Spurrier explained his decision to go ahead and hire Griffin immediately. "I knew immediately that Stewie was the right guy for the job when I realized that he is the only guy with more complicated schemes than me." He said. "We also need someone to bring some discipline to our team, and I felt that again, Stewie is exactly the right man for that job, too." He then turned to Griffin, who gave a wicked grin in agreement.
Spurrier earned the nickname "the evil genius" for his offensive wizardry on the football field that frequently left opponents eviscerated. Chris Wellbaum of GamecockAnthem quickly received acclamation by his peers in the press for his suggestion to cal the new coach "The little evil genius", to which Griffin not only did not object to, but appeared rather pleased at. When asked if he would wear a visor like the head coach, he quickly replied, "No, no, no! I don't think so. It's not that I have ideological differences, I'm just not a hat person."
When Spurrier opened the floor for questions, it was clear with Griffin's first remarks that Spurrier had one-upped himself by hiring a QB coach more arrogant than his last one. Griffin talked about his first address to the team, which preceded the press conference. "I explained the new order of things to them," he said. "You will bow to me." When asked how he would bring discipline to the team, he demonstrated by saying, "Now, I'm going to do something I like to call the 'Compliment Sandwich" Where I say something good, talk about where you need improvement, and then end with something good."
Spurrier was well-known for his lively one-liners while the coach at Florida, and some have found his press conferences since he came to South Carolina rather tame in comparison. Griffin let it be known that Gamecock press conferences he was involved in would be anything but dull when he immediately challenged Todd Wood of GamecockCentrifuge. Wood, known for his savvy writing and perhaps even more so for his not so savvy questions, questioned Griffin's credentials to coach at the SEC level. Griffin responded, "And I guess you're a Rhodes Scholar yourself. Where did you graduate from again, the University of DUH?!?!?"
Normally the quickest reporter to ask a follow-up question, Wood sat there mute, stunned into silence by Griffin's harsh reply. Seeing Wood's abeyance, Griffin said, "Excellent, the mind control device is nearing completion!" Wood finally came out of his stupor and said, "I'm going to die." Griffin responded by saying, "High five! Anyone? Anyone?"
The next question came from Levi BlueJeanson of the South Carolina Block News. BlueJeanson's trademark in press conferences is his Ozzy Oborne-esque unintelligible questions, for which Spurrier frequently has to ask to have repeated. Johnson asked, "Coach, mumble…mumble…mumble?
Griffin replied, "What the deuce?"
BlueJeanson repeated his question. Griffin replied, "What's that? Oh yes, yes. I love crack. I'm absolutely coo-coo for crack!"
Griffin spoke of how quickly he had come to appreciate how beautiful the scenery on the USC campus is. He said he liked sorority row best. He summed it up simply, by saying, "Spectacular."
The new coach warmed up to the topic when asked by Wellbaum what he thought about all the recent coaching changes at Clemson, Tennessee, Auburn and Mississippi State. Referencing Clemson's Brad Scott and Tennessee's Phil Fulmer, he said, "Uh, there's a half-dead-fat-man eating a dead-fat-man...am I the only one who realized? Okay..."
He said he spoke to Auburn Athletic Director Jay Jacobs during the Tiger's recent coaching search. He said Jacobs told him, "I gotta do something people will remember me for." Griffin said he warned Jacobs not to hire Gene Chizik, who led Iowa State to ten straight losses this season before being hired as the new head coach at Auburn because the fans would not react kindly.
When Chizik was hired, Griffin said he told Jacobs," Oh, yes, Jay, yes-yes-yes, everything was going swimmingly for you until this. Yes, yes, THIS is the thing that will ruin your reputation - not your years of grotesque appearance, or your awkward social graces, or that way you clear your sinuses, no no no, it's THIS."
When asked why he thought Jacobs made such an unexpected decision, Griffin replied, "That must have been one heck of a bet he lost. Makes you wonder, what were the stakes of this wager?"
On the hiring of Florida offensive coordinator Dan Mullen to be the new Mississippi State coach, Griffin smiled when he said, "I vaguely recall seeing footage somewhere of something exactly like this, which leads me to believe this probably won't work."
Well-known stringer Alex Riley showed up late for the press conference. He had to rush over from his own graduation ceremony to make the event, which did not pre-announce what the announcement was about. Not knowing Griffin had just been named to the USC coaching staff, he said, "Look it's the New Year's baby!" Griffin in his new Gamecock gear replied, "Yes, I rather like the sash, but do the Huggies make my butt look big?"
The new coach was not at all hesitant to broach the subject of the one thing Gamecock fans wanted most, to reverse the trend of recent losses to Clemson. He said, "Mark my words, when you least expect it, your uppance shall come."
He also was not hesitant providing bulletin board material for the Iowa Hawkeyes, USC's opponent in the upcoming bowl game, saying "When the world is mine, your death shall be quick and painless."
Asked if he thought he could "coach up" freshman quarterback Stephen Garcia in the short time he had, and have Garcia lead the team to victory, Griffin angrily replied, "Victory is mine!"
When asked to predict how potent the Gamecock offense might be against a Top Ten Iowa defense, he replied, "Forecast for New Year's Day - a few sprinkles of genius with a chance of doom!"
Griffin will immediately begin recruiting for the Gamecocks. Due to his diminutive size and well-known control issues, Emily Meaney of the USC SID staff will move over from the basketball staff to accompany Griffin on recruiting trips. She is known for her ability to handle "difficult" coaches. Griffin was enthusiastic about being paired with Meaney, saying they would make a great team. "She has the voice of an angel... not to mention a balcony you could do Shakespeare from!"
Griffin's remarks made the normally unflappable Meaney momentarily blush. He turned to her with instructions for their flight the next day to go see a quarterback prospect: "I require a window seat and an in-flight Happy Meal, and no pickles! God help you if I find pickles!" When she did not immediately respond, he walked over and whacked her on the back of the head. Tears welled up in the eyes of the legendary tough girl at his blow, prompting Griffin to say, "Oh, come on. I barely hit you! See, this is why people don't respect the WNBA!"
His last remarks before leaving the press conference should make many Gamecock fans happy. USC message boards have been filled with endless threads on the subjects of uniforms and favorite helmet variations. Griffin said he had but one request of Spurrier before he accepted the job: "I want them to have new helmets!"
Griffin interacted with gathered players and reporters in the hall outside after the formal conclusion of the press conference. It was clear there was a new sheriff in town when he was overheard asking his new charge Stephen Garcia, "If your teachers ask about your bruises, what do you tell them?" Garcia replied, "I got hit by a baseball."
South Carolina football just got a lot more interesting.
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