College Football

Storin: Steve Spurrier is master of verbal jabs

storapse@aol.comMarch 13, 2014 

SPORTS FBC-SOUTHCAROLINA 5 CS

South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier

DWAYNE MCLEMORE — File -- The State (Columbia)

Steve Spurrier is at it again. He is getting under the skin of a college football rival.

This time it is Alabama's Nick Saban, regarded by many as the top coach in the game and, at $5 million plus a year, he is compensated that way.

Last week, responding to a question by USA Today's George Schroeder, concerning the potential "10 second rule" the South Carolina coach said:

"So you want to talk about the 'Saban Rule?' That's what I call it. It looks like it is dead now, hopefully."

Vintage Spurrier.

For those that may have missed it, the college football rules committee has been considering a new rule (5-yard penalty) which would prevent teams from snapping the ball in the first 10 seconds of the 40-second play clock.

Saban is adamant that the current pace of play deserves a closer look as it relates to player safety. He feels that more plays are resulting in more injuries.

A poll of major college coaches, including Clemson's Dabo Swinney, disagrees with Saban (93 to 25). Some feel that the Alabama coach is just trying to slow down hurry-up offenses by requiring a 10-second delay before a team could snap the ball.

The rule "makes no sense" says Swinney, and added that to "hide behind player safety is wrong because it's just not factual."

The controversial proposal has been tabled for now, but the debate isn't finished because Saban and others insist it's only common sense that more plays leads to a risk of more injuries.

Saban would like to see the officials dictate the pace of the game more so than offenses, similar to what happens in the National Football League.

In 2013, the highest average number of plays being run in college football was 90. In the NFL it was 72.

"I always go back to what they do in the NFL because they spend millions of dollars to figure out what's best for the game," Saban said.

There now will be a study and the subject will be rehashed in 2015.

In all honesty, the 10-second rule was probably not Saban's idea. But Spurrier was never one to let an opportunity to tweak an icon go by.

The man once pulled the chain of Florida State coach Bobby Bowden by saying, "You know what FSU stands for, don't you? Free Shoes University."

Then there was the time Spurrier cracked on Peyton Manning when he was quarterbacking Tennessee.

"I know why Peyton came back for his senior year," the quipster crowed. "He wanted to be a three-time star of the Citrus Bowl."

With Saban and the Crimson Tide ending last season with successive losses to Auburn and Oklahoma (Sugar Bowl), which both employ a hurry-up offense, Spurrier simply couldn't resist.

The man is no dummy. If he can make a rival look bad, he'll do it.

And make no mistake, Saban and Spurrier are rivals, although their teams seldom meet on the gridiron. Right now "The Old Ball Coach" leads Saban in head-to-head competition, three victories to one.

In the words of Beano Cook, the late college football guru and also a master of the one-liner:

Hail Caesar.

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