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ESPN’s Brett McMurphy: Is Florida an SEC Darkhorse?

ESPN’s Brett McMurphy joins Jeff Thurn on Wednesday’s edition of Overtime. 

McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) is a college football insider for ESPN.

South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier called Alabama head coach Nick Saban a ‘recruiter for the ages.’ McMurphy reflects on Spurrier’s comments: 

“It’s Spurrier being Spurrier. He likes to get under the skin of people and the art of war, there’s a book written on that. He had when he was at the University of Florida, he lives by those principles and it’s basically get your opponent to worry about something else than the task at hand and so he takes little failed shots at Saban saying he’s the greatest recruiter in the history of college football and he’s had the top recruiting classes for the last four or five years so that means he should win the national championship every year and if he doesn’t, he must be underachieving. It’s Spurrier speaking his mind and I don’t think he dislikes Saban. It’s Spurrier being Spurrier. He also had some other good liners; he actually praised Gus Malzahn very sincerely and everyone knows won its national title in 2010 without him. Obviously, while praising Malzahn, he’s taking shots at Gene Chizik. It’s typical Spurrier, but it’s actually been the highlight, of a I wouldn’t say boring, but pretty subdued SEC Media Day’s after last year when you had all that was going on with Johnny Manziel and the Peyton Manning Passing Camp and A.J. McCarron was here. Obviously, Jadeveon Clowney and others. So, I think things will ramp up tomorrow when Saban and Alabama roll into town.”

McMurphy on the top storylines at SEC Media Day’s so far:

“Well, I think the big question people are always looking for, is who are the darkhorses in the league and I think Florida is a prime candidate. They were 4-8 last year and lost eight players and injuries. Still that’s no excuse to lose to Georgia Southern, but I think the addition of Kurt Roper from Duke as offensive coordinator should pay huge dividends for the Gators if they can stay healthy. Jeff Driskel, their quarterback is back, and (Will) Muschamp has said this is the most complete team he’s ever had. To put into perspective how offensively challenged Florida’s been, under Muschamp in the three years he’s been there, those three years combined, Florida has the nation’s fourth-best defense. Offensively, they only rank 112th out of 120 schools. So, if they can pretty big improvement on the offensive side, which they should, the defense will still be strong and I think Florida could make a huge jump. The problem is it’s not that easy when you are in the SEC. They open at Alabama in SEC play. They also end the year at Florida State, and in between there they have Georgia, South Carolina, LSU. You know maybe they can make a jump like Auburn did and go from worst to first.”

To hear more of McMurphy’s interview with Thurn, listen below:

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Thurn can be heard daily on ESPN 99.1 from 3 to 6 p.m.

**For story ideas, or comments, email Sam at tastadsam@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @samtastad.**

Michael Chang/Getty Images

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