SEC Beware: Spurrier's Feelin' Cocky

The media was somewhat disappointed when Steve Spurrier was low key and surprisingly humble during his first two years at S. Carolina. However, the Head Ball Coach returned to his old form in Tuesday's SEC Media Days, as he openly stated that he thinks the 2007 Gamecocks can contend for the SEC Championship, and he even had his accustomed wit back in full force to go along with those expectations.

Not many coaches can zing two schools in one sentence, but Steve Spurrier did just that on Wednesday. Talking about the strong finish his 2006 team had, he said, "We thought we did something big beating Clemson, then Kentucky beat them also." He went on to assuage the wounds of Kentucky fans a little, saying "I like Rich Brooks, Kentucky. I really admire what they did and so forth. Their quarterback (Andre Woodson) is a good player. Their whole team did a lot of good things last year."

Spurrier just twisted the knife in the wound he opened at Clemson, stating, "Clemson was a pretty good team. At one point in the year they were a dang good team. I don't know exactly what happened to them, but they didn't finish very well." He smiled, clearly letting the audience know that the SEC's South Carolina and Kentucky was what happened to them.

Asked if what happened in the NBA last week with the referee betting on games, and if he was concerned that the same thing could happen in the SEC, Spurrier brought down the house when he said, "I've probably been accused of saying something like that a couple of times." He continued to more laughter, "But yeah, we'll all have to be careful now of not saying, ‘It appeared that guy had money on the game.' You can't say that anymore. There's been a few lousily called games that deserved investigation." He continued in a more serious vein, saying, "I think because of what happened in the NBA, this will heighten all the security and checking on guys' backgrounds all the time and what they're doing. Referees need to be scrutinized more than us coaches are scrutinized. Hopefully, it will put a good scare that will help every sport."

On disciplining players who get in trouble, Spurrier said his philosophy was largely to give younger players a second chance. He said that he couldn't watch them every night and every day, because football players are busy year round. He brought more laughter when he said, "Football players are busy: study halls, tutoring. Well anyway, at South Carolina they are. I don't know about all these other schools." He made sure the SEC media knew what Five Points in Columbia was. When asked if he would prevent his players from going to Five Points, he said, "No, they've got to learn how to go out in public without getting in trouble. If they can't, they need to go to play for one of these other schools or something."

When asked, "How much longer do you reckon you'll coach?" He replied, I read something the other day that yesterday's 60 is today's 40, if you're a workout person and eat correctly. So I've always figured on at least five more years, five to seven. Any other head coaches calling the plays, or am I the only dumb idiot still doing it? If I start forgetting the plays, can't get ‘em in, all that kind of stuff, then they need to get someone else."

One South Carolina reporter turned Spurrier's playful attention on himself when he asked, "What would you do if you retired, other than play golf? Do you just like coaching football and you can't foresee yourself not coaching football?" Spurrier paused, and said with a grin, "Well, probably the same thing you sportswriters do. I mean, what else would ya'll be doing if you weren't here all the time?"

Make no mistake, the Ball Coach has his full focus on winning football games now. He said, "I played in the Lake Tahoe event. Haven't played since. That's enough for awhile; my mind is completely off golf. I'm looking forward to the season. Yeah, it's fun for me. I guess the competition's the most fun. It's fun trying to win at South Carolina. Lee Corso said it couldn't be done. Trying to do things for the first time - we have so many accomplishments that have never happened there that we have a shot at. So that's the fun part for me. I know it's a wonderful situation. I know we've got some pretty doggone good players right now. I feel lucky that I've got a shot to be the coach there to do some of these things for the first time ever. So I'm looking forward to it."

The Head Ball Coach is juiced and confident. That's good news for South Carolina fans and the media lucky enough to cover Steve Spurrier. It's bad news for SEC opponents. The swagger is back.

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