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Carolina’s Spurrier Is Ready To Do Some More Talking

Readers of this site know that we believe you can easily follow the ups and downs of the South Carolina football team by tracing the number of barbs and digs Steve Spurrier tosses out during press conferences, at SEC Media Days, and to random scribes.

When he’s winning, he’s lippy.  When he’s losing, he’s pouty.  Following Carolina’s horrible bowl loss to UConn a couple of seasons ago, Spurrier looked embalmed and lifeless as he stood behind the podium during Media Days.  Two years later, with an East Division title and an 11-win season under his belt, he’s been talking more.

The coach freely admits that in a fresh interview with ESPN’s Chris Low… and he also makes it clear that he doesn’t understand why folks take his words so seriously:

 

“I didn’t do a whole lot of talking because there wasn’t much to talk about.  We were winning seven games a year until the last two years.  If you don’t win very much, it’s hard to say anything…

They all want to hear something funny at the booster club meetings in the summer and laugh and giggle a little bit.  Bobby Bowden used to do it all the time, and they all thought it was funny.  But then I’d do it, and it would get out there, and they’d all take it personally and say, ‘You son of a gun.’

That’s OK, though … because it’s all just a bunch of talk.”

 

Well, it may just be talk, but there’s no debating the fact that Spurrier’s words get a bit more hurtful the more he wins.  In the early 1990s he once said this, for example: “How is it when (Georgia) signs people, they get the best, but when we play, we’ve got the best players?  Georgia has signed a lot of good players.  Something just happens to them at Georgia, I guess.”

A joke is a bunch of talk.  An insult is an insult.  That was an insult aimed directly at Georgia’s coaches.

Spurrier’s free to toss barbs — and many of them are amusing — but when some of his jokes read like insults, it’s tough for him to fall back on the, “I don’t know folks are so upset,” defense.

We can all expect to hear plenty from Spurrier next week during the SEC Meetings in Destin.  His plan to not count cross-divisional games will be one of the most debated topics of the week.

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Spurrier “Disassociates” Columbia SportsWriter

Why now?

That seems to be the main question following a bizarre press briefing in Columbia, South Carolina today.  Rather than taking his normal seat behind the microphone for his weekly meeting with the local media, Steve Spurrier paced back and forth in front of reporters and said he was going to disassociate himself from The State’s lead sports columnist, Ron Morris.

“In 26 years as a head coach I’ve had two guys that didn’t write the truth that I had to disassociate with,” Spurrier said.

He said that he would refuse to take questions as long as Morris was in the press room.  When Morris stayed put, Spurrier left to do television interviews.  When he returned and found Morris still in attendance, Spurrier wrapped the media session before it started and several beatwriters were ushered to his office instead.

Speaking moments ago with Jay Phillips of WNKT-FM in Columbia, it was made clear to me that Spurrier’s timing caught everyone off guard.

First, a little history:

* All hometown columnists — rightly or wrongly — are lumped into one of two categories: homer or hater.  Morris is viewed by many Gamecock fans as belonging to the latter category.

* When Bruce Ellington joined the Carolina football team this spring, Morris wrote that his sources told him that Spurrier had poached the player from Darrin Horn’s basketball team.

* Spurrier has denied those charges as have Horn and Ellington.  Today, Spurrier called the Ellington column from this spring “completely fabricated.”

* Following Carolina’s upset loss to Auburn, Morris wrote that Spurrier made “poor decisions” that cost his team.

* On Sunday, his column was titled: “Offense better, but it was against Kentucky.”

The coach said today: “The criticism he shows me is fine, I don’t mind that.  I’m just not okay with stories that aren’t true.”  Uh, fine, but the story Spurrier claims is untrue was written in the spring.  (Morris — for his part — has stood behind the column, though he’s been asked by The State not to comment on Spurrier’s actions today.)

So why bring this back up?

Perhaps because Spurrier has and always will act like a bully.  When he’s winning, he’s more likely to throw barbs at others (ask Kentucky fans).  And when he’s losing, he pouts, goes quiet and often acts melancholy.

So is it possible Spurrier dug up an old column that’s still under his skin because he’s feeling 10-feet-tall and bulletproof thanks to a 54-3 whooping of a lesser foe on Saturday?  And because the same writer continues to fire barbs at him and his offense?  If you’ve followed Spurrier’s career, then you know that answer is yes.  It’s very possible.

Why else bring this back up now?  For those who feel that Spurrier was creating a distraction to focus talk away from Stephen Garcia’s dismissal — which was announced later — we’re not buying.

The Garcia situation is a guaranteed hot topic and no amount of smokescreens can keep that story off the front page.  (Click here for proof.)  By going after Morris, Spurrier simply created a second controversy for himself.

Below is the video of the coach’s comments:

What a silly way to handle this.  Six months after the fact.

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