2010 SEC Media Days, Day Two: Where We Learn About Turkey Insemination

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2010 SEC Media Days: Steve Spurrier Just Another Ballcoach Trying To Win Games

It was really, really difficult not to accompany a Steve Spurrier press conference in 2010 with some kind of mournful music. Hobo harmonica? Harp? That heart-ripping song from The Civil War? Man, I hope he doesn’t actually use that, because the room will be in tears thirty seconds in. You might as well read the letter from Sullivan Ballou and get the thing over with in weepy fashion.

Spurrier did just seem, as he put it, like “another coach trying to win a bunch of games.” He did say how excited he was about the season. He did mention his defense, which he expects to continue its excellence despite the loss of LB Eric Norwood. He spoke about South Carolina’s ongoing improvement in recruiting. He said all of the things a coach is supposed to say when pumping up the team’s prospects for the media, and used the word “excited.”

These area all things a coach is supposed to do at a press event like SEC Media Days. Yet they seemed strange coming from the mouth of Spurrier, who played the rare and odd role of the overly humble coach with little to say in the way of cutting remarks, taunting, or witticism pulled from the quiver of the SEC’s former quotemaster.

When asked about losing this title, well…it needed harmonica in the background.

“I don’t think I’ve won enough games lately to make outlandish quotes.”

And cue the sad music. Spurrier continued the minor key by downplaying his accusations he was too harsh on Stephen Garcia, but then said that he had “two quarterbacks coming to the ballpark ready to play.”

“He should play pretty well.” Pauses. “If he’s the quarterback.”

The key may have changed, but the mechanics of the Spurrier quarterbacking saga have not. Stephen Garcia will get the first shot to lay at South Carolina, but as long as Conor Shaw is on the bench and waiting, the hook is always at Spurrier’s disposal.

Spurrier also ran the gamut on the issues almost every coach has been asked about. He’s for stricter controls on agents. He, like Meyer and Slive, refused to mention Lane Kiffin by name when asked about him. (He says he never had much time to pay attention because South Carolina had their own problems.) He mentioned that he never thought he would get a bonus for graduating players, but this is the 21st century in the SEC and he’ll still take it.

How gloomy was it? Spurrier even bemoaned the state of his golf game when asked about it. We have reached a truly dire state of affairs when the Ol’ Ball Coach despairs at discussion of even his beloved side hustle.

(SEC Media Day Two has concluded, and all the writers are going to play golf. We’re going to Dreamland instead, and will rejoin you tomorrow bright and early at 9:30 EDT for Gene Chizik and Auburn.)


2010 SEC Media Days: Vanderbilt Interim Coach Robbie Caldwell Introduces Turkey Insemination To The SEC

Robbie Caldwell is Vanderbilt’s interim football coach and turkey insemination expert, set a new land speed record for maximum folksiness in 40 minutes of pure South Carolina life lessons.

It’s hard to summarize exactly what just happened, but let’s review the quotes and let them stand for themselves.

On his initial reaction to getting the job:

Man this is so awesome.

If it’s two days or 20 years, I can now say ’Man, I was a head coach one time.'

On how his life is appropriately similar to a Nashville country song:

I came from a broken home.

On his unparalleled name recognition:

I know the first question you’re asking, ‘Who is Bobby Caldwell?’

On his PR skills:

I typically stick my foot in my mouth.

On his high-profile public image:

I got to see Coach Richt and Coach Spurrier today. They have no idea who I am.

On what he was doing the day he found out he was the interim coach:

I was out lining the field. I’m going from lining the field to being a head coach in the SEC.

On being confused for service personnel in the past 24 hours:

Last night I opened the door at the restaurant for someone and people were giving me tips….I got about a dollar fifty, but I gave it back to him. I thought that was pretty good, though.

On keeping Bobby Johnson’s profanity ban in place in practices:

I’m no angel. It’s just a matter of vocabulary. I do have an education, though you can’t tell from the way I talk.

On Bobby Johnson’s response to taking his full-time offer at lower pay to become an assistant at Furman:

He said ‘Boy you’re an idiot,’ and I continued to live up to his words.

On habits he needs to quit as a new headcoach:

I was emptying the trash at practice and they were like, ‘No, no you can’t do that.’

On his upbringing in Pageland, SC:

You had to like watermelon, hunting and fishing, and frog-gigging, and played ball. We played sports to get out of work.

On his first job:

My first job was on the turkey farm. I don’t know if I can tell you what my job was, but I was on the insemination crew. That was a good job. We got paid by the hour.

On the possibility that any of the SEC writers present might be extraterrestrials:

I don’t think any of you are from outer space.

In response to a question on whether his duties at the turkey farm had hindered his ability to enjoy Thanksgiving:


On the various intelligences of types of turkey: 

"A wild turkey's one of the smartest animals in the world, and a domestic turkey is one of the world's dumbest animals, I tell you what. We had to put sprinklers out there to keep them from smothering in the summertime."

