Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Steve Spurrier has never been one to follow the coaching football crowd or refrain from speaking his mind, and he proved it once again Thursday on his weekly radio call-in show.
For starters, Spurrier announced that Saturday's Gamecock scrimmage would be open to the public, a reversal from earlier policy regarding the scrimmage and a move that flies in the face of the nationwide trend towards closing off fall practices.
But even more interesting was Spurrier's rationale for the switch: “We don’t have to act like all those guys who are paranoid somebody is going to come and watch a ball play," he said on the radio show.
What makes Spurrier's statement particularly interesting is that "all those guys" include most of his SEC head coaching brethren. Les Miles closed LSU practices to the media several days early, unhappy with the local coverage. Will Muschamp closed Florida's spring practice for the first time ever and has kept fall camp likewise off-limits. Dan Mullen closed off Mississippi State practice Aug. 8. Reporters at Auburn are barred from scrimmages while players are instructed not to discuss certain aspects of those scrimmages, aspects like "who played well."
All of which is entirely those coaches' prerogative, of course, as it is the many, many other coaches across the country who employ the same policies. And if asked to choose between more incisive coverage of their team and the potential revealing of information that might help their team's opponents, or more generic coverage and fewer leaks, the overwhelming majority of fans will support closed practices and the latter.
So whether Spurrier is being fair or not in labeling the move towards tighter restrictions "paranoia," don't expect to see it change anytime soon ... just like, as we've seen again, the Ole Ball Coach himself.