Football

Western Carolina coach Mark Speir defends FCS teams

Western Carolina football coach Mark Speir took offense to ESPN analysts' comments Saturday morning about SEC teams playing FCS opponents this weekend. WCU played Alabama, losing 48-14, but Catamounts junior Troy Mitchell set a school record for total yardage for a season.

In a post-game interview, AL.com reports that Speir responded to Kirk Herbstreit's comments on College Gameday in which he said it was 'embarrassing' for the large programs to be facing smaller schools.

Speir never named Herbstreit, who was a former quarterback at Ohio State, but said, "A guy had a silver spoon in his mouth all his life, Ohio State, prima donna state quarterback talking about, 'It's an embarrassment,' " Speir told AL.com. "He ain't ever coached."

"Guys get an education and we battled our butts off, playing games like this," Speir said. "It sends people who wouldn't have an opportunity to go to college and have great memories. Then a guy like Troy sets a record. You tell me that ain't special. I'll get off my soapbox."

Mitchell threw for 221 yards and two touchdowns vs. Alabama on Saturday, and was the first Western Carolina player to pass the 3,000-yard mark. Western Carolina (7-5) scored a touchdown on the opening drive and trailed Alabama (10-1) just 17-14 early in the second quarter.

"I'm just proud of FCS football," Speir said. "I'm proud of our football team, I hope America doesn't listen to a guy who sits behind a mike that hasn't ever done it, with that silver spoon in his mouth, he never had probably a bloody nose or a callous like some of these guys."

The Tide can clinch a spot in the SEC championship game with a victory next weekend at home over No. 16 Auburn.

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