Give Lou Holtz credit. He was the master BSer but he almost never failed to entertain at a press conference.
Steve Spurrier, on the other hand, is not as concerned about entertaining at press conferences as he is about entertaining on game day.
Spurrier is not without his quips and one liners as most Florida, Tennessee and Florida State fans will attest. Some of his jabs about UT's Citrus Bowl appearances or FSU's free shoe scandle are classic. But most of the time SOS is dead serious, almost to the point of being put-out, by having to answer the same tired questions over and over. And these days, at least until he wins against some of his rivals, he is likely to keep his comments serious and succinct. Besides, Spurrier is a straight-shooter. Even when he is being humorous he is hitting on the facts of the matter. There is simply not that much to make fun of this early in his SC tenure.
One thing we believe to be true, and that is that even moreso than the fans, Spurrier probably cannot wait for the season to begin and to get his college-coaching feet back under him.
So in our truest effort to predict today's SEC Media Days Press Conference comments, let's take a shot at cliché clairvoyance.
After Spurrier finishes his standard, "I'm happy to be associated with The University of South Carolina program and to be their head ball coach - I see a lot of Florida media in here but let's try to focus on The University of South Carolina because this is where I am coaching now ..." speech, let the questions and answers begin ...
Beat Writer: Coach, why South Carolina?
Spurrier: I wanted to get back into college coaching and this seemed like the right place to be. SC is the flagship university of the state and they play in the SEC. They have all the support and facilities ... these are some of the best fans around. It seemed like a good fit to me and there is no reason we cannot win here.
Beat Writer: Yeah, but coach, they have never won anything of note in football. They are the epitome of mediocrity playing in a division against three perennial powerhouses. Not only is the East the best division in the league, it may be the best league in the country all by itself. If Lou Holtz couldn't do it, then why do you believe that you will?
Spurrier: There is no reason we cannot win at The University of South Carolina on a consistent basis. We've got good facilities and good fan support to sell. All we have to do is get the right players in here and then coach them up.
Beat Writer: Steve, did getting a chance to play your alma mater have anything to do with your decision?
Spurrier: No. (mumbles something under his breath)
Beat Writer: So, are you looking forward to playing your alma mater this fall? Will that game be bigger to you than others?
Spurrier: I'm not looking ahead to that one any more than any of the others right now. We'll think about Florida when the time comes. In the meantime we have to prepare for a well-coached Central Florida team right now.
Beat Writer: Come on Steve. They have the longest losing streak in the nation going right now. How good can they be?
Spurrier: I didn't say 'good.' I said, "well-coached."
Beat Writer: So you are saying CFU is no good?
Spurrier: No, I didn't say that. I'm sure they are going to come into our home stadium with every intention of ending that losing streak. We have to make sure to extend that streak out for them a little bit longer.
Beat Writer: Steve, you play your first three games against Central Florida, Georgia and Alabama on national TV. Does that worry you given the disractions? Are you concerned with flopping in front of the entire nation?
Spurrier: No. To be honest with you I've never thought about that. That's not how we think. To us this is a chance to show our product. It's a good opportunity for us.
Beat Writer: Steve, are you concerned about the off-field problems you inherited? About the loss of scholarships or potential probation?
Spurrier: I was made aware of pending problems before I took the job. It's not a lot different than it was when I took over at Florida. We'll get this thing on the right track.
Beat Writer: Do you expect a loss of bowl privileges or TV appearances?
Spurrier: No, I don't think so. I've got a pretty good track record with the NCAA and I am hoping they will take that into consideration, but no, I do not expect us to lose bowl privileges or to be prohibited from appearing on TV in the future.
Beat Writer: With all the suspensions and dismissals, how do you expect to field a competitive team this year Coach?
Spurrier: We've got a few players left who want to play. And we've got some new players reporting to camp who want a chance to show us what they can do. We'll find enough players with enough heart to be competitive. There is no reason we should not be competitive this season.
Beat Writer: How many games will you win this season? What are your goals?
Spurrier: Our goal is to be competitive every time we step on the field. We will not consider this season a successful one unless we win seven or eight games.
