HOOVER, Ala.-The one coach everyone seemed to want a piece of was new South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier. The former Florida coach was followed by a mob of reporters from one interview room to the other before taking the podium at approximately 4:30 CDT in the larger ballroom where the print media was situated.
"I'd like to thank all of you for sticking around," Spurrier quipped. "I didn't think anybody would be left by the time 4:30 rolled around."
UNDECIDED: Spurrier added that he has not yet decided which of the 26 qualified incoming freshman will delay their enrollment until the spring of 2006. South Carolina signed 27 players on Signing Day, 2005, but lineman Jarriel King came up short. That leaves the Gamecocks one incoming freshman above the NCAA-mandated limit of 25 per year.
CHINESE ZODIAC: Spurrier cautioned everyone that 2005 was the Year of the Rooster, according to the Chinese zodiac. A Gamecock, the South Carolina mascot, is a fighting rooster. "Don't bet too much against the Gamecocks, even though we're underdogs," Spurrier said. Ironically, the school's only conference title came in 1969 when South Carolina went 6-0 in the ACC and won that league.
GET READY: First-year head coach Ed Orgeron of Ole Miss said that he is expecting true freshman Michael Oher, from Memphis, to play on the offensive line early. Oher was the No. 2 prospect in the state of Tennessee in the Class of 2005, behind Patrick Turner.
IN CONTROL: Orgeron will serve as his own defensive coordinator this season and will let offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone call the plays. Orgeron, however, will make the ultimate call on who gets the nod as the Rebels' starting quarterback. Micheal Spurlock is the current leader for that position, but Robert Lane and Ethan Flatt are in the mix. "I was ahead when Spring stopped," Spurlock said. "But I don't think we will know who the starter is until the end of two-a-days. I need to hang onto it."
TOUGH ENOUGH?: Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer's top concern is his team's tough early season schedule. The Vols open Sept. 3 at home against UAB, have a week off and then go to Florida and LSU in back-to-back weeks. "We don't have time to wait on anybody to get into shape," Fulmer said.
SIDELINED: Fulmer confirmed that incoming freshman quarterback Jonathan Crompton from Waynesville, N.C., is out for the season with a possible torn labrum that will require surgery. Crompton was rated the No. 2 pro-style quarterback prospect in the country in the class of 2005.
NO COMMENT: Fulmer would not comment on the recent $30 million judgement returned against Tom Culpepper in former Alabama assistant Ronnie Cotrell's lawsuit against the former recruiting analyst. "I don't want to throw anymore gasoline on that fire," Fulmer said. The Vols coach also did not comment on alleged threats he received concerning his involvement in an NCAA investigation against rival Alabama, only saying that he received them on his cell phone.
HE SAID IT: "I'm not going to give any advice to Steve (Spurrier). He's got all the answers anyway." - Fulmer, when asked about giving advice to the league's four new coaches.