John Clay: South Carolina's Spurrier shines in day-one spotlight at SEC football media days

Herald-Leader Sports ColumnistJuly 16, 2013 

  • WEDNESDAY

    UK's media conference

    When: 9:30-11:10 a.m.

    Who: Coach Mark Stoops, along with DT Donte Rumph, RB Raymond Sanders and LB Avery Williamson.

    Follow along on Twitter: @jenheraldleader and @johnclayiv

    TV: ESPNU

HOOVER, Ala. — At the first day of the SEC Football Media Days, they saved the best for last.

Not that we didn't get a kick out of Florida's Will Muschamp taking a shot at former Florida and current Ohio State coach Urban Meyer for turning the Gators in for a secondary recruiting violation.

"They certainly know about NCAA rules," quipped Muschamp about the probation-ridden Buckeyes.

Not that we didn't enjoy Missouri quarterback James Franklin's bowtie, or Rebels' coach Hugh Freeze answering a question about his four state titles as a girls' basketball coach.

Finally following the warm-up acts at the Wynfrey Hotel, South Carolina took the stage.

That meant (a) Steve Spurrier and (b) Jadeveon Clowney, possibly the most potent 1-2 punch in the entire SEC, certainly the power couple of the SEC East.

You know the 68-year-old Spurrier always has something to say. Tuesday, he didn't waste time.

Tweaking the notion that the coaches' confabs during the SEC Spring Meetings in Destin, Fla., are inside information, Spurrier reported that the league football and basketball coaches voted unanimously to put up a proposal giving the players in both sports expense money — say $300 a game — even if it had to come out of the salaries of the coaches.

"This is tiny compared to the money coming in," Spurrier said. "We all know that."

Spurrier said the coaches couldn't understand why Notre Dame AD Jack Warbrick was allowed to sit in with the other conference commissioners for the College Football Playoff meetings. After all, Notre Dame isn't in a football conference.

So, said Spurrier, the coaches voted 14-0 that "Notre Dame ought to be in a conference."

When he got around to talking about his team, Coach Superior praised his freakishly good defensive end and Heisman Trophy candidate for "staying out of the limelight all summer" as compared to the current Heisman Trophy winner.

What was the key to the quiet off-season Mr. Clowney?

"Staying off the Internet," Clowney said to a mosh pit of media in his assigned corner of the media ballroom. "That's half the battle right there."

Besides, the season is a little more than a month away and it promises to be one in which Clowney commands a huge slice of the spotlight. His ridiculous talent is one reason. "The Hit" is another.

"The Hit" is the inhumanly quick and brutal blow Clowney delivered to poor Michigan running back Vincent Smith — whose teeth may still be rattling — in the Outback Bowl, an iconic play which surely Clowney watches over and over again, right?

"Not really," he said. "People are always coming up to me and telling me about it and I just get a laugh out of it."

Here's something that is not amusing, at least not to the rest of the SEC: At the end of summer workouts, Clowney ran the 40-yard dash in 4.46 seconds.

Democrats and Republicans would agree that for a man that is 6-foot-6 and 265 pounds, running a 4.46 in the 40-yard dash should be against some sort of law.

"The night before I told my roommate I was going to get up in the morning and run a 4.4," Clowney said. "He told me I was crazy, and I said, 'Watch me.' I got up and did it. He said, 'I don't know how you pulled that off.' I don't know either."

Now, Clowney has another goal and it's not to follow Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel as the Heisman Trophy winner, though that would be nice.

"I'm hungry about getting to Atlanta," Clowney said of the SEC Championship Game. "That's the next step to getting to the national championship."

"That's something we've not done at South Carolina, win a conference championship, and we have hopes to do it," Spurrier said. "It won't be easy, of course. We may fall flat on our face, but that's what we're going to try and do, try to win the conference."


Wednesday

UK's media conference

When: 9:30-11:10 a.m.

Who: Coach Mark Stoops, along with DT Donte Rumph, RB Raymond Sanders and LB Avery Williamson.

Follow along on Twitter: @jenheraldleader and @johnclayiv

TV: ESPNU

John Clay: (859) 231-3226. Twitter: @johnclayiv. Blog: johnclay.bloginky.com.

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