"Things happen quickly in the coaching profession," Spurrier said at a news conference announcing the hiring of Johnson. "Fortunately, right now none of those coaches bought houses. In fact, I don't think any of them have signed contracts so it's a clean move.
"As head coaches we understand (assistants departing abruptly). That's part of our profession. At the end of the day it's going to work out very well for the University of South Carolina."
Here's how this bizarre episode unfolded:
STEP ONE: Ole Miss fires head coach Ed Orgeron, then hires Houston Nutt away from Arkansas as the replacement.
STEP TWO: Nutt hires defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix away from South Carolina.
STEP THREE: Arkansas hires Petrino away from the Atlanta Falcons to replace Nutt.
STEP FOUR: Spurrier hires Brian VanGorder off the lame-duck Falcons staff to be his new defensive coordinator.
STEP FIVE: Petrino hires Ellis Johnson away from Mississippi State to be his defensive coordinator.
STEP SIX: This morning Mike Smith, Petrino's successor as head man of the Falcons, hires VanGorder away from South Carolina by doubling his salary and making him defensive coordinator.
STEP SEVEN: This afternoon Spurrier hires Ellis Johnson (a South Carolina native) away from Arkansas.
Confused? OK, here's a person-by-person recap:
Ellis Johnson, Mississippi State's defensive coordinator in 2007, is now the defensive coordinator at South Carolina after spending 19 days at Arkansas.
Tyrone Nix, South Carolina's defensive coordinator in 2007, is now the defensive coordinator at Ole Miss.
Houston Nutt, Arkansas's head coach in 2007, is now the head man at Ole Miss.
Brian VanGorder, linebackers coach for the Atlanta Falcons in 2007, is now their defensive coordinator after spending roughly a month as coordinator for the South Carolina Gamecocks.
Bobby Petrino, 19 days after hiring Ellis Johnson, suddenly finds himself without a defensive coordinator again.
Don't you just love SEC football?