Yesterday we elaborated for a bit too long about the inherent emotional difficulties of the upcoming Florida/South Carolina game, which in case you didn't know matches our alma mater against the man who taught us how to make love to a woman and scold a child, Steven Orr Spurrier.
We continue our review of Spurrier's greatest hits today with three more stories delineating his greatness, his long memory and sense of Old Testament justice, and his unparalleled willingness to live life as a public smartass.
I Spit on Your Grave: Mississippi State, 2001. The apex of the Jackie Sherrill era at Mississippi State arrived with a 47-35 victory over Florida in Starkville, a victory fueled in large part by Florida's inability to stop the Neolithic offense of Miss. State in any fashion whatsoever. (Former Gator DC Jon Hoke, the 2000 DC, was asked to comment on this article, but the line at the drive-thru was getting really long and his manager was, like, totally on his ass.) During the rush to the field, drunken cowbell-toting Bulldog fans rushed through the swiftly exiting Gator squad, knocking equipment manager Clay Carter to the ground and giving him a grade three concussion. (In case you don't want to read the link, grade 3= real bad ow my head bad.)
Fast forward to a year later to the rematch in Gainesville. Rex Grossman throws for five tds and 393 yards in a bit less than three quarters. Miss. State is shut out by the defense. The hundred-dollar bills and bail receipts in Jackie Sherrill's pockets are turning to tissue paper in the heat of a Swamp blowout. At 45-0, Carter approaches Spurrier and reminds him of the bruised brain thing from the year before, and with 1:45 left on the clock Brock Berlin hits Kelvin Kight in the endzone to avenge Carter's braining from the year before. The quote from Carter:
"I definitely thought it was revenge," Carter said. "He told me to remind him during the game."
Jackie Sherrill, channeling Satan.
Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough. Fiesta Bowl, 1995. The worst public humiliation of Spurrier's career doesn't cover how bad the demolition of the '95 Gators at the cold iron hands of the Cornhuskers was. Spurrier's worst pair of traits as a coach came to the fore in the spectacle: a fatal obstinacy and a fondness for defensive coordinators he found under a bridge somewhere.
Remembering the exact details of the scene are difficult, since we started bleeding from our eyes sometime shortly after Tommie Frazier laughed his way through nine tackles on the way to a Nebraska touchdown, but we do remember the very end of the game for a single sterling image: Spurrier, in flames and in defeat, screaming at Tom Osborne to run another play rather than take a knee. In Cobra Kai, there is no mercy, and Spurrier didn't want even the simple charity of a kneeldown at the end of a 38-point vivisection. Balls. Sheer merciless balls.
Barbs 101. We think it was Barney Frank who said "Never underestimate the power of speaking badly about someone in public." Spurrier took this to heart in a league that, while priding itself on a tough reputation, rarely pulls the gloves off when it comes to trash-talking between coaches. The OBS knows not only how to aim, but just how low to aim when he decides to put his vinegar into agate type. The quick rundown on Spurrier's finest public nutpunches.:
--On a fire at the Auburn football dorm: "But the real tragedy was that fifteen hadn't been colored yet!"
--On Peyton Manning's return for his senior season: "I know why Peyton came back for his senior year, he wanted to be a three-time Citrus Bowl MVP"
--On Fulmer and the Vols: "You can't spell Citrus without UT"
-- To former SEC commish and BCS spawner Roy Kramer during the 2001 SEC Media Days regarding the BCS during his legendary half-hour heckling of Kramer."I guess that's just the way it is, huh? That's the way we do it. That's the best answer, right?...I think someday they'll have one. Then they'll all look back and say 'why didn't you guys do this sooner?'"
Amen, sensei. Amen.
At his best heckling Roy Kramer at SEC Media days.