The Spurrier Scale: Which SEC coach will steal the show at SEC Media Days?
Accepting as a given premise that there’s no competition too small to want to win in the SEC, which head coach will be winning press conferences during this week’s SEC Media Days? Frankly, the league has lost some its most quotable leaders, with Bret Bielema and Butch Jones shuffling off elsewhere. But we’ll break down the guys who remain and take our first guesses at the quotability of the guys who are now on board — based on a Steve Spurrier scale. We’re looking at press conference and interview clips, but also went beyond that sometimes to get the personalities behind the coaches.
We review the league’s coaches and break them down into three group —Pick It Up, Getting There, and Don’t Miss It. We include a quote and where appropriate, a representative clip of the coach in action.
Pick It Up
Matt Luke, Ole Miss
Likeable? Sure. Quotable? Not especially. Luke spent most of 2017 trying to survive the season and then win the full-time Ole Miss job. He did both, so maybe he’ll add some color in 2018.
Jeremy Pruitt, Tennessee
“There were some people that weren’t here and, you know, why weren’t they here, kind of like our football team.” — on UT’s 65,000 spring game attendance
Pruitt is new to head coaching, and throwing shade at his own fanbase after a pretty solid attendance mark for a spring game is trouble or the beginning of a guy who is going to do something great. On the upside, no “Champions of Life.” On the downside, we’re not yet sure how much fun this guy will be. Much less than Spurrier, we’re sure of that.
Barry Odom, Missouri
“The third-team tackle from Rockbridge High School, he’s got a Twitter account that’s got 12 followers, and he wants to put out how terrible we are.”
Odom was ranked as the league’s most uninteresting coach last year, and he showed plenty of fire in 2017, on and off the field. Now that his job looks much more secure, hopefully Odom can show more of a fun-loving side. Like his team, he improved in 2017, and we’re watching him in 2018, starting Wednesday in Atlanta.
Kirby Smart, Georgia
“I couldn’t tell you the first thing about that thing. I couldn’t tell you how to operate it. I can just tell you that they like it.” — on team’s DJ booth
Kirby is a true Nick Saban disciple in his desire to avoid any type of controversial statement. That doesn’t bode well for his Spurrier score. Unfortunately, he’s not as lively as his mentor yet. This clip of him trying to explain Georgia’s DJ booth is still a high water mark, but we need more Spurrier-esque craziness from Kirby.
Joe Moorhead, Mississippi State
“I’ve learned very quickly that you can get fried chicken and biscuits at almost every gas station in the state.”
Moorhead seems cerebral and intelligent, but whether his brand of humor will translate is still uncertain. He seems to be off to a solid start. A few Egg Bowl jokes will help his Spurrier score.
Jimbo Fisher, Texas A&M
Called leaving FSU for A&M a “no brainer” in introductory press conference.
Fisher has plenty of charisma, and obviously isn’t shy of mixing it up. With that kind of shade, the guy has promise.
Ed Orgeron, LSU
It never gets old. Does Orgeron really sound like Cookie Monster? No, but then again, he doesn’t sound like anybody else on planet Earth, so close enough.
Dan Mullen, Florida
He can be salty, but he can also be hilarious, like when he orchestrated the phony commercial mocking Nick Saban’s much fancier ride. Laughing at himself and at a rival at one time = success on the sliding Spurrier grading curve.
Mark Stoops, Kentucky
“And Grandma … I’m not in the house five minutes, but she’s wonderful, she gives me a big hug, she’s very inviting, and then she gets right into the bowl game. ‘What were you all doing? You looked so stupid.’”
Stoops can be dogged and business-like, but he enjoys a good laugh, which is good, because in this case, the recruit’s grandma was probably right. Ah well, laughing is better than crying.
Derek Mason, Vanderbilt
“I had a sheet that I had been looking for for the last 18 months. Lo and behold, about two weeks ago, it popped up. I found it in my library of football books.” — on finding his magic sheet after his first year as a head coach at Vandy.
Mason could coach for 30 years and make the Hall of Fame, but anybody who heard this press conference — which unfortunately doesn’t seem to circulate on video — will remember this moment. We need more magic sheets and libraries of football books. Am I the only one who found himself thinking of Henry Winkler in The Waterboy with his special playbook?
Chad Morris, Arkansas
“You got a Red Bull?”
Admittedly, we haven’t seen him in a full season of work, but this video is hilarious, and obviously, has something of a basis in truth. Morris might not match Spurrier’s quips, but he could fill Bielema’s large great quote shoes, and hopefully, will have more success as a head coach.
Don’t Miss It
Will Muschamp, South Carolina
“Which one did you give them — the garnet one or the black one?” — riffing on coaches refusing to provide depth charts
This is the kind of thing that bumps Muschamp up our list. Last year’s clip is also a classic, with him making fun of Auburn, but this year’s ranking includes him having a laugh and throwing shade at other programs (ahem, Michigan) and most recently, Alabama and Saban. That’s classic Spurrier 101. We dig it.
Gus Malzahn, Auburn
“This is definitely a Waffle House night” — after beating UGA on a fourth-down pass in 2013.
He dabs, occasionally beats the “dog crap” out of rivals, does this, and he admits to a Waffle House fixation. What else can we need?
Nick Saban, Alabama
“They run through our (expletive) like (expletive) through a tin horn, man, and we could not stop them.” — on Charleston Southern, 2015.
His diatribes are legendary, but his sense of humor is laconic and understated. He’s the best, in whatever he does. Everything about Saban, down to the bottle of Coke he uses as a press conference prop, is entertaining. Of course, he wins. Was it ever in doubt?
Saban takes the stage Wednesday in Atlanta. Stay tuned.