Steve Spurrier, angered by questions and doubts about his age and coaching ability, went on the offensive Wednesday, calling an impromptu press conference and blasting his critics.
Spurrier, who turned 70 in April, is coming off a 7-6 season but said he plans on coaching for five or six more years.
“His act today, I don’t know what that was,” CBSSports.com college football columnist Dennis Dodd said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “He was trying to convince people that he wasn’t a 70-year-old man, and in doing so, he sounded like a 70-year-old man yelling at the kids to get off his lawn. It was incredible.”
Spurrier called people attacking his program “enemies.”
“Apparently he was upset at a column in the Atlanta paper suggesting . . . that (the program is) heading downhill,” Dodd said. “A reasonable person can take that assumption. I kind of wrote that last week from the SEC Media Days. When he takes the field in the fall, he will be the oldest SEC coach ever to coach – older than Bear Bryant. So there’s that. And the fact that he’s coming off three straight 11-win seasons to 7-6, and he’s 70 – I think it’s okay to assume they’re might be some slippage. But he ranted and railed and didn’t name any specifics or anyone. I don’t know what it was about. It was strange.”
Spurrier, to be sure, has done great things at South Carolina. Before he arrived in 2005, the Gamecocks had just one season of double-digit wins in school history.
That changed in a hurry. This season, however, doesn’t figure to be very memorable.
“I think they’re going to start to be run-of-the-mill,” Dodd said. “He’s done the impossible in South Carolina: three straight 11-win seasons. They’ve never won an SEC title. We know that. They’ve been to one SEC Championship Game, and last year they slumped back to 7-6. They were awful defensively. They lose their quarterback (Dylan Thompson), which was one of their strong points. They don’t have a quarterback, and they don’t look like they’re going to be appreciably better. Basically, South Carolina is back to being South Carolina.”
In other SEC news, Auburn’s Gus Malzahn claimed that his conference is at a disadvantage for the playoff because playing in the SEC is so tough and that teams from other leagues are fresher at the end of the year.
Scott Ferrall thought that was ludicrous. Dodd did not.
“I actually agree with what he said,” Dodd said. “He wasn’t saying they’re not getting in the slots. He was saying perhaps we play so much football and so much intense football that we as a league might be worn out – and I wrote that column last Friday.”
But wait a minute. The SEC plays as many games as everyone else, and half their conference isn’t very good. And yet, SEC teams have a harder track to a national championship?
“That’s their contention,” Dodd said. “What do they always tell us? Every week is a grinder. Week in and week out, it’s so tough. Maybe by their logic, maybe it’s too tough to play 15 games to win a championship and win 14 of them and that’s what he was saying. This discussion doesn’t start unless you believe there’s a quote-unquote drought in the SEC – and by their standards, there is. Two years without a championship, so Saban now makes all these excuses last week about why they lost instead of saying they played a bad game. Ohio State was better. Maybe he ground them into dust. Maybe he worked them too hard. I don’t know.”