At the SEC media days, the coaches move from room to room to get interviewed as well as hold press conferences.
Below are transcripts from Spurrier's press conferences with the TV/Print Media and his press conference on "radio row."
PRESS CONFERENCE WITH PRINT/TV MEDIA
Opening statement: "We've improved our talent level, but again the fustrating part for us is
the effort level, and our guys are not conscience of playing their assignments as perfectly as they can. Now I know
everybody has that problem, but at South Carolina we...I haven't changed them yet, let's put it that way. Our coaching
staff has not changed our guys to the level of play to really be good. Haven't done it yet. We're still trying.
Got some new coaches, got some different players and we're going to try again this year to see if we can get the effort
and the commitment to play your assignment as perfectly as possible so that's where we are. Once again, our big
recruiting class (is still young). We're looking forward to seeing what happens the next three or four years."
Is it too late for Stephen Garcia to salvage his career? "Stephen could be back. The university
is handling his situation. He had a bunch of requirements to do this summer. From what I understand, he's done
just about all they've asked, or everything I'm not exactly sure. But the university, the dean of students, the probost,
or whoever; somebody will tell him when to come if he's fulfilled those requirements."
As a former Heisman Winner, what do you think the challenges are for Tim Tebow to try repeat as a Heisman
Winner? "Oh, I don't know. None of them have ever repeated. I saw that the other day.
Matt Leinart and those guys that won as juniors. But, he's the first to win as a sophmore. I don't know.
Certainly could I guess. If he runs for about five touchdowns a game like he did against us, he'll do it.
Well, it may be hard just because voters think, 'he's already won one, let's give it to the other guy.' But maybe they
won't, I don't know, that's up to you guys. I vote too, but y'all do the voting too."
Last year you came here and you said you thought your team was ready to contend, is this year's team ready
to contend; how does the feeling going into the season change or not change this year for you? "Well actually,
the team this year is probably much better prepared than last year. And obviously we were dead wrong in thinking that
our team was capable last year. Of course we did beat Georgia the number two team in the country. Of course Kentucky
beat LSU, the number one team. So that happens sometimes in the SEC. We beat Georgia when they didn't have a very
good night. Our field goal guy was perfect and we scored one touchdown. It was a game that certainly they could've
won, they can look back and see a play or two here and there that they could've won it also. But we were never that
strong during that 6-1 record, we were sort of squeaking by some teams and this that and the other. And then the close
losses at the end turned it. But we only had one guy drafted, Cory Boyd who's down there with the Buccaneers, the Tampa
Bay Bucs. So it wasn't like, 'this team is loaded.' I've always been a coach, most of you guys know, at Duke University,
the first thing I had to do was tell those guys they were as good as NC State, Clemson, or whoever and hope like heck they
believed me, and fortunatly they did. And they played like it. And you know, you try to tell your players, 'You're
good players and you're capable, and now play like it.' But we didn't quite play like we were very good players.
So, It didn't work out. I didn't say were were going to win. I thought if we got into position, maybe it
wouldn't scare us to say, 'Oh gosh, maybe we could win our division for the first time ever.' But it is interesting,
that I was noticing, that on our side, the Eastern division. There's only been three teams ever win the division.
Did y'all know that? So us and Vandy, and Kentucky, we're still looking for the first one. Where as on the other
side, I think Ole Miss is the only one, and of course they had that 7-1 year and lost that heartbreaker to LSU. So there
side is probably a little more balanced than our side has been. And obviously, we're trying to crack that top three.
We've beat them all once and lost a heartbreaker to them all once. So we're 1-2 against all of them. Got to get
a little better."
I guess you're one of five coaches in the leage that's won a national title and I think there's eight or nine
have won BCS bowl games. Just talk about the coaching in this leage and it seems like every year there's another guy
that wins another national title. "Yeah, the coaching is obciously very good and the talent is very good
in the SEC. When you look at how many SEC players are invited to the NFL combine every year. We lead all of the
conferences. In drafted players, we lead all of the conferences. So as coaches, it's important at our universities,
at our schools, our fans, big state universities. Everybody wants to win. It is important. There's no question
about it. I tell you, a lot of times as coaches though we don't particularly worry about who the other coach is.
