South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier had plenty of zingers in his back pocket as he strolled to the podium at
"I told my wife as I was leaving, I said, 'You know what, I've been to this thing for 20 years now,'" said Spurrier, "But you guys have been here for 30, 40 years some of you... they don't fire media."
Longevity was a topic brought up a few times as Spurrier enters his 20th season in the league and you could tell he thinks South Carolina will be pretty good this year by the number of quips he had about other teams and how genuinely complimentary of his squad he was.
"We got some teams certainly ranked ahead of us. That's okay," he said. " Yeah, going into the eighth year, again, we've sort of assembled I think better players, coaches, everything around us that gives us a chance to be successful. We don't know what's going to happen till we start playing the games.
"You know, I was thinking eight or ten years when I took the job. I mentioned at a booster meeting before the first season that I'd like to try to be the winningest coach, which is only 65 wins would do it. I said that because I wanted people to know that I meant to be there for seven or eight, 10 years, something like that, and not jump at the first best offer that came around. "
- CBSSports.com columnist Dennis Dodd kicked off the Q&A portion by asking how long he the Old Ball Coach thought it would take to win a division title and/or SEC championship.
"You always hope you can do it real quickly," Spurrier quipped. "I think we just didn't put together a team that was quite capable as quickly. I think we've assembled better players, better coaches, maybe a better strength coach, trainer, equipment guy, the whole bit.
But again, we got to go play the games. Last year we won most of our close games."
- The four-team playoff talk will be a running theme of every media day and Spurrier weighed in on that: "I would have eight teams go play. We got six BCS conferences right now. If you can win your conference championship, one of these BCS conferences, you ought to have a chance to play for it all. Then you take two at-large teams. If Notre Dame goes undefeated, maybe Houston or Southern Miss goes undefeated, maybe they deserve a spot to play for the national championship."
On a selection committee for the eventual playoff: "I don't know the best way to do it. Probably best way is to do it similar to the way (the
- For the first time since he came to Columbia, Spurrier brought his quarterback to SEC media days in Connor Shaw. As you can expect, the head coach was excited at what the signal-caller can do this year after a strong finish in 2011.
"Last year we won most of our close games. Connor Shaw came on, played very efficiently," said Spurrier. "I think the last four games of the season, he was the highestâ€‘rated passer quarterback in the country. He completed about 74%, eight touchdowns, only one pick, and ran for about 280 yards. We only threw 18 passes per game."
- Spurrier on injured running back Marcus Lattimore: "The doctors can do wonderful things now with those knee surgeries. We think we got one of the best in the country, Dr. Jeff Guy, that we think is certainly one of the best. Feels like he got a very good surgery. Marcus rehabbed it beautifully, done everything they asked and probably a little bit more. He should be ready to go."
- A number of the 2012 signees -- "at least half of them" -- would be redshirted this year.
- Defensive line figures to be a big strength of the team with several returnees coming back for South Carolina.
"Devin Taylor and Jadeveon Clowney, we think together those could be two of the best ends in the conference," Spurrier said. "Inside we lost Travian Robertson, and actually Melvin (Ingram) played inside quite a bit and some other positions. We think we got some good solid defensive tackles. We have all senior linebackers. I think all of them are fifth year guys. We got a lot of experience right there at the linebacker position."
- On newcomers Texas A&M and Missouri: "I think Texas A&M and Missouri are going to be extremely competitive. I think they're going to win a bunch of games. Wouldn't surprise me if they weren't in the hunt to win a division or so. I think they may be right up in there."
Curiously though, Spurrier drew a bit of a line in the sand when it came to recruiting on a follow-up to the new programs adding territory to the conference footprint.
"We will not recruit Texas, no," the coach said. "We have plenty of ballplayers in South Carolina and our border states. We sort of call Florida a border state, but it's not. Florida, Georgia, North Carolina are mainly our targets right there, and our state. We're not going to go into Texas and compete against Oklahoma, Texas, all them guys."
- Interestingly, the coach told the players he took to Hoover to not address the Penn State situation, as Josh Kendall at The State reported. Spurrier himself addressed the situation by remarking that, "Well, obviously it's a terrible mess, terrible mess. I don't have the answers for this, that and the other. The only thing I would say about Coach (Joe) Paterno, when he coached college football, he did everything right. As a college football coach, he was a guy, I mean, he did things right. His teams played fair, fundamentally sound. He was always revered for doing the right things. I don't want to get into the other side of a terrible, terrible situation. But as a college football coach, I remember him that way also."
QUOTE OF THE DAY NOMINEE: "Every time some sportswriter asks me how much longer I'm going to coach, I think I need to ask him, How much longer are you going to write? What's the difference."