Hoover, Ala. -- And just like that, the star attraction. After a (perhaps golf-related) schedule adjustment, the SEC's all-time top quipman took the podium with a trademark, "I've been here 20 years now ... Coaching in the SEC, it's not a stressful job. I know some of these coaches will tell you how stressful it is." South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier and his blazing red blazer, hitting the notes.
Here's your highlight (other than this), which came in response to a question about how big that Arkansas game is now:
"If I made the schedule, Georgia'd be playing LSU and we'd be playing Ole Miss." -- Steve Spurrier— SBN College Football (@SBNationCFB) July 17, 2012
"We've been recruiting better guys," Spurrier listed among the program's achievements, adding that Carolina's first SEC title remains the goal. "Probably better coaches, strength coaches, all that," for a school with a new culture, where the coach has finally convinced his fan base to no longer applaud close losses and that "just beating Clemson" is no longer a successful season. Though it does still need an indoor facility, he reminded. (The departed Ellis Johnson "did a great job," Spurrier noted of the new Southern Miss coach.)
A longtime playoff proponent, Spurrier called for an eight-team playoff with six autobids and two wild cards, noting "it's not gonna happen, but, anyway." On the subject of selection committees, the focus remains on winning the SEC East, then "winning in Atlanta." So, no, he doesn't care about selection committees. (Also in non-Gamecocks-specific items, Joe Paterno "was revered for doing the right things" as a college football coach, Spurrier remembers, but he declined to go into the "terrible" scandal.)
On the subject of quarterbacking, Spurrier noted Connor Shaw is the first Gamecocks passer he's ever brought with him to SEC Media Days. He touted Shaw's football background and media aptitude, appreciating his "lack of interests outside helping our team be successful" and his mobility (Shaw ran for 525 yards last year). Expect South Carolina to "pick spots" to throw the ball. "At times Stephen Garcia played pretty well, but we did not have real consistent game-after-game quarterback," Spurrier said of Carolina's recent QB play, further talking up Shaw's wheels as a way out of trouble and referencing Tim Tebow.
"The doctors can do wonderful things with those knee surgeries," Spurrier said of Marcus Lattimore's rehab and return. "He should be ready to go."
The Cocks will be without a heap of talent -- the coach pointed out the high draft spots enjoyed by Melvin Ingram and Alshon Jeffery -- but have plenty of veteran depth in the defensive front seven, Spurrier said. Shaw's Birmingham accomplices Ace Sanders and D.J. Swearinger didn't redshirt, the coach recalled with some surprise as he commented on the program's ever-increasing depth.
How about that SEC schedule! Spurrier praised Mizzou and A&M as quality additions, but doesn't expect to recruit Texas any time soon, keeping his focus on Carolina and its "border states." "They're gonna be even better," he said of Vanderbilt, a team that "had a shot at Florida, had a shot at Georgia," and so on. He named Georgia and Missouri as perhaps the two biggest games on the schedule.
Regarding the future, Spurrier turned the clock back to his first year, when he said he planned to remain for "seven, eight, ten years, something like that." Now that he's in that range, he just wonders how long these writers are gonna keep asking him how long he's gonna keep coaching.
Your updated Recruitedness Power Rankings, in which we rank how recruited we feel to each program after each coach has taken the podium:
- Steve Spurrier
- Kevin Sumlin