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On Campus: The Tao of Steve

By Scott Haynes, Senior College Football Editor

Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - If coaches in the SEC held their sessions with the media at the same time in different venues, there would undoubtedly be a lot of empty rooms, as the place that houses the Ol' Ball Coach would be standing room only.

Steve Spurrier has provided plenty of colorful quotes over the years and 2014's SEC Media event was no different.

Every word that comes out of Spurrier's mouth seems carefully crafted, despite his often playful demeanor.

The great thing about Spurrier is that even the things he doesn't say, convey almost as much meaning, while "off the cuff" comments must also be analyzed.

The 2014 event started off in typical fashion with Spurrier opening up to the media.

"Glad to be here again. Glad to see I guess some familiar faces out there. Get ready for talking season. That's what we're all doing right now, talking a little bit till we start practice August 1st, August 2nd, get ready for the 2014 season.

"We got a pretty good team we think. Most of the magazines got us about 9, 10, 11 in the country, something like that. Hopefully we can live up to that prediction. But we do have a lot of good players, wonderful attitudes on the team. We're looking forward to seeing what happens August 28th."

Deeper into the session is where it got interesting, in typical Spurrier fashion.

In an earlier interview this summer, Spurrier took what some viewed as a veiled shot at Alabama's Nick Saban, referring to the fact that Saban has won three national titles, but just two SEC titles in eight seasons.

The topic came up at the SEC Media event this week, and Spurrier didn't disappoint.

"I think they've done extremely well (Alabama). There's no question about that. I just made a statement that I think they've had five number one recruiting classes out of the last six years, which has got to make him (Saban) the greatest recruiter in the history of college football.

"Arguably, they've got the greatest collection of football players ever assembled for a college team. If the recruiting services are correct, and they're pretty much correct. So they're the favorites. They're the favorites. There's no question about that. As long as they can recruit like that, they're always going to be the favorites.

"I guess fortunately sometimes the team that plays the best is the team that wins instead of maybe who all has the best players."

And there it is. Belying all the praise Spurrier heaped on Saban and the Crimson Tide came a nugget of truth that was delivered perfectly, almost in a passive-aggressive manor, showing more insight into Spurrier's feelings on the subject.

He went on further to say "I just mention that because it is amazing. When I was at Florida, we had two number one classes, 1991, Danny Wuerffel, all those guys, we had a bunch of players come in. The next year the guys said, Coach, you got too many players on Florida, I'm not going to get on the field.

"But at Alabama they just keep signing them year after year after year. It's amazing. I give him credit for it. They do it the right way. He runs a good program. It's just amazing to me how they've been able to stack and keep loading up players every year.

"That's what I was just trying to mention. They're going to be the favorites. They got to be the favorites. Now LSU is pretty good, too. Everybody else recruits very well also. But to be number one that much, that's just sort of amazing to me."

It's just hard to separate all that praise from the aforementioned line about winning.

Spurrier has seen and done it all and his way of handling media sessions speaks to that. He is destined for the Hall of Fame. There are very few like him in the game today and may not be many more like him ever.

Spurrier had this to say at the SEC Media event regarding his path to South Carolina.

"Obviously you never know what your path in life is going to lead to. When I left Florida after 12 years, I thought I was going to coach NFL five or six years and retire to the beach and play golf a bunch and travel around, this, that and the other. But that was a bad plan."

He continued by saying "Right now we have a great group of assistant coaches. They can go recruit, coach their position, wonderful president, athletic director. It is a wonderful group to work for and be around. Somebody I read in the paper the other day, rivals.com had us second in the nation in recruiting. Of course, Alabama is number one (laughter). Commitments for next year. Hopefully all these guys will stick. But it has been interesting. It's really been a fun nine years. Obviously the last three, four years have been a lot more fun. But that's just the way it's worked out. Yeah, Pat Dooley always told me, I'll coach longer at South Carolina than I did at Florida. He may be right. We don't know yet, but he may be right."

Those who enjoy Spurrier's way of answering questions can only hope so.

07/16 10:46:02 ET