The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Breaking News

Opinion

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
Opinion
  • Off and on the record Let us now praise anonymous sources.The new White House press secretary got into a familiar old spat with the White House press corps the other day over the use of anonymous sources.Josh Earnest — has there ever been a more perfectly named White Hous

    July 25, 2014

  • Be more informed

    Blame the city.That is a favorite pastime of many, including me at times. Driving over that pesky pothole or paying that annual property tax bill can lead to some choice words referencing the city. Nobody takes the brunt of being the scapegoat more t

    July 25, 2014

  • CCC thanks community, collaborators for successful movie night Clinton Community College would like to thank those who participated in the free outdoor movie showing of “Captain America – Winter Soldier” on the evening of Friday, July 18.We are grateful to have such wonderful community collaborators in the Erick

    July 25, 2014

  • 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

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Expectations too high for a rehabbing Woods

    Tiger Woods finished near bottom last weekend at Royal Liverpool, drawing out his drought of major tournament wins. Despite the disappointing showing, Woods' return to form remains a matter of when, not if.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Todd Akin's back again to talk of rape So, Todd Akin is back and he’s talking rape again.You remember what happened last time. The would-be Missouri senator torpedoed his campaign two years ago after suggesting in a TV interview that if a woman is a victim of “legitimate rape,” she is unl

    July 22, 2014

  • Sadness remains as two-year mark passes in cousins' case As most citizens of the Cedar Valley are well aware, July 13 marked two years since the disappearance of cousins Elizabeth Collins and Lyric Cook-Morrissey of Evansdale.The passage of time provides some semblance of healing, but the sadness, particul

    July 22, 2014

  • UI needs to keep its admission standards high There’s been a lot of talk lately — most of it coming from the leadership of the Iowa state Board of Regents — about the University of Iowa not being passionate enough about its recruitment of in-state undergraduates. Regent president Bruce Rastetter

    July 21, 2014

  • Vote fraud myths meet voting rights reality Before she was allowed to register and vote for the first time in Franklin County, North Carolina, Rosanell Eaton had to read the entire preamble to the U.S. Constitution out loud in front of three men in the county courthouse.Eaton is black. The thr

    July 21, 2014 1 Story

  • 7-21-14 David Helscher mug Prepare for possible effects of Fed's decisions It has been more than 5 years since the Federal Reserve has taken unprecedented steps to support the economy through purchases of Treasury and mortgage-backed debt securities. This has generally been called quantitative easing and has not been withou

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

With the Clinton County Justice Coordinating Commission and the Clinton County Board of Supervisors discussing proposals to construct a new jail, do you think the time has come for Clinton County to construct such a facility?

Yes
No
     View Results
Facebook