SEC’s “Talking Season” helps feed the passion and energy for SEC football. The SEC’s annual media days are a collection of bluster, fan anticipation and eternal optimism for the year ahead.
Any time the conference’s coaches come together, there are bound to be some fireworks.
But this year is different. The original man who made the SEC Media Days a must-see or must-listen event is not there for the first time since 1990 (minus that two-year sabbatical in the NFL).
Steve Spurrier is made large by his absence at this SEC Media Days. An element of combustibility and intrigue is certainly gone.
And even if it was a minor annoyance in drumming up a story, he is certainly missed. Even by the stoic one, Nick Saban.
“The one thing I will miss is I am usually up here responding to some barb from coach Spurrier, who is no longer with us and is retired and probably playing a lot of golf,” Nick Saban said in his opening statement at his SEC Media Day press conference in Hoover, Ala. “We wish him and Jerri a lot of success in the future. He has made a tremendous impact on the game, and I am sure will continue to do that with his leadership and deeds and action even though he is not coaching.”
The SEC is certainly missing one of its titans without Spurrier. Saban certainly is not the most energetic personality when it comes to the media. But what Spurrier did to help grow interest in the game and his success on the field in the SEC will certainly be missed.
Even if it provided a minor annoyance as Spurrier tweaked his rivals.
It is a big period of transition for the SEC as a whole. The league lost its media day voice in Spurrier and, at the end of the season, will lose its television voice with Verne Lundquist’s retirement.
Saban also took time in his opening statements to thank Lundquist for his contributions to the conference. Lundquist is probably one of the few media members, Saban said, who covered him when he took his first coaching job at Kent State 40-something years ago.
Indeed, there are some new voices coming to the SEC. And maybe it is a little less fun without Spurrier there.