OK, Steve Spurrier wasn’t actually handcuffed in front of the assembled Media Days crowd, but he did tell the story of how he ended up in shackles after a practice earlier this summer: He worked it out beforehand with the Columbia PD to tweak the members of the media who jumped the gun on stories of recruit Jadeveon Clowney’s recent non-arrest at a Columbia bar.
That anecdote earned the first genuine belly laughs of the event’s first afternoon — all due respect to Bobby Petrino and Will Muschamp, but lord, after a couple hours of their painstakingly PR-enblandened sound bites it was a blessed relief to hear the Ol’ Ballcoach let loose. Among Spurrier’s other memorable statements:
- The lesson he wants the public to learn from his handcuff escapade: “You can get handcuffed, no big deal. Don’t worry about it.”
- Evidently a first-ever division title for the Gamecocks isn’t enough on its own to cure airplane envy. “I saw Dan Mullen out there, Mississippi State’s got a jet they fly around,” he recalled. “I saw our King Air parked next to it and thought, man, Mississippi State’s got a jet, they must be doing pretty well.”
- Nor does it mean all of Spurrier’s goals are necessarily fulfilled, and we’re not just talking about a first-ever SEC title for the Gamecocks. “We haven’t had a special-teams score since I got here . . . I remember being at Florida and thinking, ’I’d really like to win a game with a blocked punt.’”
- Looooooots of questions about his (in one reporter’s words) “unlimited patience” with bad-boy QB Stephen Garcia; after about the 20th such question (which asked him, on a scale of 1 to 10, how likely it was that Garcia would return to the team next month), elicited basically a grunt. Spurrier did point out that Garcia has already graduated, and that he has conceded some “lifestyle changes” to stay with the team. “I guess we’re not gonna kick him out for stupidity,” was as close as Spurrier got to definitive answer.
- Does he think Mike Slive’s proposal to make scholarships multi-year commitments is a good idea? “No. That’s a terrible idea,” he said, point-blank. “You have to earn your way in life.” Though that didn’t stop him from adding it was a lucky thing coaches had four- or five-year contracts.
- He doesn’t consider Marcus Lattimore the sole reason the Gamecocks finally got over the hump and into the league title game last year — down years by Georgia, Florida and Tennessee helped, he freely admitted — but Lattimore was definitely a huge part. “Marcus Lattimore gave us a chance to beat Florida — carried 40 times for something like 215 yards,” Spurrier said. “Everybody doesn’t have to be a star player, you don’t need 11 stars. But you do need two or three.”
As for Lattimore, who was also in attendance, he seems fazed neither by the spotlight of being the Gamecocks’ new superstar, nor by the additional expectations that have been loaded on his back since the Gamecocks clinched their division title. In fact, he said it’d be a disappointment if the ‘Cocks didn’t win n SEC title in 2011. “It’d definitely be a disappointment — we made it [to the title game] last year, we want to win it this year.”
Lattimore added that getting 30 to 40 carries per game (numbers which put him on pace to break Herschel Walker’s record for career carries) motivated him to work even harder in the weight room this summer, and he says the subject of him perhaps getting a lighter workload this season hasn’t come up. “I want more touches,” he said with a grin. “I want to win the Heisman.”