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After much talk, college football training camps open this week

College football finally takes to the practice field after three weeks of 'talking season'

College football training camps open this week and, frankly, it’s about time somebody hit something besides the lunch buffet.

No other sport in the world (that I can think of) launches its campaign three weeks before it lifts a finger.

South Carolina Coach Steve Spurrier calls it “talking season.”

The Southeastern Conference started first (of course) on July 14 when it staged a four-day media marathon in Hoover, Ala.

Commissioner Mike Slive deserves kudos for managing to weave Eisenhower, Churchill, Mandela and (former LSU player) Booger MacFarland into his opening statement.

American Athletic Conference Commissioner Mike Aresco, at his league’s media day in Rhode Island, quoted Abraham Lincoln and then reached even deeper into the well of inspiration.

“I’m reminded of something St. Francis of Assisi said,” Aresco said.

Reminded by whom?

Louisiana State Coach Les Miles always loosens the crowd by talking about his summer vacation with the kids.

“Manny is my eldest son,” Miles said. “He’s pitching and playing football.”

This year’s “summer vacation” led Miles to Austin, where he has a daughter attending the University of Texas.

He complained because there was no beach.

“It was miserable. I hated it,” Miles joked. “But it was great fun.”

Spurrier uses summer to work out his stand-up material. At the SEC's media day he noted Alabama Coach Nick Saban was the best “recruiter” in America.

Some might suggest Saban can coach, too.

Last weekend Spurrier poked the Big Ten when he was asked about a new league rule (starting in 2016) requiring all SEC teams to play at least one non-conference game against the Pac 12, ACC, Big 12 or Big Ten.

Spurrier said he’d rather schedule a game against East Carolina of the AAC than one against a lower-tier Big Ten school.

He was punking you, Purdue.

For what it’s worth: Spurrier, since arriving at South Carolina in 2005, has played sub-division Wofford (twice), South Carolina State, Furman and Coastal Carolina.

Coaches Bob Stoops and Nick Saban continued their sniping over the meaning of Oklahoma’s upset win over Alabama in last year’s Sugar Bowl. Saban suggested his team wasn’t prepared for what they considered a consolation game after coming so close to a third straight national title.

Stoops thought Alabama played hard right up to the time it started losing.

In other news not involving a playbook:

--Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby ripped NCAA enforcement and said that “cheating pays,” a comment deemed “inaccurate” by NCAA president Mark Emmert.

--Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston apologized for all the bad things he has done … but not for the things he might still do.

--Former USC Coach Lane Kiffin gave what will be his only news conference this season as Alabama’s new offensive coordinator. Had Kiffin been so boring in Los Angeles he might still be coaching here.

--Washington State Coach Mike Leach read a book about John Wooden and wrote a book on “Geronimo.”

Leach said, “I hope my players see the world a little like Geronimo as far as conditioning.”

Reporter: He never took a knee?

Leach: “No, he was not a take-a-knee guy.”

At least Arizona Coach Rich Rodriguez didn’t even pretend he wanted to be at the Pac-12 media day.

“That would be lying,” he said. “Truth is I’d rather still be on vacation.”

He wasn’t the only one.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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