COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Football coaches and players have been in a love/hate relationship with the media ever since they pumped up the first pigskin and started tossing it around.
It's a part of the job. Some players like it, some can't stand it -- but sooner or later, if you make big plays or you just simply give great sound bites, you're going to have to face the press.
Some players like Stephen Garcia have been media darlings since setting foot on campus. He says being under a microscope has been in some ways, beneficial, like preparing him for the hype of his first start against LSU.
"All the stuff that happened to me, it definitely prepared me for Saturday's game, and now it's just a game," says Garcia.
Positive press can sometimes boost a players morale, but when the less than flattering stories make headlines, news travels quick. Captain Munnerlyn learned that the hard way when missing a weight-lifting session cost him a start against ole miss.
"I was kind of down because I had my mom calling me and stuff, and I can't make my moms mad!" said Munnerlyn.
Nobody has to explain to Garcia the importance of staying straight after his off-the-field troubles.
"I'm definitely learning how to deal with it more maturely, especially after last year," says Garcia.
"Talking to the media is a part of the game," says Head Coach Steve Spurrier.
Spurrier knows firsthand about being an athlete in the spotlight -- he won the Heisman at Florida.
"I'm sure I said some stupid things at times," says Spurrier.
To make sure his players aren't inundated, Spurrier approves all player interviews himself, and the players have guidelines as to how to answer questions. Spurrier says humility is key when dealing with the press.
"As long as you don't think you're hot stuff, it won't affect you," says Spurrier.
It's a lesson learned by Stephen Garcia, who says he was happy the coaching change at Clemson stole some of his spotlight.
"It's a lot better for me, I think," he said.
And as for Captain, "I don't look at the negative or positive, I just try to play football," he says.
And with as many as 450 reporters covering the gamecocks at one time, it would be hard to keep up with it anyway.
And the Clemson program is learning all about media scrutiny this week.
Dozens of reporters and photographers descended on tiger town Monday.
First they covered the resignation announcement of football coach Tommy Bowden, and they were still on campus Monday evening when interim coach Dabo Swinney had his first press conference.
The Tigers will definitely be under a very large microscope with the media watching and critiquing every move the rest of the season.
Reported by Drew Stewart