Swinney lashes out; Spurrier responds

Quote wrongly attributed to USC coach sparks verbal outburst; Todd Ellis clarifies remarks in question

jkendall@thestate.comDecember 2, 2011 

Steve Spurrier has always believed he had a good relationship with South Carolina’s archrival, and he doesn’t want that to change even after cutting remarks made by Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney.

“I don’t know what he said, don’t even care really,” Spurrier told The State on Thursday. “I am not getting into any verbal (altercations) with anybody.”

Swinney, believing he was responding to a Spurrier quote from after the Gamecocks’ 34-13 win over the Tigers on Saturday, said plenty for both coaches.

“After five years, I think (Spurrier) had 35 wins and a new contract and all that kind of stuff,” Swinney said. “After five years at Clemson, if I only have 35 wins there is going to be a new coach here and there should be because there is a different standard.”

Swinney’s words came after he was asked about a Spurrier quote that was tweeted Saturday by @GamecockFB, a twitter account controlled by South Carolina football office staff members, which read, “We aren’t LSU, and we aren’t Alabama. But we sure ain’t Clemson.” - Steve Spurrier

That statement – or something close to it – actually came from Gamecocks radio play-by-play voice Todd Ellis, who said, “As Coach Spurrier says, we may not be LSU or Alabama… but we ain’t Clemson folks,” during the broadcast following the Gamecocks’ third straight win over the Tigers.

Ellis was referring to comments Spurrier has made publicly several times about his team in relation to LSU and Alabama.

“Coach said that part of it,” Ellis told The State on Thursday night. “I added, ‘but we ain’t Clemson.’ If I didn’t make it clear, then that’s regrettable. He did not say that.”

Spurrier is willing to let the incident pass, he said Thursday.

“That crap can happen. They can stick quotes on you,” he said. “As long as the story gets straight, that’s fine with me. I am not mad with anybody. We have a good relationship with those guys, and it’s going to stay that way.”

Spurrier’s daughter Lisa told him Wednesday night that the quote was making the rounds and being attributed to him.

“I said, ‘Well, what do you want me to do? I didn’t say it,’ ” Spurrier said. “Smart people don’t believe everything they read, and they don’t believe hearsay. … I guess Dabo believed it.”

Swinney was asked about the comment following Clemson’s Thursday night practice and gave a nearly five-minute response that included the following:

-- “I heard that. That’s the kind of thing that gets back to you, and I don’t know if he really said that or not, but I guess he did because there has been no rebuttal. If he said that, that’s disappointing. I was taught to win and lose with class.”

-- “I guess I’d have to say agree with him. I’d say he’s right. They are not Clemson, and they are never going to be Clemson to be honest with you, and no three-game winning streak is going to change that. It’s not the first time they’ve won three in a row, and it won’t be the last time. It might be 50 more years.”

-- “I have a lot of respect for Coach Spurrier but I am going to defend my program. I am going to defend my players, my coaches and I’m going to defend Clemson University because I believe in it.”

-- “There are a lot of rivalries out there. This is more of a domination, and that’s a fact. My kid’s grandkids won’t live long enough to ever see this really become a rivalry. It is what it is.”

-- “I have respect for their program, but South Carolina is not Clemson. There are a lot of differences. This is a place that has won a national title, 17 conference championships. We’ve won more bowl games than they’ve ever been to. I think our program has 100-plus more wins than South Carolina. That’s reality.”

-- “He’s exactly right. They ain’t Alabama. They ain’t LSU, and they certainly aren’t Clemson. Carolina is in Chapel Hill, and USC is in California and THE university in this state always has been, always will be Clemson. You can print that, tweet that, whatever.”

“He should have stuck with, ‘I will have to wait and see if he really said that,’ ” Spurrier said. “Hopefully, people will wait until they get all the facts before they make responses to things that were never uttered. If it was in the newspaper on Sunday it might have had some validity but on a tweeter three or four days later, that’s ridiculous.”

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