This one is a doozy, and it’s going to take a minute to unravel. But hang in there.
Let’s start from the top: Herschel Walker, who is the all-time greatest football player in UGA history (and maybe in college history), was a guest for a live segment on Tuesday’s SEC Network.
Sitting beside Herschel was Steve Spurrier, the widely-successful coach of the Florida Gators who was public enemy No. 1 to many UGA fans for decades. Walker and Spurrier were asked to talk about each other, and here’s what the former Georgia running back had to say about the former coach of the Gators:
“There was so much competition between Georgia and Florida. And I hear Coach Spurrier talk. He’s so competitive. He was always talking bad about Georgia. That makes you say, ‘Man, I don’t like Coach Spurrier.’ I can’t believe he’s saying those mean things about Georgia. Georgia is a great university, so I didn’t like Coach Spurrier.
“And I then I had the opportunity to go to Tim Tebow’s Heisman Trophy ceremony. And I had the opportunity to meet Coach Spurrier and his wife. And I fell in love with this guy. This is a heck of man right here. He’s a great coach.
“And I got where I really liked him. I even said ‘I would not be opposed to Coach Spurrier coaching at the University of Georgia.’ Then I figured …”
At that point, Walker got interrupted by the rest of the TV panel with some loud laughs. Even Spurrier had a big grin. Surely Herschel was joking, right?
One common bond between Walker and Spurrier that made the two fast friends (and it’s not winning the Heisman): Both men are fiercely competitive and “hate to lose.”
Walker finished his praise of the Ol’ Ball Coach with this: “But that’s what was so funny. That’s what today is so great. You see guys say things and do things, and you don’t really get a chance to meet them. Then you come out here (to SEC Media Days), and it shows the public side of an athlete. You see them on the field – they look so vicious.
“He (Spurrier) plays so competitive, and then all of sudden you see him, he’s like a bear – a cuddly bear.”
Steve Spurrier, the cuddly bear?
Nevertheless, after a spring/summer of discontent between UGA and Florida fans, Tuesday was a positive step forward for the tumultuous relationship between the two archrivals. Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart even compared star quarterback Jake Fromm to … Tim Tebow.