We're just trying to get the best gameplan for our players to go play. And go from there. So, I think it's only
natural that we have the biggest stadiums in the South, so the coaches make more in the South than they do in the other places.
I used to be in that group, but I'm not in that group anymore. But that's okay, that's okay."
Coach, as someone who left the NFL to come back to college, are you suprised Petrino is back? And also,
after you answer that, why did you feel the need a couple of weeks ago to tell people, I'm committed to South Carolina, I
plan on being there? "I don't know, did I make a point to say that? I think somebody asked me about
'how long you're going to be there' and this that and the other. Yeah, I told Bobby when he took the job I was going
to give you two years. I told some people I'd give you two years and you'll come back to college. But obviously
some things happened that he didn't forsee or they didn't. And it just turned into sort of a situation and he had a
chance to go to Arkansas and I think his lifestyle, I guess, is a lot like mine in that he enjoys a little
bit of an offseason. I've always enjoyed it to try to recharge your batteries to get ready for August and the real season.
Where as the NFL guys, they pretty much like to grind eleven months of the year. But they enjoy that and that's good
for them. Personally, the lifestyle in college is a lot better suited for me, I know, and maybe Bobby felt the same
Steve, based on your comments, do you feel your team lacks confidence right now? "Yeah
we lack a little bit of confidence. But we haven't done enough to gain a whole bunch of confidence. We haven't
quite done enough yet. I've always been a big believer. You got to expect some good things to happen before you
can go achieve it. I think we're still, in the back of our minds. We still want to win the SEC. I don't
think we need to talk about it this year, and probably don't talk about it any year really. But if we're lucky
enough to get into position, don't be afraid to think we're not as good as the other guy. So that's sort of where we
are. If we get into position, let's believe we can play with any team in our conference."
You touched on Ellis Johnson. How were you able to get him? I know he was at Arkansas. Just
go through the process of getting him to Carolina. "Well, Ellis is from South Carolina. Winnsboro,
South Carolina. His wife, Carolina, is actually from Columbia. I think he has had a desire, if he got a chance,
to come on back and coach in his home state. To be honest, I probably should've hired him two or three years ago if
I could have. I didn't know Ellis very well at that time. The opportunity came up when Vangorder went back to
the Falcons. Shane Beamer, who's on our staff, he was at Mississippi State two years ago, he's been with us going into
his second year. So, Shane had his number I said, 'You think he still might be interested?' He said, 'Call him
coach, I think he might be interested.' So I called him up, we did the deal. So when Vangorder left, two hours
later I had a ball coach."
Steve, you talked a lot about the quality of your players. I've got a question, a lot of coaches have
height and weight parameters when they're looking for players at certain positions. How much do you stick with that?
How much trouble do you get into when you get away from it? What makes you sort of to leave those?
"Well again, we all try to get the biggest, best athletes we can who are solid citizens, good students and all of that.
But sometimes, at South Carolina we don't beat Georgia out for too many guys. We don't beat Florida out for too many
guys. That's why we need to have a big year here in the next two or three years. And our facilities are being
upgraded tremendously. Eric Hyman, our new Athletic Director, well he's been there all three years I've been there,
has done an outstanding job of collecting. Boosters are giving more than they ever have in the history of the school.
We got a brand new academic learning center called The Dodie. Groundbreaking I believe is this Monday. About a
13 million dollar building for all of the academic needs for all of the athletes at South Carolina. We're renovating
our training room down there, locker room area. We've got a brand new weight room, meeting rooms. So we have made
progress. We have made progress. But what we need to do now is compete on the field with Florida, Tennessee, and
Georgia. It's been those three and then it's been the other three. We've beaten them, and then we've lost a heartbreaker
and hopefully we can beat those schools to get into that next level where we can beat those guys on a bunch of kids.
