Or at least how it finished the regular season, considering the 34-17 home win against Clemson.
Instead of ending on a high, South Carolina ended with a sigh.
That's why Spurrier fumed about the loss during spring practice. That's why he's still venting about it now.
He has vowed you'll see something different, beginning with him.
Spurrier Jr. said one thing he's always appreciated about his dad is the way he makes himself accountable for losses. The worse the loss, the more Spurrier asserts himself as the one to blame.
News conferences -- evidently even one held months after the fact -- seem to back up that theory.
"We're going to try our best to never, ever have a performance like that again," Spurrier said. "That's what we're going to try to do. We have a different team. We have different leaders. We have different players. It's going to be a new team."
Spurrier says that, even though this is the most veteran experience and talent he's had at USC. Two of the team's four captains, tight end Pat DiMarco and defensive end Cliff Matthews, are back for a second term.
Still, Spurrier says it's an attitude thing. He said the summer workouts have been well attended and productive. But that's the word each and every summer.
The fruits of all that, obviously, will be determined when camp opens Tuesday -- and certainly by the time the season starts Sept. 2 against Southern Miss.
Reserve quarterback Zac Brindise has been given his release and will transfer to Western Carolina, Mangus confirmed ... Spurrier says he's heard nothing new regarding an NCAA inquiry into tight end Weslye Saunders' involvement with an agent ... Special teams coordinator Shane Beamer says, entering camp, Joey Scribner-Howard and Jay Wooten are virtually even for the kickoff job.
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