While other coaches talked about their teams, South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier stepped to the podium at SEC Football Media Days with larger issues on his mind.
Before the first question could be asked of him, Spurrier came out swinging Tuesday in favor of paying stipends to college football and basketball players and of finding a fairer way to determine SEC division champions.
While Spurrier has expressed those positions many times before, he did not stop there: Notre Dame, he offered, should play a conference football schedule, presumably in the ACC, as college football transitions in 2014 to a four-team playoff.
Spurrier said he and his fellow SEC football coaches discussed those issues at a meeting earlier this summer. The coaches voted 14-0, Spurrier said, that football and basketball players should receive stipends — spending money — of about $300 per week during their seasons. The coaches also voted 14-0, Spurrier said, that Notre Dame should play a conference football schedule.
Here’s Spurrier on each topic:
- On stipends: “College football and basketball players that bring in an enormous amount of money, a billion dollars in March Madness this year … we should provide some expense money (to them). … Just (for them) to have a little bit of pocket money and for their parents to have money to come to games. We all voted for it — Nick Saban, Mark Richt, Kevin Sumlin, all of our coaches. … This is tiny compared to the amount of money that is coming in. I think we all know that.”
- On determining division champions: “It’s not always fair, and we all know that. Alabama played for the conference championship (last season), and Alabama did not play the three top teams from the East. Georgia did not play the three top teams from the West. So scheduling does make a difference.. How to make it fair, we’re not all exactly sure how to do it. … There was a suggestion that your division games would count for (determing the division champ) unless there was a tie; then you would go to the out-of division games.”
- On Notre Dame: “All 14 of our head coaches thought Notre Dame should join the ACC and play football like all the rest of us. … From those of us that are in a conference, we say, ‘Why aren’t they in a conference?’ It’s sort of hard to figure out why. They’re sort of in the ACC (but not for football). … OK, we all voted 14-0 they ought to be in a conference.”
Murray ‘scared’? South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney told reporters that at least three quarterbacks are scared of him.
“Aaron Murray is one of them,” Clowney said of the Georgia QB.
The others he named: Tajh Boyd of Clemson and Tyler Wilson, formerly of Arkansas.
“You can look at a guy and tell if he’s scared,” Clowney said. “If he’s staring at me before the ball is snapped, if he’s staring at me before every snap, I’m just, like, ‘Oh, we got him.’ I (tell teammates), ‘He’s shook. We’ve just got to get a couple hits on him (and) he’ll turn the ball over.’ (He’ll be) throwing before he wants to, sliding.”
Murray will be available for a reponse when Georgia takes its turn at Media Days on Thursday.
Clowney, who drew the largest media crowds of any player here Tuesday, said Florida “probably” will be the Gamecocks’ toughest competition in the SEC East this season.
“I ain’t downing Georgia, because I don’t know who they got,” he said. “I just know Georgia (lost), like, nine defensive starters. They’ve gotta put people in those spots, so it’ll be tough for them.”
Returning fire: Florida coach Will Muschamp fired back at reports that Ohio State (and former Florida) coach Urban Meyer turned in the Gators for alleged recruiting violations.
“We appreciate our friends from Ohio making sure we are compliant with NCAA rules. They certainly know a little bit about NCAA rules,” Muschamp told reporters.
According to various reports: The NCAA found the allegation unfounded; Meyer denied turning in the Gators; an Ohio State spokesman said someone else in the Buckeyes’ athletic department did so.
Driskel’s backup plan: If football doesn’t work out for Jeff Driskel, he’ll have pro baseball to fall back on.
The Florida quarterback hasn’t picked up a bat in more than two years, so he was as surprised as anybody when he was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 29th round in June. He said he was hunting hogs with his girlfriend at the time. Driskel has since signed a contract with the Red Sox.
“Hopefully football works out and I never play baseball again,” said Driskel, who threw for 1,646 yards, 12 touchdowns and five interceptions last season. “It’s nice to have playing for the Red Sox as a good backup plan.”
Muschamp said he advised Driskel to sign the baseball deal. NCAA rules allow him to retain his college eligibility becase it’s in a different sport.
“His commitment level to the University of Florida is outstanding, but he had a great opportunity there with a great organization,” Muschamp said. “If he ever does want to pick up a bat or a glove, certainly being a part of the Red Sox organization would be outstanding.”
The Visor Effect: Auburn’s Gus Malzahn recently admitted that he started wearing a visor as a high school coach due to his admiration of Spurrier. Turns out, so did Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze.
“When I was a high school coach, I wanted to be like Steve Spurrier,” Freeze said. “That’s the truth. … He likes it. He calls me his ‘Visor Guy.’”
Said Spurrier: “Hugh and I have a lot in common. We both play golf. We both wear visors. We both call the plays. How could you not like a guy like Hugh Freeze?”
No more two-a-days: Missouri coach Gary Pinkel plans to eliminate two-a-day practices in preseason camp.
“Two years in a row, we’ve had the most injuries we’ve ever had since I’ve been coaching,” Pinkel said. “I want to get my team to September to play.”
Injuries to quarterback James Franklin and the offensive line hurt Missouri during a 5-7 (2-6 SEC) season last year. “Just having (Franklin) back and having a healthy offensive line will do wonders for our offense this year,” wide receiver D’Damian Washington said.
SEC Network update: The all-SEC cable television channel, scheduled to launch in August 2014, “continues to take shape,” conference commissioner Mike Slive said.
The SEC Network will have a “signature” two-hour pregame show each Saturday during football seasons, Slive said. The show, which will lead into a tripleheader of games, will broadcast live from a different campus each week.
Slive said discussions “are ongoing” with all major cable and satellite providers to get the network distributed. So far, an agreement has been reached only with AT&T U-verse.
Etc.: The Georgia-South Carolina game Sept. 7 in Athens has been set for a 4:30 p.m. kickoff and will be nationally televised on ESPN, the SEC announced. … The SEC issued some 1,200 credentials for Media Days. … The Chick-fil-A Kickoff game, which will pit Alabama vs. Virginia Tech on Aug. 31 in the Georgia Dome, is sold out, game officials said. … The score of Florida’s Sugar Bowl loss to Louisville (33-23) greets the Gators on a big poster as they walk into the locker room.”Every day we have to see it,” defensive lineman Dominique Easley said.