But it's hard to beat those schools. But we're not completely real strict. We've got two or three linebackers
committed and I think all of them are about six-foot or six-one, so we sent a memo no more six foot linebackers, let's go
for two or three if we can. So we all try to get the best we can. But at times, you know, 'well he's not quite
as tall as we'd hope but we think he's a good player.' So we got to go with who you can. Sort of like
going after girls I guess. Gotta get the best you can I guess. Some of these guys actually have good looking wives
which is unusual."
Steve, when you left the NFL, you said you wanted to come to the SEC because all of the passionate game and
whatever. People are saying the SEC this year might be the best league in the history of college football. If
that's true, it's extremely hard as you know. Is it as hard as you thought it was going to be to win in the SEC?
"Well, like I told you buddy we've beaten Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee once. So, we've lost a heartbreaker.
I think I've said that about four times. For what we've done at South Carolina, our record's probably not too bad.
To finish near the bottom of the league in a lot of offensive and defensive statistics, to be 21-16 I guess, is not as terrible
as you might think. But, no I knew it would be difficult. Yeah, if it was easy, it wouldn't be that much fun to
try to do it. If it was easy, all of them other coaches would've been winning at South Carolina. So, we know it's
not easy, but it is a challenge. One of the ultimate challenges. But what's sort of neat now is that our
facilities are pretty close to the other schools and we need to have one or two big years. We need to win a division
some where along the way. That's the next step we need to take. Or else, if that doesn't happen in about five
years then probably somebody else needs to try to do it. Because we've got a lot of good players. And that's what
coaching is all about. If one guy doesn't get it done in seven-eight years, something like that. Then give the
next guy a chance. But South Carolina can win, I really believe that. They can win and they can beat the other
schools. We just haven't done it consistently yet. But one good thing about the SEC is that even though you lose
one or two games, like LSU can win the national championship and win the conference with two losses. That's possible.
So it's not the end of the world if you lose one or two."
Steve, now there are four coaches in the league, like yourself, who used to coach at one school in the conference
and now coach at another, like Houston Nutt going to Ole Miss. Do you think that adds an element of intrigue and interest
in the conference and what's that first year like for that coach going back to his old school? "Oh it adds
a little bit but really when the game starts, the players, and the fans, it's your team against the other team really.
It gets down to that. Yeah, Houston says he hasn't thought about it that much. And to tell you the truth, I didn't
think about it that much when I was coaching the first year against Florida. And I really sort of believe that coaching
is the sort of profession that after ten or twelve years maybe somebody else needs to do it. You know, move around a
little bit. Most of you know that my dad was a preacher. He never lasted ten, twelve years anywhere. They
sort of said, 'hey, it's time for you to move on.' So every three or four years we were moving. You know they
had already heard all of his sermons and this that and the other. And there was another place to go. And
some people think that coaching after ten or eleven years or so maybe you ought to go do it somewhere else. And that's
really how I sort of felt at Florida, 'Well, I've done this twelve years, let's try the NFL four or five and retire.'
But I think when you're in your fifties you think when you're in your sixties you'll be retired. Then all of a sudden
it's there and you feel the same way you did in your fifties. So, you don't retire unless you really got something you
want to do. And there's nothing else I would like to do any better at all than what I'm doing now. So that's
where we are I think."
Coach, David Cutcliffe said he spoke to you somewhere around the time he took the Duke job. I was just
wondering what advice you gave him and whether you still think it's possible to win there? "Win at Duke,
uh, Wake Forest won. Wake Forest won the conference two years ago. I think that's one of the greatest achievements
in college football. Maybe bigger than Appalachian State beating Michigan up there. For Wake Forest to win that
division, win the conference championship game. That was very, very good. Coach Jim Grobe, they redshirt all of
their players. So they play with a lot of fourth and fifth year guys all of the time. They bring them in and redshirt
him. But their recruiting classes are very seldom ranked as good as Duke's from what I understand. Somebody told
me that Duke's recruiting classes were overall ranked higher in the last four or five years than Wake Forest.
