July 17, 2013
HOOVER, Ala. - I first met Will Muschamp when he was a graduate assistant on Terry Bowden's Auburn staff. We talked off and on after that until he returned to Auburn as defensive coordinator in 2006. It was obvious even then that Muschamp was on the fast track to the top of his profession.
Muschamp, affectionately nicknamed "Boom" during his time at Auburn, is the most emotional gameday coach I've seen. Players love it, and they love him. Muschamp loves them back. I saw it first-hand during preseason in 2006 when he allowed me to spend an entire day with him, going to his meetings and seeing how he worked, how he pushed his players and how they responded.
Headed toward his third season at Florida, Muschamp hasn't changed one bit. His withering shot at Ohio State and head coach Urban Meyer got lots of attention Tuesday on the first day of Southeastern Conference Media Days.
Muschamp made it clear he didn't buy the denials after reports surfaced that Ohio State and turned Florida in to the NCAA for an alleged violation that never even happened. Muschamp used the old Michigan insult when he referred to Ohio State as simply Ohio.
"The University of Florida didn't do anything wrong," Muschamp said. "We appreciated our friends from Ohio making sure we're compliant with NCAA rules. They certainly know a little bit about that subject." ...
More thoughts and impressions from the first day of SEC Media Days:
Steve Spurrier thinks life in college athletics ought to be a whole lot simpler. He believes neither the problems facing college athletics nor the solutions are all that complicated. And he says it in his inimitable way.
Why is Notre Dame given standing equal to entire conferences at the BCS and national playoff table? Spurrier doesn't know. What should be done? He said Tuesday on the first day of Southeastern Conference Media Days that Notre Dame should join a conference and "play football like the rest of us."
Why should coaches make millions while many players and their parents struggle to make ends meet? Simple, according to Spurrier. They shouldn't. He says players ought to get what would amount to around $3.600 a year. Not only that, he believes head coaches ought to pay for it out of their millions.
Don't dare, he says, call that "play for pay." He says the NFL is play for pay.
How to solve the SEC's scheduling dilemma? Simple, Spurrier says. Only count division games in division races.
After making Florida a national power and having South Carolina at heights it has never experienced, Spurrier doesn't have to care what anyone thinks about he says. Not that he ever has.
Oh, that there were more people like him in high places. ...
Mighty South Carolina Jadeveon Clowney was quite impressive Tuesday. He said he hasn't been in trouble and won't be in trouble because doesn't party and stays off the Internet. He was articulate and displayed a humorous side.
So why did he then feel the need to say that Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd and Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray were afraid when they played South Carolina last season? What was the purpose of that?
Those two are great players who are going to be a little bit more determined when they come up against Clowney and the Gamecocks in the coming season. ...
I am quite impressed with Hugh Freeze, who is like Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn in many ways. Both want to play offense at hyper speed. Both were great high school coaches before getting their chances in college. But I'll admit I'm confused by all the talk of high expectations for Ole Miss.
The Rebels were 6-6 in the regular season in 2012, 7-6 after a bowl victory over Pittsburgh. Even Freeze talks about their lack of depth. The talk of a big season seems premature to me. ...
When Texas A&M and Missouri joined the SEC last year, it was clear that Texas A&M was a good fit. Missouri didn't seem like such a good fit. After listening to head coach Gary Pinkel and his players today, it still doesn't seem like a good fit. Maybe I'll be proved wrong. ...
There were some strange moments Tuesday. Commissioner Mike Slive talked about basketball schedules, which I believe to be a football Media Days first. Ole Miss players answered questions about troubled basketball player Marshall Henderson. ...
You could call today new coach day. Malzahn, Tennessee's Butch Jones, Arkansas' Bret Bielema and Kentucky's Mark Stoops will all make their first Media Days appearances. It should be fun.
Until next time ...
Phillip Marshall is a Senior Writer for AuburnTigers.com. Follow Marshall on Twitter: