HOOVER, Ala. — There ought to be a Steve Spurrier channel.
If the Southeastern Conference is going to have its own network, if we have to be subjected to “Cajun Justice” and “Real Housewives of Morganza” or some such place, then there ought to be a venue where the Ol’ Ball Coach can rock his standup routine 24/7.
Tuesday marked Steve Spurrier’s 20th SEC Media Days appearance between his stints at Florida and South Carolina, and Darth Visor hasn’t been in better form for years.
A sample of Steve’s greatest hits …
- On SEC scheduling: “You think I make the schedule? If I made the schedule, Georgia would be playing LSU and we’d be playing Ole Miss.”
- On winning championships: “It’s easier to win the national championship than the SEC. Ask Nick Saban.”
- On the pressure of coaching in the SEC: “My job is not stressful. You make pretty good money.”
It’s hard to believe Spurrier, who has only a trace of gray in his still-full head of hair, is now 67. He won the Heisman Trophy in 1966, and has been away from Florida — where he went 14-1 against LSU as a player and coach — since 2001.
But he has no desire to quit coaching.
“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?’ ” Spurrier cracked.
Indeed, the Ol’ Ball Coach probably feels younger than he did last year. Part of that is because he underwent knee replacement surgery Jan. 5. The other part is that Spurrier believes this is his best team since he arrived at South Carolina in 2005.
You can tell when Spurrier likes his hand. The quips — some sharp enough to draw blood, but still not cause a mortal wound — fly a lot more frequently.
First, he has a dependable quarterback in Connor Shaw. No Danny Wuerffel is Shaw, but he is a run-pass threat who makes few mistakes and gives Spurrier few off-the-field headaches, something he couldn’t say about former quarterback Stephen Garcia.
Second, running back Marcus Lattimore, one of the best tailbacks in the country, is on track to make a full recovery from last year’s knee injury. The Gamecocks don’t have Alshon Jeffery to catch passes, but the defense, led by defensive ends Jadeveon Clowney and Devin Taylor, more than makes up for it.
This still isn’t a Fun ‘N’ Gun-type team, and you sense Spurrier pines for those days.
“We’ll probably be more of a running team, play defense, pick your spots to throw the ball,” Spurrier said. “That’s not a bad formula. As all of us know, you can win a bunch of ballgames doing it that way.”
Indeed you can. Spurrier’s Gamecocks won a school-record 11 games last year. This year, they feel they’re worthy of hanging with Alabama and LSU, which hosts South Carolina Oct. 13.
“We also understand that we could fall flat on our face if we don’t really prepare well for every game,” Spurrier cautioned.
That’s true, but not likely. You can tell from his quips Spurrier knows that.