I guess that's true, I don't know. But anyways, David Cutcliffe is a super coach, he's got a proven track record.
He'll get them competitive. It's hard to beat a whole bunch of teams. But they should be very competitive soon."
Steve, you mentioned Beecher's grades and leadership abilty and qualities, how much of that went into your
decision to name him starter at the end of spring? "Oh, not that much. Chris Smelley's the second
smartest guy on the team as you know. Tommy just really hasn't had a chance yet. We just thought, 'Well who's
the quarterback?' We're tired of that. I'm tired of that. It's time to give one of those guys and Chris
played a whole bunch last year so we've watched him play, but we've not seen Tommy much at all. And Tommy has performed
a little bit better in the scrimmages in the spring, so it's time to make him the starter, tell him he's the starter.
Tell him he's going the distance. And he doesn't have to worry about one interception, but he's our guy and we're going
to give him a chance, we believe that he deserves a chance to run with it and we'll find out if he can take us a long way."
Coach, thank you. "Okay. See y'all during the season."
PRESS CONFERENCE ON "RADIO ROW"
Opening statement: "Okay, I appreciate all of you for hanging around through Friday. But,
it's always nice to be here. Sixteenth year I've been to SEC Media Days. I was talking to Bobby Petrino, it's
his first. And so I said, I've only been fifteen more. But anyways, it's good to be here. We're pumped up.
We're getting ready for football season at South Carolina. We didn't finish very well last year as you probably know.
6-6. We were stuck in mediocrity. Had a couple of games. Tennessee, Clemson games that one play could've
made a difference, but we didn't make the play so that's where we are right now. Defensively we've finished ninth, ninth,
and tenth the three years since I've been there. So we've got a new defensive coach. I really believe that Ellis
Johnson, coming over from Mississippi State, been at Alabama, a proven guy will help us. And a new special teams coach,
Ray Rychleski, came from the University of Maryland. So, we're doing some things differently. Got better athletes
than we've ever had since I've been there. We've got a good looking team. Hopefully we can coach our guys to play
like good players. If we can do that. Maybe something good will happen for the University of South Carolina.
So we're certainly looking forward to the coming season. Tommy Beecher will be our quarterback. Tommy's going
into his fourth year at South Carolina. He's got all the physical tools to really play well. So again, we're
really looking forward to seeing what's going to happen. We feel like we've got the athletes to compete and we'll find
out if we can do it or not. Okay, any questions?"
Coach, are you comfortable with delegating all of the resposibilities of the defense to Ellis Johnson?
"Well, I've been pretty comfortable with doing that my whole coaching carreer since I coach the quarterbacks and pretty much
run the offense. But Ellis, is certainly very capable. He's got a proven track record of running the defense.
And really I pretty much allow the defense to do their thing. Although I check in and try to make sure I know what we're
doing and try to lend a little bit to it. But everything we've done this spring, I certainly like the way that Ellis
coaches and hopefully we're going to be in the top half of the league defensively. If we're ever going to challenge
for the conference championship we can't be tenth and ninth I don't think in total defense. And we finished bottom against
the run last year. So we had to do some things differently. And so hopefully Ellis plus some bigger, stronger,
faster athletes will help us do that."
Coach, will you be delegating the playcalling to your son Steve Spurrier Jr.? "No, what
we're going to do on offense. My son, Steve Jr. has been with me eleven years, counting three years as a G.A. at Florida,
and so forth and he's been out to Oklahoma and several other places, but putting it all together, and putting the offensive
play sheet together takes a lot of time during the week. I'll still be involved with that. And I'll still be involved
with inserting plays here and there and I really think maybe we'll be a little better off this way. I can sort of think
ahead a little bit, 'Let's remember this one' or 'let's stick this one in here or there.' But, I'm still overlooking
the offense and I'll be right there to make the crucial call when needed."
