South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier
South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier is great for college football.
His constant jabs at Tennessee while he was at Florida and digs at Georgia's suspensions in his current role at South Carolina keep press conferences fun and entertaining, two adjectives that typically don't go along with pressers.
Sometimes, Spurrier's bravado can cross the line and become more offensive than humorous.
Monday night wasn't one of those instances, though.
While speaking at a rally to show support for injured running back Marcus Lattimore, Spurrier made some not-so-subtle jabs at Clemson and Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney, according to GreenvilleOnline.com:
A lot of quotes came across the nation. I read one today from the head coach of our Upstate school. You know that school that used to beat us a lot but doesn’t beat us much anymore. Usually, when that coach up there talks about South Carolina, it’s a bunch of garbage and a bunch of BS, usually. But I have to agree with him on what he said the other day. He said ‘Marcus Lattimore stands for what’s right about college football.'
Swinney responded on Monday night on his local radio show:
I don’t really have a comment other than I’m embarrassed for him. That would be about the only thing I have to say about that.
Maybe I'm in the minority, but this isn't a big deal.
Sure, Spurrier could have picked a time other than a rally of support for Lattimore to take a shot at Swinney. But it was a rally full of people who, for the most part, are South Carolina fans.
There's nothing wrong with that.
Spurrier's comments seemed gracious, well-intended and not at all inflammatory.
Could he have just ignored Swinney altogether? I suppose. But it's clear from the video (0:30 mark) that Spurrier's intent wasn't to fuel the fire. It was to point out that even Swinney—the coach at his program's biggest rival— recognizes the great player and great man that Lattimore is.
There's nothing wrong with that at all.
Swinney backed off his comments on Tuesday, according to Greg Wallace of the Anderson (S.C.) Independent-Mail.
Dabo on Spurrier's Lattimore-related jab: "I think everyone needs to back off the ledge. I think he was trying to pay a compliment."— Greg Wallace (@aimclemson) October 30, 2012
Will that calm the storm that Spurrier's comments made among the Clemson fan base? Maybe and maybe not.
But it should.
Spurrier is always good for a quote or two that are intended to stir the pot, but this isn't one of those times. He wasn't putting down Swinney, he was paying him a compliment.