On turkey insemination: 

"It's an interesting process. I'd be happy to show you sometime."

And Robbie Caldwell takes his trophy, exits the room, and leaves as the man who slayed SEC Media Days, strapped it to the hood of his truck, and drove it home to mount its horned head on his living room wall. Unless Steve Spurrier comes in and rips into every coach in the SEC in a 40 minute tirade, the interim coach for Vandy just won SEC Media Days for 2010. 


2010 SEC Media Days: AJ Green Cannot Comment On The NCAA Situation, But Let's Ask Anyway

A funny moment: minutes after the SEC comes on the mike and asks reporters to refrain from asking anyone from Georgia about the ongoing NCAA investigation, a reporter waltzes into the middle of UGA wideout AJ Green’s press conference and asks him a tangential question about the NCAA’s investigation.


I’m not going to comment on that.

Well played, Mr. Green. Scouts would be negligent if they do not include your PR skills on your overall prospectus.


2010 SEC Media Days: Georgia's Mark Richt Remains Tan, Cool, And Unruffled After A Decade

Mark Richt just finished a tidy stint in the main room here, a stint made tidier by a request on Georgia’s behalf to hold off on all questions regarding the NCAA’s investigation into AJ Green’s alleged presence at the agent-sponsored South Beach Party currently erasing half the games played in the 2009 college football season.

Without agent questions, Richt largely focused on answering actual questions about actual football.

—The Bulldogs’ switch to the 3-4 under new defensive coordinator Todd Grantham wasn’t easy, but save for the outside linebacker position depth is not an issue, per Richt. “Now some of those positions might have some young guys at them, but depth is not an issue.”

—Aaron Murray, the new redshirt freshman starter, is going to be asked to manage the offense.

“He does not need to make a spectacular play every play. If the protection’s there, put the ball on him. If it’s not, throw it away.”

—Richt’s tan rating? It’s about a 7 on a 1-10 scale, and lags far behind Nick Saban’s glowing hide for sheer luster. Bobby Bowden’s nagging about proper skin care has to be getting to him for the reigning Sun King of SEC Football to fall so far behind a rival.

—The inevitable hot seat question did arrive, which Richt addressed with his usual sangfroid.

“My goal is to focus on the things I can control.”

The highlight thus far for the Georgia portion of the programming is fullback Shaun Chapas popping into Richt’s sessions in the smaller rooms and asking the probing question of the day: “Who is your favorite fullback in the SEC, coach?”


2010 Media Days: Bobby Petrino Says A Massive Amount Of Nothing

Bobby Petrino spoke for 35 minutes, was jovial, cheerful, polite, polished, prepared, and otherwise far more comfortable and pleasant in the media spotlight. He also said absolutely nothing of interest, and my notes show this. He said these things:

—Ryan Mallett has a nice smile.

—They didn’t feel like they could beat Alabama, and it’s important to believe you can beat someone.

—Petrino doesn’t do Facebook, but his staff does, and discovered that wide receiver Cobi Hamilton was having thumb surgery from reading through Facebook.

Other than that, I can’t tell you a single thing Petrino said. He must have spent the entire offseason reading the Jim Tressel Coaching Manual On Saying Nothing In Five Thousand Words, because he was a talking cipher leaving no traces for reporters to follow.

Ryan Mallett, the 6’ 7" qb for the Razorbacks, was far more interesting.

—His foot is fine, and with all the swim rehab he’s been doing he’s going to try out for the Olympics in 2014, he says. This would mean that swimming would be a winter sport by then since the ‘14 games are the Winter Games, but if Arkansas alum Jerry Jones wants it to happen it’s going to happen.

—A reporter asked if he had any reports on how his receivers were doing in seven on sevens this summer, and Mallett responded “I do have inside information, since I’ve beent throwing to them.”

—On his arm strength: "Some people call it the “Mallett arm” others call it the “family arm.” The Malletts are accurate, if not completely creative people.

Mark Richt is up next, and should produce at least one quote, which is one more than Petrino made.


2010 SEC Media Days, Day Two: Hogs, Dawgs, Cocks and The New Kid On The Block

SEC Media Days, Day Two will proceed at 9:30 a.m. with the most anticipated speaker of the entire event: Rogers Redding, aka MC Big Whistle, the SEC's head of officiating. This actually is more interesting than you might anticipate, since he will cover the officiating emphases for the year, a series of points likely covering the controversial new wrinkles to the excessive celebrations rules.

He will also perform a 15 minute set with Big K.R.I.T. and special guest Rich Boy to the delight of the SEC Media Room.* 

On deck today: Arkansas, Georgia, Vanderbilt, and South Carolina. We'll make sure to ask Bobby Petrino how his interview with Vanderbilt went.


*This is not true. 

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