- Edward Aschoff, ESPN Staff Writer
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Whether the South Carolina coach is leaving a star quarterback off his All-SEC first team or ripping other teams in his league, he is never one to disappoint.
The Head Ball Coach was tamer this year but still delivered some gems. Here's the best of what he had to say Tuesday:
On his team:
“We got a pretty good team, we think. Most of the magazines got us about nine, 10, 11 in the country, something like that. Hopefully we can live up to [those] predictions.”
On seeing his old quarterback, Stephen Garcia, at SEC media days:
“One of our media guys asked about Stephen. I saw him on TV last night. He was interviewed by our local TV celebrity in Columbia there. He got his long hair back. I said it looked like he had joined 'Duck Dynasty' instead of the media. They assured me he’s with the media now (working for website Saturday Down South).
“Stephen is a good guy. We had no problems with Stephen when he was with the team, practicing, the games. All of the issues when he got off the field, around campus, whatever, he had some issues there. Unfortunate, but ...
“That game against Alabama, he completed 17 out of 20, a 35-21 game when they came in No. 1 in the country, was still a game they still talk about there in Columbia. He had the game of his life.”
On the Texas-Texas A&M rivalry:
“I think it’s a shame that Texas and Texas A&M don’t play each other, though. I don’t mind saying that. Two schools that have been playing for over a hundred years, just because one of them joins another conference, get mad at each other. ‘We’re not playing you anymore, we’re not playing you anymore.’ So I don’t know. I think it is sad.
“Florida plays Florida State. We play Clemson. Georgia plays Georgia Tech. We’re in different conferences, but they are in-state rivals. The fans want to see that, to me. They want to see you beat the guys next door, the neighbors. I think it is sad. I know they’re not going to play each other. That’s just my opinion anyway.”
On winning an SEC title compared to beating Clemson:
“What I’ve also learned at South Carolina, our fans realize there’s more to life than winning the SEC championship. They really do. We’re in a state with Clemson. Clemson used to pretty much own South Carolina in football, no question about it. We have a state championship trophy. If you ask our fans at South Carolina, I can assure you a majority would say, ‘We would rather beat Clemson than win the SEC.' That is how big it is to them, that one game.
“Personally, I’d rather win the SEC. I don’t mind saying that. Personally, that’s the bigger trophy.”
On Dylan Thompson sticking with South Carolina and not transferring:
"Well, he wasn't a highly recruited guy, so he didn't get into all that bullcrap that most of them get. He came to our summer camp one day and I saw him running around and throwing and I asked him: 'If I offered you a scholarship, would you commit now or go tell everybody you got an offer and try to go somewhere else?' And he said, 'Coach, if you're offering me a scholarship, I'm committing right now.' I said, 'Well, you got an offer.' "
On what he thought life would be like after leaving Florida:
“When I left Florida after 12 years, I thought I was going to coach [in the] 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. It was. Later you found out that was not a real good idea, but that’s the way I was thinking back then.”
On how he got to South Carolina:
“Some people ask, ‘How did you end up there?’ I said, ‘I was available and they were the only ones who offered me a job the end of 2004.' "
On the pending trophy (a bronze sculpture of James Bonham, a South Carolina soldier who died defending the Alamo) awarded to the winner of the South Carolina-Texas A&M game:
“I heard about it. Read about it. Didn’t know it was official yet. I’m actually from Tennessee. I always was taught the hero of the Alamo was Davy Crockett, so this was a new one on me.
“It’s a good story, I’m sure Bonham did some good things. I always thought Davy Crockett was the hero of the Alamo, he and those 33 Tennessee guys that came in there and got killed, so forth. So the trophy was a little surprising to me. I’m sure this guy Bonham was a hero and did a lot of good, after I read the story.”