Steve Spurrier thinks Mark Richt is just trying to fatten up Jadeveon Clowney

South Carolina Gamecocks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (7) against the Michigan Wolverines during the second half of the 2013 Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium. South Carolina Gamecocks defeated the Michigan Wolverines 33-28. (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

Is Georgia Bulldogs coach Mark Richt trying to butter up South Carolina Gamecocks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney? (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

During the 2012 season, the talk of the college football world was Johnny Manziel. While the Texas A&M superstar has had himself quite the eventful offseason (perhaps you’ve heard a thing or two about that?), those drawing up the Xs and Os have been chatting up a storm about another, far larger SEC force: Jadeveon Clowney.

At 6-foot-6 and roughly 265 pounds, the South Carolina superstar is expected to compete for the Heisman Trophy as a defensive end. Even being a part of the conversation is a big deal.

But recently, Georgia Bulldogs coach Mark Richt took things even a step further than that. Following Clowney’s statement at SEC Media Days that quarterback Aaron Murray looked “scared,” Richt basically told reporters that Murray should be scared, claiming that Clowney “is the very best player to exist today, at any level.”

Forgive Clowney’s coach at South Carolina, Steve Spurrier, if he’s not exactly impressed. Richt is going into his 13th season in Athens, Spurrier has been a part of the SEC pretty much every year save for a few since he was playing quarterback at Florida. The two have gotten to know each other extremely well over the years and over the on-field battles – and he has nothing but conspiracy theories behind Richt’s comments.

“That was a little strong right there,” Spurrier said on The Jim Rome Show. “Obviously, Jadeveon is probably the best defensive lineman in college football. I think everyone agrees with that. But when you start putting linemen in there with quarterbacks, receivers and running backs, I don’t know what he’s trying to say. If he’s trying to fatten up Jadeveon’s thinking, I hope it doesn’t work.

“Jadeveon has had a lot of praise, a lot of attention the entire offseason. I think he’s handled it pretty well. He tries to stay out of the limelight. He doesn’t go to the clubs. He’s not out in public much, except when he has to go to class and so forth. I think he’s handled it well.”

You can always count on Spurrier to give a straightforward answer to pretty much anything asked.

In this case, while it’s nice that Richt is speaking so highly of his premiere player, Spurrier understands that talk is exactly that – just talk.

Lucky for college football fans nationwide, it’s just about time to end the verbal sparring and put on the pads.

[H/T: Coaching Search]

See what Aaron Murray had to say about Jadeveon Clowney’s “scared” comments