The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

May 30, 2013

SEC coaches plan to avoid offseason jabs, jokes

— DESTIN, Fla. (AP) — South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier fondly recalled one of his best jabs.

"Citrus and UT, now that's original," the head ball coach said Wednesday.

The former Florida coach was referring to his late-1990s joke about rival Tennessee, which played in the Citrus Bowl three times over a four-year span.

"You can't spell Citrus without U-T," Spurrier said back then.

That kind of razzing continued for years in the Southeastern Conference, with coaches drawing hearty laughs with witty one-liners aimed at heated rivals. Most of those came at annual booster tours, which were basically offseason pep rallies. Remember the famed spat between Lane Kiffin and Urban Meyer?

Now, thanks partly to the growth of social media as well as a few recent slip-ups directed at Alabama coach Nick Saban, that kind of back-and-forth frivolity could be headed the way of the wishbone.

"I think it's sad that you can't go to your whatever clubs and just have a little fun and get everybody to get a good laugh," Georgia coach Mark Richt said. "They come to see their coaches and they're all true-blue Bulldogs or whatever contingent they're with. If you can't say anything about anybody else without it becoming a big issue, it makes it less fun."

Of course, it also could mean fewer apologies.

And there have been plenty of those around the league this year.

Florida coach Will Muschamp and athletic director Jeremy Foley called Saban to apologize for an assistant coach's words at a recent booster club.

Gators offensive line coach Tim Davis called Saban, his former boss, "the devil himself."

"I was very disappointed with what Tim said," Muschamp said Wednesday. "I don't think it's reflective of how his true opinion of Nick and the opportunities that Nick gave him at Miami and at Alabama. I've talked to Nick about the subject, and Tim, and we've moved forward. And I'm just very disappointed."

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