Before I really get in to what I want to discuss, let me admit something: I used to be hooked on 'Days of Our Lives.' My grandmother watched it when I was a kid, and by the time I was in high school I kept up as often as I could, especially during the summer.
Hope, Jennifer, Roman and Bo - not to mention the evil Stefano - were all part of the fun. The show's still going strong even though I no longer pay attention, but that's OK because I've become enthralled with a newer and more intriguing soap opera right here in Columbia. I'm calling it 'As the Offense Spins.'
The lead player in my drama is, of course, Steve Spurrier. Part hero, part villain, Spurrier is the central figure around which everything else on his team revolves. Stephen Garcia plays the role of the long suffering, always misunderstood bad boy. He wants to be loved, but on his own terms. Societal conventions don't fit him, even though he secretly wishes they did.
Connor Shaw is the new kid in town. He's confident without being cocky, he's polished but unproven and does everything he should to be in his coach's good graces. There's a storm brewing though, and the townsfolk (OK, the fans) aren't yet sold on his ability to weather it.
There are other storylines coursing through 'ATOS' too, like whether or not big time tight end prospect Weslye Saunders will actually be allowed to remain with his team. He may surround himself with the wrong element from time to time. The ladies may like that, but how will Spurrier react if the news isn't good.
Speaking of guys who catch passes, Spurrier has several wide receivers in the fold, but there are only so many guys who can legitimately play. One of them almost transferred last week. What happens when the depth chart is finally decided on? Will we see harmony, or will bad blood and jealousy disrupt this team's run toward a conference title?
Running back also provides high drama stories. From bruising senior Brian Maddox to heralded freshman Marcus Lattimore, the corps has more weapons than it's had in years. Kenny Miles is a solid player and Jarvis Giles has the potential to be the SEC's next Dexter McCluster. Only one can hold the ball at any given time though. Who emerges as the real go to threat?
Lastly, the offensive line is in a tough spot in their development. For years they've been put upon, struggling to break out of a funk that's made them the punching bag of the entire Gamecock nation. Yet another coach is leading them this season, and early indications are that their struggles could continue for a while. Only time will tell if they are ready to move out of the cellar of the SEC's OL units.
In the end, however, what people from Columbia to Fayetteville and Lexington to Gainesville will tune in to watch is the drama produced at quarterback. In his day Spurrier was the nation's best QB, a hot shot Heisman winner who dated then married a cheerleader, spent a decade in the NFL and has become a coach credited with changing how football is played in the SEC and beyond. High standards to be sure.
Will he finally have someone at South Carolina capable of living up to those standards? Will he drive the veteran so hard that he throws his hands up in submission or will Garcia light up the scoreboard? Will the rookie say and do everything right in practice sessions AND produce when he finally gets on the field, or will Shaw let the pressure rattle him and throw the team in a downward spiral?
Stay tuned, because based on how Spurrier currently feels, the writers of this show are going to be very busy the next few weeks. No matter what though, millions will be watching. We're hooked, and none of us wants to miss the next exciting episode of 'As the Offense Spins.'