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Cooper, Holtz are still going strong

After a combined 53 years in the collegiate head-coaching ranks, Ohio State's John Cooper and South Carolina's Lou Holtz have not changed much. Call the Outback Bowl coaches old-fashioned, and they take it as a compliment.

"Old-fashioned to me means that there are certain things you believe in," Holtz said. "Politically OUTBACK BOWL NOTES

correct is not one of them. You believe in hard work, and you believe in working for whatever you get, being unselfish and being disciplined and having goals.

"I also think old-fashioned might be that you impress your point of view on the field, you don't worry about personalities, you don't worry about feelings."

For the two 63-year-olds, old-fashioned may as well mean staying away from retirement. Both brush off any thoughts of walking away.

"I don't even know what I would do if I wasn't coaching, I'd probably have to get a real job," Cooper said. "I'm having as much fun now as I've ever had in my life. As long as I can do that and they'll let me, I'll continue to coach."

FIRING LINE: South Carolina athletic director Mike McGee recently spoke to his Clemson counterpart, Bobby Robinson, about the controversial meeting between fired Gamecocks graduate assistant Robby Wells and former coach Brad Scott, now the Tigers offensive coordinator.

Wells and Scott denied game information was discussed. But Holtz fired Wells on Dec. 21. McGee told the Columbia State that "I sat in on part of Coach Holtz's interview with this employee and totally agree with his decision." McGee said he called Robinson to express his concern over the meeting.

Holtz offered his only comment Thursday. "I'm not the type to make rash decisions," he said.

Clemson coach Tommy Bowden dismissed USC's accusations. "It doesn't seem to be a big story other than coming out of Columbia by, I'm sure, South Carolina," he told the State.

WHAT WEATHER?: Thursday's rain may have dampened a little of the teams' fun during an evening trip to Busch Gardens, but it had little effect on practices. South Carolina worked out in shorts, and Ohio State went with full pads.

"You're not going to hear anybody from our camp complaining about the weather," Cooper said. "The rain feels good to us, when you leave the climate we did."

MEMORY LANE: Monday's game will be the first between Ohio State and South Carolina, but not the first between the coaches.

Cooper coached Tulsa from 1977-84, and Holtz coached Arkansas from 1977-83. Seven times the two faced off _ and each time Holtz's Razorbacks won.

"We'd play them every year on a neutral field in Fayetteville," said Cooper, tongue-in-cheek. "We'd always lose the game and Lou, of course, would tell us what a great team we had and what a great coaching job we were doing. But we never beat them."

Even today, Holtz is praising Cooper's Golden Hurricane teams.

"You mention we won the game, but I promise you, we played them seven times I think and I guarantee that five of those times it was down to the last minute of play," Holtz said.


"The last time there was an accurate weather forecast was when God told Noah it was going to rain. Since then, there haven't been a lot of accurate ones. With lightning, we have a standard rule. All slow players go in. Fast players can dodge the lightning."