Notebook: Spurrier's stance stays


South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier takes questions during day one of the 2013 SEC Media Days at the Hyatt Regency Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover, Alabama on Tuesday.

Doug Finger/Staff photographer
Published: Tuesday, July 16, 2013 at 9:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, July 16, 2013 at 10:11 p.m.

HOOVER, Ala. — When Steve Spurrier feels passionate about a cause, he won’t let it go. Such is the case with his latest passion — his belief that college football and basketball players deserve to get paid.

He expressed his opinion on the issue again at SEC Media Days on Tuesday.

Spurrier said the SEC football and basketball coaches voted 28-0 at the SEC spring meetings to pay players, with the money coming from the coaches if need be.

“I’m going to keep fighting for our guys. I don’t know what will come (of it),” Spurrier said. “This is not pay-for-play. Please don’t say, ‘Spurrier says pay-for-play.’ This is just expense money.

“I saw the other day, the NFL rookies, the minimum (salary) is $450,000. That’s pay-for-play.”

Spurrier is proposing football and basketball players receive about $300 a month for expenses.

“If it was a financial burden for our universities, our coaches all offered to pay for it, all 14 (football coaches),” he said. “It came up to $270,000, $280,000 a year for the coaches. We’d pay it all. We want our players to get a little bit more than they get.”

Spurrier said the 14 SEC coaches also all agree Notre Dame should join the ACC in football, saying the school does not deserve a say in the playoff without being in a conference.

“It won’t happen because I said it,” Spurrier said. “Give me a good reason why they’re not in a good conference with all the rest of the schools. That’s something we talked about.”

Early kickoff for Toledo game

Florida’s season-opening game Aug. 31 at Florida Field against Toledo will be played at 12:21 p.m. and televised by the SEC Network, the SEC announced Tuesday at SEC Media Days.

Florida fans will face two games to open the season that will require plenty of sunscreen with the game at Miami the following week kicking off at noon and televised by ESPN.

The Gators have faced a mixed bag in their last five openers with games as early as noon (2010 vs. Miami of Ohio) and as late as 7 p.m. (2011 vs. Florida Atlantic and 2009 against Charleston Southern).

Quiet reunion for Spurrier

Spurrier said there wasn’t much excitement at his 50th high school reunion earlier this summer at Science Hill High School in Johnson City, Tenn.

“I thought it was going to be a little louder,” he said. “I looked around at about 9:30, half of them had already left. I said, ‘Where did everybody go?’ ”

Spurrier on NCAA

Spurrier was asked if he would turn in Florida, his former school, if he thought the Gators had committed minor recruiting violations.

He said he would report any school if he thought it was committing major violations. But he said he would not turn in the Gators for a minor violation, like the one Urban Meyer and Ohio State did for an alleged “bump” between UF running backs coach Brian White and a prospect.

“Not for that,” Spurrier said.

Waking up those Gators

Florida coach Will Muschamp said he’s already received some advice from his wife on how the Gators can start games more efficiently this season. The Gators were notoriously slow starters in 2012.

“My wife wants us to give better talks before the game instead of halftime,” Muschamp said. “I don’t think that’s it.

“I think being a little bit more explosive offensively, being more of a threat offensively, which I think we will be. I’m excited about our offense. Then continuing to play well on defense.

“In our league there are going to be tight games. Very similar to the NFL, it’s going to come down to the last two or three minutes of the game. You better coach well in those situations.”

The Gators found a way to win all but one close game in the fourth quarter last season (Georgia). Muschamp said there could be more tight, low-scoring games ahead.

“I’d love to have some 40-point wins,” he said. “At the end of the day, I worry about one stat, and that’s winning, and it doesn’t matter how you do it.”

Reflecting on the Sugar Bowl

Muschamp said the Gators strayed from their winning formula in last January’s upset loss to Louisville in the Sugar Bowl.

“I blame myself,” Muschamp said. “Our formula is playing good defense. We struggled on third down mightily. We got away from what we should have been on offense.

“I told (offensive coordinator) Brent (Pease) we needed to pick up the tempo, needed to make a change in the game. We probably pressed early in the game and I shouldn’t have done that.

“I look back on it now, we needed to stick to our formula.”

Spurrier’s visor guy

Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said he started wearing a visor back when he was a high school coach because he wanted to be just like Steve Spurrier.

“I was asked this last year on ESPN when we went to the car wash, why I wore a visor,” Freeze said. “When I was in high school, I wanted to be like Steve Spurrier. That’s the truth.

“Ever since then, Steve and I have become really good friends. He liked that story. He calls me his visor guy.”

The next Elam?

Florida defensive end/tackle Dominique Easley was asked Tuesday what Gator player could be a surprise this season. Easley quickly named redshirt freshman safety Marcus Maye, a star on the scout team last season who also has drawn praise from the UF coaches.

“He’s extremely close to Matthew Elam,” Easley said. “(Elam) has been teaching him basically what he knows. He’s keeping him aware of the ins and outs.”

Elam, of course, was an All-America safety for the Gators last season who was drafted in the first round by the Baltimore Ravens.

Powell good to go

UF coach Will Muschamp said junior defensive end/linebacker Ronald Powell is good to go for the start of camp on Aug. 2. Powell has recovered from two ACL knee surgeries in the last year.

“The guy I’m most excited to see is Ronald Powell,” Muschamp said. “Here’s a guy who has been through a lot of adversity. He’s been cleared to go after it in fall camp. He’s a guy I’m really excited to get back on the field.

“Two surgeries. Never complained. Never got down about anything. He is truly a great individual, and I’m excited that he’s a leader of our football team.”

Muschamp said only two injured players are not going to be 100 percent for the start of camp — true freshman middle linebacker Alex Anzalone (shoulder) and offensive guard Trip Thurman (shoulder).

“They may be limited as far as contact until the 10th or 12th practice,” Muschamp said.

Tigers plan to rebound

After getting pushed around pretty badly in their first year in the SEC, the Missouri Tigers are planning to prove they belong this season, coach Gary Pinkel said.

“You have to prove yourself,” Pinkel said. “We’re hungry. We’re very, very hungry. We’re excited to get back in and compete.

“It’s a great league. I love being in the league. I like to compete against the best. We did the right thing (joining the SEC). We’re doing great things facility-wise, investment-wise. We’ll get a chance to get after it again and compete. We’re looking forward to it.”

Easley a SpongeBob fan

Easley does not seem too impressed by the fact his name is appearing on some preseason watch lists for awards.

“I barely watch sports,” he said. “I’m more of a ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’ or ‘Fairly OddParents’ guy.”

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