Previewing South Carolina's Saturday date with Vanderbilt suddenly became lost in the shuffle this week after coach Steve Spurrier made the shocking announcement Tuesday he was resigning as Gamecocks coach effective immediately.
Spurrier has always been seen as sort of a coaching "free spirit," but his decision came after on more than one occasion he expressed a design to continue on in Columbia for two or three more years.
He steps down with a record of 228-89-2 in 25 seasons with stops at Duke, his alma mater Florida, and South Carolina along with brief stints at the professional level with Tampa Bay of the USFL and Washington of the NFL.
Perhaps the most telling thing Spurrier said in making his resignation announcement (he insists he is resigning, not retiring) was this part:
"The last several years as I've traveled around the country and visiting guys, I always get asked, how much longer are you going to coach, and my answer is always the same," he said. "As long as we keep winning, keep winning bowl games, everybody's happy, we're ranked, I guess I'll stick around and if it starts going south and starts getting bad then I need to get out.
"You can't keep a head coach that's been doing this as long as I have when it's headed in the wrong direction."
Just two years removed from a third straight 11-win season in 2013, that could be seen as South Carolina's current season.
They are 2-4 headed into the game against Vanderbilt with all four losses in SEC play, effectively if not mathematically eliminating the Gamecocks from the East Division race.
They also need to have at least a mirror image that record to reach the six-win level needed for bowl eligibility for an eighth consecutive season.
That task now falls to Shawn Elliott, the co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach who now has the title interim head coach.
"We have one goal in mind," Elliott said in a lengthy statement. "I walked in this morning, I said to our staff, the goal is to win, this week. Win today, win tomorrow, win the next day and beat Vanderbilt.
"We've got a lot of great players here and great support staff, coaches and administrators. Our team is not in shambles as some might say. We've got a great group of energetic young men who are ready to go out there and lay it down on the line."
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
--TB David Williams is listed No. 1 on the depth chart to start with RB Brandon Wilds still questionable. Williams started against LSU and has rushed for 179 yards on 35 carries and made three receptions for 14 yards this season.
--WR Pharoh Cooper had seven catches for 105 yards against the LSU, his third 100-yard receiving game of the season and seventh of his career. The junior had a 43-yard reception for a touchdown, his third of the season and 13th of his career.
--DT Marquavius Lewis is beginning to emerge in his first season with the Gamecocks since his transfer from junior college. He had nine tackles against LSU, including a sack for a 12-yard loss, doubling his tackle total for the season.