There has been a lot of speculation on who should replace Steve Spurrier at South Carolina. Former head coaches, current head coaches and a boatload of assistants from other schools have been mentioned.

Perhaps, however, the right man is already in Columbia.

Shawn Elliott has been serving as the interim head coach of the Gamecocks. Not only is he making a case to get the job permanently at USC, but his players are making it, too.

When it was announced Elliott would be taking the reins of the program for the rest of the season, players like guard Mike Matulis were happy with the news.

“I was very excited,” Matulis said. “I have a lot of respect for coach Elliott. He brings such passion to the team, as you guys can see every Saturday. You can see it in his eyes that he’s just as fired up as anyone else. He brings that passion and fire to everybody on the team.”

Elliott has brought an excitement to South Carolina that has been lacking in recent years. He is known to get into the trenches during practice with players. He is known to be enthusiastic. He is known for bringing energy to the field.

In short, he is a players’ coach.

One of his first moves was to bring music onto the practice field and into the locker room. The players loved it. The players also responded. Since he took over, the Gamecocks are 1-1, with the loss coming at Texas A&M by seven points.

He has never been a head coach before, but he has been a winner. He won I-AA national titles as a player at Appalachian State. He also was an assistant the powerhouse before it reclassified to the FBS level.

Elliott has been at Carolina for six years. He knows the lay of the land, especially in recruiting.

Spurrier was old enough to be the current players’ grandfather. He had his AARP card before many were born.cElliott is more like the cool dad. He is the kind of coach that will attract recruits to Columbia.

An administrator once said that if you want to know who is going to get a job, look who is doing the hiring. South Carolina athletic director Ray Tanner is a Gamecock through and through.

So is Elliott.