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Why Steve Spurrier has to keep saying he's not retiring soon

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The short answer: recruiting.

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On Wednesday, Steve Spurrier called a press conference to address his "enemies" -- the term he used for media who would speculate that he's not long for the job at South Carolina.

The speculation is reasonable given that Spurrier, the best coach in Gamecock history, is 70 years old. It's also entirely supported by a slip of the tongue that Spurrier had at the end of the 2014 season.

Give me two or three more (years). I used to say four or five, now I'm down to two or three. I mean, I could get in a car wreck, but I'm definitely planning on being back.

Two or three more seasons from that point would have Spurrier retiring after the 2016 or 2017 season. Which means that if true, Spurrier would be the coach for less than half of a current recruit's career in Columbia.

Brandon Larrabee of Team Speed Kills put it well.

The truth is, no one -- including Spurrier -- likely knows how long it is that he's going to coach. It's not going to be a particularly long time, but the Head Ball Coach first said he would probably coach another four or five years, roughly four or five years ago. When he recently modified that answer to two to three years, it was bound to cause some anxiety with recruits. Spurrier created his own monster here -- not the AJC or anyone else.

Spurrier's quote is killing South Carolina's recruiting. And from his repeated attempts to distance himself from it (right after the comment in January, and at SEC media days on Wednesday), he knows it, too.

But the attempts are not working. South Carolina's recruiting class floundered down the stretch, finishing ninth in the SEC. That's well behind division rivals Tennessee and Georgia, and about even with a Florida Gators program that was fresh off a coaching change.

This year, it is even worse. South Carolina would be last in SEC recruiting if not for the sinking ship that is Vanderbilt under Derek Mason. The Gamecocks have just two four-star recruits and eight total commitments. Only one of the eight is from the Palmetto state.

So, on Wednesday, Spurrier again sought to quell the fears of recruits and parents. Why Wednesday? Because "Gamecock Cookout," South Carolina's major summer recruiting event, happens this weekend. Spurrier needs recruits to show up and buy in, particularly with Georgia having such a huge success with its "Dawg Night" event last weekend.

"We've got a bunch of recruits coming in this weekend," Spurrier said. "We think some of them are going to commit to us, and they need to know who the coaches are. I certainly plan to be here with them."

Spurrier can say that the media is the enemy. But the true enemy is rival recruiters, and Spurrier gave them all the ammo they need back in December.

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