COLUMBIA, SC - OCTOBER 9: Coach Steve Spurrier of the South Carolina Gamecocks cheers a touchdown against the Alabama Crimson Tide October 9, 2010 at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Steve Spurrier is both beloved and hated because while he was winning six SEC titles in 12 seasons at Florida, he liked to run his mouth and make inflammatory comments about his rivals. He hasn't done as much of that at South Carolina other than a few Clemson digs, largely because he hasn't won as much.
Fresh off of South Carolina's first 11-win season ever just one year after its first division title ever, Spurrier is feeling good. Rightfully so, I might add. However, when he's feeling good, he starts talking...
- He says it's fun to set a lot of firsts for the program, singling out wins at Tennessee and Florida as firsts he's accomplished.
- He's disappointed that he won't be playing Georgia in Week 2 this year. In his words: "I sort of always liked playing them that second game because you could always count on them having two or three key players suspended."
- He compares Nick Saban to John Calipari, then tries to minimize Saban's accomplishments ("because they've always won there at Alabama") before calling him the SEC's best coach.
- He praises outgoing defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson before pointing out that "coverage breakdowns" were a big problem during Johnson's tenure.
- He says he told Will Muschamp that the Gator boss has one of the toughest jobs in America.
- He thinks nine to 12 wins per year is a "fair" expectation for South Carolina now.
- He's still noncommittal on when he'll retire, but he says it'll be on his terms and not because he's getting fired. He can't help but point out that Bobby Bowden was forced out at the end.
We can only hope this version of Spurrier is the one that shows up to SEC Media Days and continues going throughout the year. People like to debate about what is "good for the SEC" these days, but a wisecracking Spurrier definitely qualifies.