The Buck Sweep – An Ode to Ellis

I'll miss the hat most of all.

If you would’ve asked me a month ago if Ellis Johnson would be a candidate for the Southern Mississippi head coaching job I would’ve said no way. If you would’ve asked me if he would want it even if offered I would’ve told you no way. But coaches in general are a nomadic bunch, and the more I look at the situation, the more it makes sense.

It’s easy to be tempted by the young offensive coordinator with the flashy “new” system, but Southern Miss didn’t want to be the proverbial stepping stone that many mid-major schools are. USM has had only two coaches in 21 years, Jeff Bower and Larry Fedora – Bower for 18 and Fedora for three. Now, the 59-year-old Johnson surely will not be at USM for anywhere near 18 years, but he will also not be looking to move on to the next big thing if he has success. It’s very easy to see EJ finishing his career at USM, and I hope he has enough success to make that a reality.

From Johnson’s side of things, a lot of people cited his satisfaction with his position at USC and his wife’s business as reasons for him to stay. But ultimately Johnson wanted to be a head coach again, and with Steve Spurrier’s recent contract extension it didn’t look like he would even have the opportunity to become head coach at South Carolina for at least 4-5 years.

I’m frankly impressed that Southern Miss was open to hiring Johnson, and that Johnson was able to convince the USM brass that he was the man for the job.

As South Carolina fans, all we can do is tip our hat to EJ for the job he has done here, turning the USC defense into one of the elite units in the nation. Not bad for guy who wasn’t Spurrier’s first choice.

Good luck Coach Johnson.

Who’s Next? Already people are speculating on who the next South Carolina defensive coordinator will be. Here are four names that have been mentioned, with only one I believe to be a true possibility:

  • Mike Stoops – late of Arizona, currently unemployed. Rumors are he’d like to reunite with brother Bob at Oklahoma, but there are no openings on his staff at the moment and he’s not willing to re-shuffle without a departure. Spurrier obviously has connections to the Stoops family, and this might be a viable option.
  • Randy Shannon – the former Miami coach would be an excellent choice for many reasons, but is a bad choice for one reason – the NCAA investigation at Miami. At this point, whether he’s guilty or not, we don’t need to thumb our noses at the NCAA by hiring a guy with a cloud hanging over his head.
  • Ron Zook – many South Carolina fans might cringe at the thought given the Zooker’s head coaching stint at Florida (an unmitigated disaster) and then at Illinois (less of a disaster, but then again, it is Illinois). He’s a great, great recruiter, but as an X and O man, I tend to cringe a little as well.
  • Lorenzo Ward – possibly a promotion for continuity? The HBC has a lot of respect for Ward and loves him as a coach, but it ain’t gonna happen. Spurrier is going to go get someone with a pedigree, and I believe we’ll be willing to pay handsomely for it.

Two other names have been mentioned, but it appears Everett Withers will wind up at Ohio State, and Vic “Goat Boy” Koenning at North Carolina.

I’m sure contacts for our open positions will be continue to be made up until the bowl game, but don’t be surprised if neither a new DC nor a new running backs coach come on board until early January.

The Rationalization Continues. CTU writers and fans continue to downplay their three-game losing streak to the Gamecocks. The latest is a blog post from Scott Rhymer of “The Tiger Pregame Show”, entitled  “Championships are Our New Rival”.  First he pulls out the tired old “all time record” just in case we haven’t all heard that one before, then goes on to speak of CTU football as if championships are somehow a God-given right of which they have been deprived for 20 years.

You know the old saying “if one team wins all the time it’s not much of a rivalry”? Well, then championships can’t be their new rival, because championships have been kicking their ass for the last 20 years.

These pathetic rationalizations about their ACC “championship” can only provide temporary relief because…well, because 34-17, 29-7, 34-13.


The NCAA Cometh. Ohio State has been given a one year bowl ban, some additional scholarship reductions and an extra year of probation in addition to its previously announced self-imposed penalties. If this doesn’t make you swallow hard as a South Carolina fan then you must not be paying attention. If you look at them line by line, the indiscretions by folks “on behalf of the Gamecock program” pale in comparison to what we’ve heard about coming out of Ohio State, Miami and North Carolina. But when the NCAA is involved, you really never know what you’re going to get.

I’ll need to take a shower after admitting this, but I actually agree with Fits News when they ask Why Wasn’t Jennifer Stiles Fired? You have to take a hard line and at least APPEAR to be contrite even if you don’t believe you did much wrong. Part of that contrition should have been the termination of Jennifer Stiles.

DB U. I watched a little of the Pittsburgh-San Francisco game last night and saw Chris Culliver getting a lot of action for the 49ers. Gman brought up the fact that we should be known as “DB U” because of all the DB’s we put in the League. The list includes Culliver, Dunta Robinson (Falcons), Andre Goodman (Broncos), Sheldon Brown (Browns), Captain Munnerlyn (Panthers), Jonathan Joseph (Texans) and Darian Stewart (Rams). Fred Bennett and Ko Simpson are currently out of the league, but also spent quality time on NFL rosters recently. Not too shabby.

Merry Merry. This will probably be my last post before Christmas, so I’d like to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas!