ATHENS -- Pillager Attila the Hun. Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson. Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Mark Bradley.
South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier is only a fan of one of those three and it it doesn't happen to be the Tigers’ signal caller or the newspaper writer. In an unplanned press conference with the local media in Columbia, South Carolina, Spurrier blasted those deemed his “enemies” in what he called a message for the Gamecocks fans.
“Now that we’re 7-6, some of our enemies out there want you to think that coach Spurrier is getting old and can’t do it anymore,” Spurrier said. “And they’ll try to convince you that our 7-6 wasn’t as good as someone else’s 7-6.”
Spurrier said he was unhappy with recent coverage speculating about a possible retirement. Spurrier specifically cited a Bradley quote that ran in The State, the local newspaper in Columbia. Bradley said Spurrier’s Gamecocks were on the "descent" and that, "I’m not sure he’s going to have a chance to win the next few years the way he’s had it the last few years.” Spurrier didn’t specifically name Bradley but voiced his displeasure about The State including a comment from a writer in the "Atlanta paper that covers the Bulldogs."
“We let that guy write in our paper the other day. It doesn’t make sense, does it?” Spurrier said.
Spurrier reiterated he has no plans to retire and that he plans to coach for a long time. Spurrier said South Carolina team doctor Jeff Guy told him he is mentally and physically like a 55-year-old man. Spurrier admitted the retirement talk hurt recruiting in 2014.
“Last year a few recruits chose to believe what they were saying," Spurrier said. "That’s OK. We have a choice in life to believe whatever we want to. I want our Gamecock fans to not believe anything our enemies say about us.”
Spurrier also brought up Watson’s recent comment to a USA Today reporter that he’ll never lose to South Carolina. Before Clemson's win last season, South Carolina had won the previous five meetings.
“Their quarterback’s already challenged our guys, he says we can’t beat him ever,” Spurrier said. “We’re looking forward to that challenge. Maybe this rivalry will get back a little bit like it was several years ago.”
Spurrier repeatedly mentioned for Gamecock fans not to pay attention to the “enemies” over the nine-minute media meeting. Spurrier brought up Attila the Hun twice, citing the fifth-century barbarian as inspiration now that his football team is facing some criticism from afar.
“Attila the Hun said it best, don’t let them throw discouragement in your way,” Spurrier said.