It's a brave new world for SEC Media Days, part II

HOOVER, Ala--New head coaches Urban Meyer (Florida) and Ed Orgeron (Ole Miss) led the parade of new faces at SEC Media Days Wednesday. But they weren't the only new faces at this year's event, even though the others were familiar.

Tennessee's Phil Fulmer paid a visit to the media contingent Wednesday. As the dean of the head coaches in the SEC, that shouldn't have been surprising. But last year Fulmer was a "no-show," opting instead for the security of Knoxville while threats of deposition subpoenas and lawsuits kept him away. Fulmer made it clear that he wanted no part of continued discussion of the matters that made him $10,000 poorer--the fine levied upon him by the SEC for not appearing last year.

"As we stand here today, the court cases are almost done, some people may choose to wallow in the stench of cheating for publicity purposes; the only writings I am looking for is in the SEC East and a chance to be a part of an SEC championship game."

The second question from media members attempted to have him rethink that position, to no avail--"What are your feelings about Tom Culpepper and the recent judgment against him?" the reporter inquired.

"That's one of those tings that I just said since it's kind of ongoing, that I am not an attorney and I would answer it in the wrong fashion. So I sure don't want to pour any gas on any fires anywhere. I will let the attorneys handle that one."

Well, we just thought it was a brave new world.

One of the SEC's great rivalries in the 90's and beyond occurred between Tennessee and Florida, while Steve Spurrier was coaching. After a brief two-year stint with the Washington Redskins, Coach Spurrier returns to the SEC--this time, as head coach of the South Carolina Gamecocks. Did Fulmer, as dead of coaches in the SEC, have any advice for Spurrier?

"I am not going to give any advice to Steve. He has all the answers anyway," Fulmer chuckled. "I already said what I think of Steve. What an incredible coach, and what a great job he's done. He will do a great job for South Carolina.." When asked his initial reaction to Spurrier returning to the league, Fulmer again provided an entertaining response--

"When I first heard he was coming back, I said, ‘Oh, crap.' Or something like that."

Or something like that, indeed.

The final "new" face of the afternoon was again, a familiar one--but one who last graced SEC Media Days several years ago as head coach of the Florida Gators, Steve Spurrier. Spurrier responded to Fulmer's comment by diminishing the effect he might have on the South Carolina team.

"We need to -- like I said, we need to beat somebody first before those guys are going to worry about South Carolina, and some people are trying to make us one of their rivals when we have not beaten very much or if at all, so you know, hopefully we can get a little respect but we have got to earn it. We have got to beat some people, we can't just say hey, Spurrier is coaching South Carolina, that's not going to mean much to players. They are going to watch the tapes and going to see what kind of players we have got, they may say those guys aren't worth a dang or they will say they are pretty good. "

Spurrier has no illusions about his team this year.

"We were picked fourth in our Division, which is probably where we should be right now." Spurrier continued with a comparison to Clemson, who was also picked fourth in their divison. "There's some similarities, ACC, SEC right now we're both picked fourth in the Division for whatever that's worth. Hopefully neither one of us will ends up there. Hopefully we will both do better."

Spurrier last coached in the Southeastern Conference in 2002, before departing for the Washington Redskins. Has there been any change in the conference in that period?

"Just faster, stronger athletes on every team. I see. All the defensive teams there, they are all over the place and you can't get a good feel on exactly what they are playing until the ball is snapped. The disguise part has come in much greater than it used to be. But to me what makes SEC the best conference are the fans. The stadiums are the largest. I can't say we have had the best teams necessarily because there's a lot of good ones, Oklahoma and Southern Cal have probably been the two best the last three, four years. But the fan interest and the passion of the crowd is I think what makes us the best football conference."

KSR is providing continuing coverage of SEC Media Days. Check the KSR Front Page often for further updates.

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