Niagara Gazette

Z_CNHI News Service

June 26, 2014

Spurrier livens up the offseason by needling Nick Saban

Some would never admit this, but thanks must go to South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier for returning everyone's attention to the 2014 college football season. It’s official: Class is back in session.

The Old Professor, ah, make that Ball Coach, used an interview with The State newspaper in Columbia, S.C., to raise the possibility that Alabama, despite all of its glory and attention, may have under-performed during Nick Saban’s seven seasons at the helm.

Has Spurrier been in the sun too long? Did he stumble and fall into a sand trap?

Probably nothing like that. More likely is that Spurrier felt it was time to pump some life into an off-season where recruits take their five-star status and commit to a team one day, only to de-commit and begin looking elsewhere the next.

This was Spurrier being Spurrier, and there’s nothing he enjoys more than putting an elbow into Saban and giving the sporting world something to debate on those days that beg for a new topic.

In the interview, published on The State's website devoted to University of South Carolina sports, GoGamecocks.com, Spurrier discussed his off-season approach, which includes an occasional relaxing round of golf. It’s those moments where he recharges his competitive juices. Workaholics don’t gain an edge by rarely leaving the office, he said.

“I have read stories that people who last a long time have outside interests. I can’t grind on football 11 months a year maybe the way some of these coaches do," Spurrier said.

He noted some other coaches who work 13-hour days in the offseason: "I don't know what they do. They say they are working."

Readers didn’t have to work hard connecting the dots to  figure out who held Spurrier’s fascination. He led them right to Saban.

Then he questioned the rewards of the Alabama coach's well-known work ethic.

“He’s won three nationals (championships), but he’s only won two SECs in eight years," Spurrier said. "Now, if you had the No. 1 recruiting class every year and so forth, I don’t know if he has maxed out potentially as well as he could.”

Ouch. It’s not too often that the king gets called out. But Spurrier is different from others in his profession when it comes to speaking his mind.

He wasn’t finished.

“I told Nick Saban one time, I said, ‘Nick, you don’t have to stay there until midnight and your teams would be just as good and win just as many,’ ” Spurrier said. “He said, ‘If I could do it the way you do it, I would, but I don’t feel comfortable unless I try to cover every base, every angle, be totally prepared.’"

Saban is as close to a perfectionist as one will find in college athletics. It’s all about preparation and chasing excellence. His dedication and the demands he places on his players and coaches are his program's hallmark.

It might not be for everyone, but it gets results.

Sometimes, though, one is left to wonder if his task is truly enjoyable. Even when all goes well, there seems to be little time for celebration. There’s always the next game, the next recruiting pitch, the next problem to solve.

There’s truth in what Spurrier says about burnout. There’s also proof that Saban’s taskmaster approach produces championship rings.

It’s fodder for a good debate and a question that eludes  easy answers. Thanks go to Spurrier for raising the subject. Class dismissed.

Tom Lindley is a CNHI sports columnist. Reach him at tlindley@cnhi.com.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Z_CNHI News Service
  • Dangerous Darkies Logo.png Redskins not the only nickname to cause a stir

    Daniel Snyder has come under fire for refusing to change the mascot of his NFL team, the Washington Redskins. The Redskins, however, are far from being the only controversial mascot in sports history.  Here is a sampling of athletic teams from all areas of the sports world that were outside the norm.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • 'Rebel' mascot rising from the dead

    Students and alumni from a Richmond, Va.-area high school are seeking to revive the school's historic mascot, a Confederate soldier known as the "Rebel Man," spurring debate about the appropriateness of public school connections to the Civil War and its icons.

    July 28, 2014

  • Fast food comes to standstill in China

    The shortage of meat is the result of China's latest food scandal, in which a Shanghai supplier allegedly tackled the problem of expired meat by putting it in new packaging and shipping it to fast-food restaurants around the country

    July 28, 2014

  • wd saturday tobias .jpg Stranger’s generosity stuns Ohio veteran

    Vietnam War veteran David A. Tobias was overwhelmed recently when a fellow customer at an OfficeMax store near Ashtabula, Ohio paid for a computer he was purchasing.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 1.33.11 PM.png VIDEO: High-dive accident caught on tape

    A woman at a water park in Idaho leaped off a 22-foot high dive platform, then tried to pull herself back up with frightening results. Fortunately, she escaped with only a cut to her finger.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • HallofFameBraves.jpg Hall of Fame adds businesslike Braves, Frank Thomas, managers La Russa and Torre

    Atlanta Braves pitchers Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, and their manager, Bobby Cox, dominated much of baseball during the 1990s. This weekend they went into the Hall of Fame together.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Better police needed for college teams enticed to cheat

    The NCAA once cracked down on colleges that went too far luring top prospects, then it targeted teams that lathered players with special treatment. That was until the NCAA's get-tough approach backfired, rendering it ineffective and creating an opportunity for those who want to play dirty.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 072214 Diamond Llama 1.jpg Llama on the loose corralled in Missouri town

    A llama on the lam cruised Main Street Tuesday before it mistook a resident’s fenced backyard for a place to grab a meal and freshen up.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Wal-Mart to cut prices more aggressively in back-to-school push

    Wal-Mart Stores plans to cut prices more aggressively during this year's back-to-school season and will add inventory to its online store as the chain battles retailers for student spending.

    July 21, 2014

  • 130408_NT_BEA_good kids We're raising a generation of timid kids

    A week ago, a woman was charged with leaving her child in the car while she went into a store. Her 11-year-old child. This week, a woman was arrested for allowing her 9-year-old daughter to go to the park alone. Which raises just one question: America, what the heck is wrong with you?

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
House Ads
AP Video
Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage
Opinion
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page