Notebook: Coaches debate the future of SEC schedules

Spurrier not expecting any players to leave the team this summer

jkendall@thestate.comApril 24, 2013 

Steve Spurrier

FILE PHOTO — The State

The future of the SEC football schedule was once again debated Wednesday as the league’s head coaches participated in a post-spring practice teleconference.

LSU coach Les Miles raised the subject without any prompting by questioning the fairness of the current format, which has one Eastern Division and one Western Division team play every year. The Tigers’ annual rival is Florida.

“I wonder if there should be no permanent partners. I wonder if a computer might schedule a more fair schedule by random draw,” Miles said. “I suspect that there are going to be some questions (about the schedule).”

The conference has not announced the 2014 schedule or the format it will use to determine future schedules. A nine-game SEC schedule remains a possibility, several coaches indicated Wednesday.

“I think we have a lot of people in the SEC office who are trying to decide what’s best for the league, and they look at it from 1,000 feet,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “From our point of view, one basic theory that I have is that every player ought to have the opportunity in a four-year career to play every other SEC school.”

That can’t happen with the current scheduling model.

“If we want to be fair, we would not have permanent crossover opponents,” South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said. “Coaches, we don’t make the rules, we just try to coach our teams as best we can. Nobody said it was supposed to be fair anyway.”

Heisman hopes

Spurrier acknowledged Wednesday that junior defensive end Jadeveon Clowney faces an uphill climb to win the Heisman Trophy, which has never gone to an exclusively defensive player.

“It’s hard when you have a couple guys blocking one guy. It’s hard for him to take over a ball game,” Spurrier said.

Staying on board

Spurrier doesn’t expect any players to leave the team this summer, but he didn’t rule it out.

“The summer is a long time,” Spurrier said. “We have one or two that could go bad. You never know. Right now, we don’t have anyone planning on leaving.”

Shaw on schedule

Starting quarterback Connor Shaw will be ready June 1 to join his teammates in summer workouts, Spurrier said. Missing spring practice with a foot injury was “a minor, minor setback” for Shaw, Spurrier said.

“I always sort of believe (spring) is a time for the young guys to learn how to play a little bit,” Spurrier said. “Connor was there every day watching. He knows what we are trying to do.”

Running back rotation

Sophomore running back Mike Davis seemed confident after the spring game that he had been named the Gamecocks starter going into the fall, but Spurrier said it remains too close to call between Davis and fellow sophomore Brandon Wilds.

“Those two will be our running backs. Whoever starts is sort of up in the air,” Spurrier said. “They will both play. Mike really came on during spring practice, had a long run in our spring game.”

Golf outing

Spurrier and former South Carolina wide receiver Sterling Sharpe will try to get back to their winning ways at the Chick-fil-A Bowl charity golf tournament on Tuesday. Spurrier and Sharpe, who won the event in 2008 and 2009, will play in a group with Ohio State coach Urban Meyer and former Buckeye Jeff Logan.

In all, 15 teams comprised of a major college football coach and former player from the school will compete for $125,000 first place prize at Reynolds Plantation in Greensboro, Ga. Tuesday’s round will be filmed by ESPN and televised in the fall.

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