Steve Spurrier is Oscar Madison to Nick Saban’s Felix Unger, so it’s never bland whenever the HBC comments on Lord Saban’s coaching methods. In a recent interview with Go Gamecocks, Spurrier discussed his work smarter, not harder methodology.
“I have read stories that people who last a long time have outside interests. I can’t grind on football 11 months a year maybe the way some of these coaches do. They can grind now,” Spurrier said. “I mean, they will go 6:30 a.m. to 7:30, 8:00 at night in the offseason. Did you know that? I don’t know what they do. They say they are working.”
Saban, the poster child for sunup-to-sundown preparation, eventually came up in conversation when Spurrier needed a counterpoint for his personal management philosophy.
“I told Nick Saban one time, I said, ‘Nick, you don’t have to stay there until midnight and your teams would be just as good and win just as many,’ ” Spurrier said. “He said, ‘If I could do it the way you do it, I would, but I don’t feel comfortable unless I try to cover every base, every angle, be totally prepared.’ I said, ‘Well, that’s probably why you do it.’ When I come out there, I feel comfortable we are ready to play. We have our game plan in, going to call this, call that and so forth. Everybody is different as far as when they feel they are totally prepared.”
These statements really aren’t that great of a surprise. Spurrier believes in his players, though probably moreso in his play calling. How many times have we seen him call the same play back-to-back simply to prove that it works when executed properly? Make sure the guys know how everything is supposed to run, put them in position to succeed, and let the ball bounce as it will.
Saban is notoriously robotic. He eats the same thing for lunch every day so that there’s one less non-football related topic clouding his brain. He is a workaholic personified.
Though owning different management styles, the two men can be considered some of the most successful to ever coach college football (and Saban will no doubt be in the “greatest ever” discussion by career’s end). However, it just wouldn’t be a Steve Spurrier interview without one little jab at the end – that one-liner guaranteed to turn a headline. When discussing how it’s easy to find faults for any team that doesn’t go undefeated, Spurrier tossed this barb over to his buddy in Tuscaloosa.
How many SECs has (Saban) won there in eight years? He’s won two. He’s won three nationals, but he’s only won two SECs in eight years. Now, if you had the No. 1 recruiting class every year and so forth, I don’t know if he has maxed out potentially as well as he could.”
And that sums it all up perfectly. Saban will grind himself into a pulp in order to achieve perfection; Spurrier expects as much, but is more pragmatic. Live to work versus work to live.
One has to wonder if Saban feels that one-second blunder on The Plains was caused by not staying an extra 30 minutes during a July film session. Or if Spurrier would log a few extra hours if he didn’t believe himself to be the smartest man in the room. Felix and Oscar.