Outback Bowl report: Gruden, Pastides visit practice

On a day when Harris Pastides addressed the team before Tuesday’s practice, the USC president might have been upstaged by another visitor.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden stopped by Jefferson High with his three sons to chat with Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier and watch practice.

Gruden, who spoke at USC’s coaches clinic in March, has always admired Spurrier’s offensive approach.

“I think he’s best in the country at what he does. He’s always on the cutting edge,” Gruden said. “He’s just gotten it done wherever he’s been, whether it be the USFL, University of Duke, Florida Gators. He’s won the Heisman Trophy himself. He’s a legend here in Florida, certainly. He’s just a charismatic character who loves the game. He’s an icon as far as I’m concerned and I like being around him.”

Gruden was asked whether he started wearing visors because of Spurrier.

“Damn right,” he said.

--Speaking of wardrobe choices, Pastides had on a pair of khakis covered with Gamecock logos when he spoke to the players about teamwork. Pastides kept his comment brief.

“I’m not a coach,” he said. “I figured if I started being more specific, the coaches would give me a timeout.”

--Pastides said he plans to meet with athletics director Eric Hyman after the first of the year about a possible contract extension. Hyman has two years remaining on his original, five-year deal.

“He and I have great communication,” Pastides said. “I like the team approach. I like the way he looks at compliance, the way he looks at the business side of the program, and it’s a big program.”