Spurrier in vintage form at media day

If anyone thought Steve Spurrier had lost the wit and attitude that made him a media favorite while at Florida, his appearance at Carolina's annual media day should prove otherwise. Displaying the sharp tongue that made so many enemies for "Steve Superior," he mocked some of his own comments, lectured reporters to enunciate and ask better questions, and sparred with Ron Morris over a recent story.


Morris, the columnist for The State newspaper, has long been public enemy number one for Gamecock fans. In Sunday's paper, Morris wrote a column criticizing the University's decision to allow redshirt freshman quarterback Stephen Garcia to return from his suspension two weeks early. Garcia was originally suspended by the University until August 15 following his citation for underage drinking last spring. However, he completed all the requirements asked of him this summer, and his appeal to be allowed to return for the start of fall practice was granted. When Morris tried to ask Spurrier a question about running back depth, the Head Ball Coach quickly changed the subject.

"I thought we (were) worrying about Garcia getting into school two weeks early?" Spurrier asked. "I thought that was the most important thing on your mind today."

Morris asked if Spurrier disagreed with the column.

"I thought it was stupid," Spurrier smirked.

Spurrier repeatedly returned to that theme, later asking why it mattered if a third-string quarterback got two extra weeks of practice.

"He's solidly third [string]," Spurrier said, "so that two weeks didn't really help our football team. If he came two weeks from now it wouldn't make a difference. He's not competing for second right now; he's just too far behind."

Morris asked Spurrier if he had resolved his complaints about a negative recruiting packet being sent to recruits from someone near the Clemson program, and he took the opportunity for additional mockery.

"That was a month or two ago," Spurrier said. "You just got a hold of it last week. You're a month or two behind, where have you been?"

Pressed, for an answer, Spurrier said the issue had been resolved. "I guess," he noted. "We haven't heard of any packets going out since then, so I guess it is resolved."

Spurrier had one last shot for Morris when another reporter asked Spurrier about the health of tight end Jared Cook, who was on crutches Sunday after spraining his big toe. Spurrier looked at Morris and helpfully suggested that Cook's injury status might make a good story.

"Did y'all see him out there on crutches?" Spurrier asked, laughing. "That's a good story for you: ‘Cook's on crutches.'"

Morris wasn't the only recipient of Spurrier's barbs, however. The Ball Coach lobbed one right back at himself. Spurrier recently compared quarterback Tommy Beecher to Shane Matthews, who was SEC Player of the Year for Spurrier at Florida. During his Media Day press conference, Spurrier said Beecher reminded him of Danny Wuerffel, who won the Heisman Trophy under Spurrier's tutelage. When asked to clarify what he meant in saying Beecher was similar to Matthews, Spurrier laughed and said, "And now I've got him like Danny Wuerffel."

"How about Rex Grossman, let's [compare] him," said Spurrier. "[Beecher is] built a little bit like Rex, about 225 [pounds]. He's taller than Rex though.

Spurrier also took issue with a reporter who didn't speak loudly or clearly enough when asking a question. He made the reporter repeat the question before saying dismissively, "Oh, that's what you said."

There were some serious moments, though. In a recent article by Tom Sorensen in The Charlotte Observer, Spurrier suggested Clemson's schedule is easier than Carolina's. He was quoted as saying, "Well, I wish one of the sportswriters when they start picking everybody's record this year would write how they'd do if Clemson played South Carolina's schedule and South Carolina played Clemson's schedule. They don't do that."

Spurrier tried to downplay the comment on Sunday, but instead ended up stirring the pot even more by saying that the easier schedule is a result of a weaker conference.

"I was just wondering if any of you guys wrote the difference in Clemson's schedule and our schedule, or any other ACC team," he said. "Clemson's got a great opportunity because of the schedule. It's beneficial sometimes if you're able to [play] a team that's down a little bit. I wasn't knocking anybody, it's just the way it is. That's college football; no playoff. Your schedule might get you right there."


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