What's the latest on Stephen Garcia? "I don't know the latest. He had a lot of requirements
to do this summer. It's up to our university to say when and if he comes back, so it's in their hands pretty much."
What do you think about Coach Petrino returning to college? "Coach Petrino has got a proven
record there at Louisville. And he had about as much fun in the NFL as I did. When he first went I said, 'I'll
give him to years.' But he almost made one. But, sometimes the situations aren't exactly what you thought
they were going to be. And certainly a lot of stuff happened from when he was hired till when he left.
But anyways, I know he's probably happy to be back in college ball. It is different. You know, some coaches are really
sort of geared towards NFL ball. Some coaches love watching tape all day, everyday, eleven months a year or more
and some coaches like the seasons of football and getting away little bit. I know certainly I do. I think Bobby
probably likes the college lifestyle a little better also. But anyways, yeah Arkansas will do well. He's a proven
coach. I don't know exactly what their talent level is right now. I know they had a lot of senior players last
year they ran right through us. I know McFadden gained about three hundred and Felix had about one hundred fifty or
so. So I think both of those guys are gone, right? But I'm sure they got some guys ready to romp up and down the
How much of a help is it to have Jasper Brinkley back? "Yeah, Jasper was our leading tackler
two years ago and got hurt during what the LSU game which was the fourth game I think. So yeah, that hurt us a little
bit. That led to us finishing in the bottom in run defense probably. But we've got a lot of other, a lot of other
guys need to play better over there. And again, I want to say, we've got a good looking team now. We're not like
we were three years ago. Three years ago we weren't quite as big maybe as most SEC teams. But when our guys run
out on the field you're going to say, 'hey there's not a whole lot of difference between these guys and Tennessee, and
Georgia, and Floirda, and the rest of them.' So we've got tall guys, we've got 6'6, 6'4, 6'5 guys now, and really
I think these Carolina people will tell you that our personel is better and now we need to play like a good team
now. We look like one, now we need to play like one."
What is the status of the Lindsey twins? "Yeah, the Lindsey boys are back. I think
they're back. We report next Thursday, so I'm pretty sure they're going to be there. But yeah they've done well
through the summer; academically and so forth. Captain Munnerlyn from Mobile also preseason all-conference in one of
the polls here. So Captain's a good player in the punt return, kickoff return guy. So we've got a lot of good
athletes over there, we really do. And again we need to coach a little bit better and our guys need to play a little
better and we'll have a chance."
Did the defensive problems lead to your five game losing streak last year? "Well, we haven't
been all that super on offense either. We had a few punts blocked along the way. And this that and the other.
Covering kicks and punts we could do better. So we've tried to improve our team in every phase."
Is the SEC different now than when you were coaching at Florida? "Well, I would say there
are more teams very capable of winning the conference now than it was in the early nineties, mid-nineties maybe. And
if you can get through the conference with like one loss, you should be able to win it. All of us play eight games.
Some years, your schedule is a little tougher than others as we know, but that's just the way that it is. But if a team
can lose just one, or even two. Like LSU lost to Arkansas and Kentucky and of course neither one of those teams
won their division but still they were good enough to win the conference championship and go on to win the national championship.
So that's one thing about SEC ball, that one or two losses will not knock you out of winning it all, which LSU proved last
Who do you think will step up behind Kenny McKinley at wide reciever? "I hope so, I hope
we've got some there that will develop into top notch receivers. We've got a couple of pretty good tight ends; Jared
Cook and Weslye Saunders will be involved in the pass catching and hopefully involved in the blocking. They need to
improve their blocking a bit. But those are two good pass receiving tight ends. Joe Hills could be a good player,
Freddie Brown. We've got several that are very capable of helping Kenny in the pass receiving. Dion LeCorn came
on last year and played very well. And actually Dion is the starter on the other side right now. All the time...okay."