SEC media days, like almost any event with a roomful of reporters, used to be nirvana for Steve Spurrier. Of course, that was back when he was at Florida and had something to brag about.
Now Spurrier shows up at media days and he finds himself upstaged by Alabama’s Nick “Death To Agents!” Saban one day and Vanderbilt’s Robbie Caldwell the next. (Two of Caldwell’s classics from Thursday: “I know the first question you’re asking is, ‘Who is Robbie Caldwell?’” and, “I can still walk in places and nobody knows me. Last night I was opening the door for people and they gave me a tip.”)
But Spurrier admitted Thursday things have not gone as well as he had hoped since taking the South Carolina job in 2005. He punctuated his remarks with this: “I don’t think I’ve won enough games lately to have any outlandish quotes. I’m just another ball coach trying to win a whole bunch of games that we haven’t quite done yet.”
Spurrier is 35-28 in five seasons at South Carolina. He went 122-27-1 with six SEC championships and one national title in 12 years at Florida. So he’s already lost one more game in seven fewer seasons in Columbia.
“We didn’t think we were going to just step in there and start tearing it up at South Carolina,” he said. “Seven wins over five years is 35. In the history of the school, we’ve never had 35 wins in a straight five-year period. So we don’t have tremendous tradition there over the long haul. We’ve not done poorly, but we just haven’t done super.”
In fairness, Spurrier’s dealing with a different caliber of recruit. But he thinks it goes beyond that.
“I think I said [wanted to] change the attitude,” Spurrier said, recalling when he took the job. “Our attitude around there has not changed. It’s not changed to where we hope to be some day. We hope to be a team that can compete for the SEC year in and year out. Can we recruit the caliber of players to do that?”
Spurrier did have a few gems from his press conference. Among them:
♦ “Things are going well, academically. … I never thought I’d get a bigger bonus for our guys graduating than I did for the Bowl game, but that’s what I did this year. I got a bigger bonus for our APR [Academic Progress Rate] improvement and our graduation and so forth. I didn’t even know it was in there until [an official said], ‘By the way, you got about this amount of money coming.”
♦ “I don’t think we’ve had but one player arrested in about two years, and those charges were dropped. That’s pretty good nowadays, as we know.”
♦ “I think [arrests are] more common now because players are getting arrested for everything that, in the old days, they did not get arrested for. I can sort of remember back in our day, if you were out and something happened, they would say, ‘Can you get home? We’ll drive you home,’ to some of my teammates. They did not go into the tank that night. But nowadays you go straight to jail if you’ve broken the law.”
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