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Interview with Steve Spurrier

Old 06-07-05, 11:01 AM
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Interview with Steve Spurrier

Steve Spurrier, Back for more
Sunday, June 05, 2005

Sports Reporter

DESTIN, Fla. -- Two years with the NFL's Washington Redskins
left Steve Spurrier disappointed and disillusioned but
wealthier; a year away from coaching left him hungry.

And now, the Ol' Ball Coach has returned to what he says is
a tougher and better SEC than the one he and his Florida
Gators dominated through the 1990s.

Spurrier -- who led Florida to a national championship in
1996 and six league crowns, including four in a row
(1993-96) -- has taken over the South Carolina program with
every intention of successfully recruiting and competing
with the elite teams of the SEC. Indeed, he returns with a
rediscovered zest for the game and wrapped in high
expectations from the Gamecock Nation, although he's in the
SEC East against Florida, Tennessee and Georgia.

At last week's SEC spring meetings, Spurrier met with
members of the media, covering a range of topics:

Q: As you return to college football and the SEC, there are
a lot of coaches in the league making a lot of money. What
do you think about that?

A: It's obviously a lot more money than it used to be. I'm
one of those who has been lucky to make a bunch of dough.
Everybody asks me what I got out of the NFL. I say at least
I got a bunch of dough out of it
, but not much reward
professionally. ... I'm in a little different situation than
most coaches in that I really want to reward our assistant
coaches. ... (Told Auburn's Tommy Tuberville has a chance to
earn $3.6 million with incentives Is that right? I
remember when they were trying to fire him. It's amazing
what Cadillac (Carnell Williams) and Ronnie Brown will do
for a coach.

Q: What are your thoughts on voting in the coaches' poll?

A: I'll still vote for Duke in the top 25. I've done that
for 12 years.
I give them an early start. That's one of my
old teams.

Q: What do you know about the Clemson-South Carolina

A: Clemson has beaten South Carolina a lot lately. USC had
'Beat Clemson' signs up. Where's the 'Beat Georgia' signs?
The 'Beat Tennessee' signs? The 'Beat Florida' signs? When
Ray Goff was (coaching Georgia), they overemphasized beating
(Florida). They talked about it year round.

Q: You have had to deal with some disciplinary problems
since arriving at South Carolina. Did you have that problem
at Duke?

A: We never had to kick anybody off (the team) at Duke. I
suspended a guy for a game one time. I think he used
profanity standing in line at registration. I said, "You're
not going to play the first game." Everybody looked at me
funny. "Just for that?"(the player asked.) "Yeah, just for
that." Fortunately, he was a backup and wasn't very good.
That cured that.

Q: How do you feel about a 12th game being added to the
regular season?

A: I'm all for the 12th game. ... It's not too much. I'd
rather play than have an open date, to tell you the truth.

Q: Scheduling the extra game and non-conference games is
important. Is that something that must be seriously

A: We've already got Tennessee, Florida and Georgia in our
division and we play Clemson as one of our non-conference
games. That's pretty good. ... I wonder what would have
happened if Auburn had beaten a pretty good opponent in one
of their three (non-conference) games. ... I wonder if that
would have helped their ranking. ... They should have had a
right to play for it all (national championship).

Q: Have you talked with any schools about filling the 12th
game on the schedule (beginning with the 2006 season)?

A: We're trying to get a game with North Carolina. (It's)
two state universities and we border each other. I think it
would be a natural. We're trying to put it together, but we
haven't so far.

Q: How would you rate your recruiting class at South

A: It really turned out to be a very good recruiting class.
Some guy did a study of all the guys we signed. ... (When I
was) hired in November, something like 15 of those guys
didn't even have South Carolina on their list. I think we
got the last seven guys we went after. That's why we went
over (the signing limit). ... Where we came from (to the
final signing class) was very encouraging. Hey, we do have a
chance here. We can recruit the top guys.

Q: What are your immediate goals at South Carolina?

A: Our first goal is to win more than we lose
, then maybe
our predictions can be set higher. I think we can win more
than we lose. Then you go to a bowl game and go from there.
... It doesn't take a long time to coach a team. ... I don't
know what kind of team we've got. I'm certainly not going to
the SEC Media Days and predict championships, the way I did
in 1990 (at Florida). I had a wonderful team in 1990, one of
the best teams, talent-wise, we ever had there. ... We're
not at that level at South Carolina. We've got a little bit
of building to do but we should be competitive this year.
... They've had some good players (at South Carolina).
They've had a lot of players go to the pros. South Carolina
(high school) football is very good, but a lot of them have
been going to Tennessee, Georgia and Florida State. Florida
State has gotten a lot of good players out of South
Carolina. We've got to sign those guys.

Q: Have you noticed a great excitement for South Carolina
football since you arrived?

A: The fans have really been supportive, but they always
have been. They've always filled up the stadium. They have
paid their dues for many years and haven't gotten a lot in
return for their investment.

Q: When did you know things were bad with the Redskins?

A: At the start of the second season. We were putting the
team together and the owner picked the quarterback. That's
when I knew it wasn't going to work. We lost that argument
and did the best we could. That's when I knew it wasn't
going to work.

Q: You took a year off. What did you learn?

A: I wanted to coach again. After thinking it over, the
direction Florida wanted to go was a little different than
me. And the direction for me was better. ... My record at
Florida is history. It's in the books. I'm excited about
starting a new record book at South Carolina.

Q: What's the biggest difference in the league now from when
you left?

A: It was getting very competitive with so many teams in the
league that could win. There are so many teams that have a
chance to win a conference championship (now than in 1990
when he went to Florida). Florida's history wasn't all that
spectacular when we started there. But we had excellent
material there. Our goal is to recruit at the level of
Tennessee, Georgia and Florida. We're close. We're not way
behind. We need to do that year after year after year, then,
certainly, we feel we can compete with anybody.

Q: Did you miss the rivalries in the SEC, the interaction
(with other coaches)?

A: Not so much that. I just missed coaching the team and
being in charge, if you know what I mean. I only blame
myself (for his fail ure in the NFL). I was disappointed I
got myself in that situation.

Q: How would you rate the SEC now as opposed to when you

A: I think it's better. It's probably better overall. The
players are better and there a good bunch of coaches in the
steve is always good for a couple laughs
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