Spurrier took omission too seriously

Updated: August 2, 2009, 1:43 AM ET
Associated Press

BLYTHEWOOD, S.C. -- Steve Spurrier has more regrets over his all-Southeastern Conference ballot: That he took his omission of Florida's Tim Tebow from the first team so seriously and that he involved one of his most trusted staffers.

The South Carolina coach said Thursday he made way too big a deal of not voting for the Heisman Trophy winning quarterback at the Southeastern Conference's annual media gathering. Spurrier also made it clear he took responsibility for the incident and that his director of football operations, Jamie Speronis, was not to blame.

"We got into too much detail," Spurrier said after his annual summer golf outing. "We should not have gotten Jamie Speronis involved at all because he does a heck of a job as director of football operations. He's an important, key guy."

Spurrier's admission was perhaps the denouement to the biggest whodunit at SEC gathering in Hoover, Ala. The media had asked each league coach if they were the one who failed to place Tebow, who led the Gators to a national championship last fall, on the preseason first team.

Finally, Spurrier admitted the oversight, offering how sick he was when he realized he hadn't put his fellow Gator Heisman Trophy winner as his No. 1 choice. Spurrier then detailed what happened, including why Speronis had gone with Mississippi quarterback Jevan Snead over Tebow.

Spurrier called Tebow to apologize and had the SEC redo his ballot to include the Florida star as his choice.

"Sometimes, you look back and say, 'Why did we give them too much detail?'" Spurrier said. "It was an oversight, first list we sent in, it was my fault, and then we corrected it. That's all we needed to say."

Speronis has been Spurrier's director of football operations at South Carolina, with the Washington Redskins and at Florida. The two have been together 18 seasons.

Spurrier's SEC explanation put the affable right-hand man in the spotlight.

"I hope he didn't get too much grief," Spurrier said.

South Carolina's cross-country coach, Stan Rosenthal, said when he returned from Serbia a person at the airport saw his Gamecock shirt and mentioned how Spurrier "was in the news again" over Tebow.

South Carolina has lost its past three games to Florida since Tebow was there. The Gamecocks get one last chance against him at Williams-Brice Stadium on Nov. 14.

Spurrier said he wishes he hadn't made his goof bigger than it was.

"We made way too big a deal out of it," he said. "I wish I could handle it over, but can't so just say that and move on. Don't need to talk about that anymore."


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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