Beat Writer: Have you decided who your quarterback is going to be yet?
Spurrier: Blake Mitchell and Antonio Heffner have been working out on their own all summer. Blake has been leading the voluntary workouts with the wide receivers on his own all summer. We'll let a couple of the new guys get in here and see what they can do and then we'll decide.
Beat Writer: What about at running back Steve? Is Cory Boyd going to be eligible to play this season? How will you make-up for the loss of Demetrius Summers? Isn't Daccus Turman out with a one game suspension in that first game too?
Spurrier: Cory Boyd will be (has been) reinstated but we'll have more on that this week. And we'll find a way to have a running game. We've got some other players like Albert Ashcraft who are going to get their chance too. And we have some new guys coming in who might contribute. We're going to miss a few players in that first game but that's the consequences they are having to face for that season ending fight with Clemson last season.
Beat Writer: What about Dustin Lindsey, Josh Johnson, Tyler Erving and others?
Spurrier: Yep. Uh huh. We'll just have to see.
Beat Writer: Will there be anymore suspensions or dismissals in the near future?
Spurrier: Yeah, I think it is pretty safe to say there will be. (He may even officially announce one or two more at this time that we are aware of.) We'll have more on that this week or next.
Beat Writer: Steve, have you decided who will be where on the offensive line?
Spurrier: We've got three pretty much set there right now. Chris White, Jabari Levey and Na'Shan Goddard we know can play. We'll find the others once practice gets underway.
Beat Writer: And what about wide receiver?
Spurrier: We've got a few there that can play. Syvelle Newton and Sidney Rice look like they can compete. And we are waiting to see how Noah's (Whiteside) rehab has gone but we expect him back in time. Plus we've got a few guys coming in that we feel pretty good about ... we think they can play.
Beat Writer: Will you depend on your defense to carry the load this season?
Spurrier: We expect out defense to be competitive. We think we've got some players there and we'll just have to wait and see. But yep our defense is going to be asked to do a lot this season.
Beat Writer: Steve, how does this job compare to the Florida job? And do you intend to recruit the state of Florida and take advantage of your reputation down there?
Spurrier: These programs are similar. They both have great facilities and great fans. They are both in the Eastern Division of the SEC. They both were in similar situations when I took over. They are both the flagship universities of their states. That's about it I guess. What was the other part of your question?
Beat Writer: About recruiting in the state of Florida.
Spurrier: Oh yeah, right. Well, we think we can recruit everywhere. We're going to go after the best players that fit our system that want to come down here and be a part of this. We want players that want to be here and are willing to work in our system, so no, I don't think we'll focus particularly on Florida but we will be down there going after players that we want and those that want to be here.
Beat Writer: Can you recruit the type of players you need to win big in the SEC at South Carolina?
Spurrier: Oh yeah. That shouldn't be a problem. We're not having a problem selling our university. We're finding doors open wherever we go. Now all we need to do is get out there and win some big ball games and the rest will take care of itself. There are plenty of players out there right now who are interested in us. The kind of players you want on you ball club.
Spurrier con't: Of the 27 players we signed this past season, 6 were leftovers from the previous staff. Of those 21 that we signed, 15 were not mentioning us in November until we took over.
Beat Writer: Are you glad to have another Bowden on your schedule and have you realized the importance of the Clemson game yet?
Spurrier: Yeah, I heard all about that Clemson game while I was traveling around this summer speaking at the Gamecock clubs. I know Tommy Bowden, he is a fine coach and he does a good job up there. We'll think about that game a little more when we get to it.
Beat Writer: Steve, you mentioned that there was a commitment problem at USC and that some of your players needed better commitment?
Spurrier: Well, if we are going to compete with the likes of Tennessee, Georgia and Florida then we are going to have to have total commitment from all of our players over the summer during the voluntary workouts. That's what the good teams do. We've gotta find some leaders.
Beat Writer: Is there any reason you listed Florida last out of those three?
Spurrier: No. Are you from Florida?
Beat Writer: Yes
Spurrier: I thought so. Ok if that's it then I thank you all for coming and we'll look forward to seeing you out there this year.