Steve Spurrier is not known for his fiery pep talks.
In fact, his only two pregame speeches any of us have heard much about lean more toward Easy Listening than Fire and Brimstone. In 2000, Spurrier recounted the theme of country music singer Lee Ann Womack’s “I Hope You Dance” as his final thought of the Thursday practice prior to the LSU game. The Gators won 41-9.
In 2010, with the Gamecocks preparing to face No. 1 Alabama and its 19-game winning streak, Spurrier told his team in the locker room, “Let’s give fate a chance.”
Emotion is not what Spurrier wants most from his teams on Saturdays. Execution is. He has said that he might think more about giving a dramatic pregame speech if his mind wasn’t so full of what plays he was going to call and the various scenarios that might play out in the game. Again, execution over emotion.
All this came to mind Thursday after ESPN ran a list of how every SEC coach would describe their team with one word. Most of the answers ranged from the obvious and corny – Arkansas Bret Bielema said “motivated.” -- to the even more obvious and corny – Florida’s Will Muschamp and Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen said “hungry.”
There was an “eager” and an “untested” and even an “audacious.” (What about a football team is audacious Derek Mason? Is Vanderbilt going to wear fishnet uniforms? Anyway.)
Spurrier said “decent.” Let that sink in a little bit. Coach, what do you think of these guys who have won 33 games in the last three years? “Ehh, decent.”
Can you imagine the pep talk to go along with “decent?”
“Alright guys, I want you to know you’re almost adequate, now get out there and tear their heads off!”
Luckily, for the Gamecocks and their fans, Spurrier’s execution is mostly above reproach. If South Carolina had to rely on him rallying the troops behind his emotion, it might be a long season.
Around the SEC:
Top 10 Les-isms? Can’t think of a better way to start a morning. “He’s got a want” and “key piece” are my favorites, I think.
Nick Marshall will not start at quarterback for Auburn against Arkansas because of a suspension. Beyond that, the Tigers haven’t revealed how they plan to rotate Marshall and Jeremy Johnson.
Vanderbilt named a starting quarterback – Patton Robinette – if that’ s the kind of thing that interests you.
Former Georgia running back Tim Worley, whose pro career was derailed by off-field issues, told the current Bulldogs not to make the same mistakes he has made.