It pays to cover USC football.
It was another recruiting weekend for the USC football team and its head coach wanted to put an important bit of information out there.
When Steve Spurrier called an impromptu press conference at halftime of the men’s basketball game Saturday at Colonial Life Arena, he started off by saying the team was happy to have new defensive line coach Deke Adams in the fold.
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But the primary aim appeared to be disseminating a nifty bit of trivia he had just learned.
“How many college teams in the BCS conferences – you know, the major conferences – how many have won 11 or more the last two years?”
Spurrier mentioned he would give a prize to whomever got the answer. After a minute, two members of the media cobbled together the list: Two-time national champion Alabama, Oregon, Stanford and, of course, USC.
“For South Carolina to be in the same neighborhood as Oregon, Stanford, Alabama, that’s sort of neat. Somebody gave that statistic today,” Spurrier said. “Next time, y’all do some of that work, but that was sort of neat. Yeah.”
Spurrier expanded on a number of other items during the remainder of his time, then was asked what the prize was. He reached into a pocket inside his blazer and from a stack of white envelopes drew out two and handed them to pair who had answered correctly – a television reporter and a website reporter.
As he walked away, the two opened the envelopes to discover $100 bills.
It didn’t take long for the chatter to streak across the internet. Deadspin.com eventually picked up the item and cracked wise.
“He asked the reporters a college football trivia question – a self-serving one, naturally, or it would have been extra weird – and when a couple answered correctly he rewarded them with envelopes full of money. That is not best practices”
“The Old Ball Coach has matured into the Grandfatherly Ball Coach, and is now treating reporters like recently bar mitzvah’d eighth graders. It was only a matter of time.”
Spurrier said early impressions of new defensive line coach Deke Adams are good.
“He’s sort of my kind of coach, good family man, wonderful personality,” Spurrier said. “I think our players are really going to enjoy playing for him.”
When Spurrier was reminded that he had called the departed Brad Lawing the best defensive line coach in the country, Spurrier revised.
“That was a while back that I said that, wasn’t it?” he said. “I don’t feel like we’re going to miss Coach Lawing.”
Spurrier then added that Lawing was “an excellent coach, no question about that.”
Later, Spurrier said none of his other coaches had interviewed elsewhere to his knowledge and he reiterated his general policy on such matters.
“Don’t go interview unless it’s an advancement,” Spurrier said. “If a guy is interviewing for a lateral job, then when he comes back home, he may not have one. Simple as that.”
Though Lawing will coach Florida’s defensive line, he also gained the title of assistant head coach and a substantial pay raise.
Is Bruce loose?
Spurrier said Bruce Ellington has yet to tell him if he plans to play football next season. The Gamecocks’ lead returning receiver is also the basketball team’s best player.
“He’s our leading receiver,” Spurrier said. “Coach (Frank) Martin, he’s on board with Bruce playing two sports just like I am, so it’s all up to Bruce.”
Ellington is not the only football player dabbling in a second sport. Running back Shon Carson, defensive back Ahmad Christian and wide receiver Kwinton Smith were practicing with the baseball team on Saturday.
Carson in particular is of concern since he will be competing to replace Marcus Lattimore. What of spring practice?
“If he is contributing or if he’s starting on the baseball team, then he stays out there the whole time,” Spurrier said. “Now, if he’s sitting on the bench about half the game or about the whole game, then he needs to come practice a little bit. Simple as that.”
Spurrier told a funny story of his time at Duke when two football players joined the baseball team.
“One day we were getting ready to go to spring practice and you know what their job was (on the baseball team)? They were on the other side of the batting cage, retrieving foul balls,” Spurrier said with a laugh. “So we got their butts down practicing football after that.”
Odds and ends
... Spurrier laughed off Jadaveon Clowney’s Twitter comment about staying at USC for two more years. “I think he’s just trying to get the fans to love him a little bit more. Nah, that’s not the smart thing for him to do. He knows that.”
... Spurrier said Clowney probably did not have to worry about getting an insurance policy for his remaining time in college. “He’s smart. He doesn’t stand around a pile stiff-legged. He sort of knows how to keep himself out of harm’s way. There are some people who are real good at that and I think he is.”
... Spurrier said he has heard good things about Lattimore’s recovery, mentioning team doctor Jeff Guy had shown him a video of Lattimore’s progress. “Marcus was just doing some high step stuff with absolutely no limp or anything. He hasn’t started running yet, but he’s way ahead of schedule.”
... Before he finished, Spurrier did manage a dig at Clemson, talking about that school’s new indoor football practice facility. “We don’t brag about that as much as some people do. Almost everyone has one. I think we practiced indoors two or three days last year, that’s all. The weather here is so good. And really, you have one just because everyone else has one, just like that video scoreboard we’ve got, that $6 million scoreboard. Everybody else has got one, so we’ve got to have one.”