Spurrier delivers a unique style to league
Thursday, March 21, 2002
ORLANDO, Fla. -- One day last week, Steve Spurrier left his office in suburban Washington at 3 p.m., played nine holes of golf, was back at work by 5 and home by 7.
That makes the Redskins' new coach a rarity in the NFL even before he's coached a game there.
"Sometimes," he said of the many coaches who work 16-hour days 10 months a year, "you can stay in your office too long."
It was time for the Spurrier show Wednesday morning -- the NFC coaches' breakfast back in central Florida, where he became a college coaching superstar.
The meal didn't start particularly well.
Spurrier sat down at a table of veteran NFL reporters. But the chair reserved for him was facing directly into the morning sun and Spurrier wasn't wearing his trademark visor.
"You guys mind if I move to the other side?" he asked. The switch was made and the show began.
This wasn't vintage Spurrier, according to those who knew him during the 12 years he coached at the University of Florida. He was, he acknowledged, a little sleepy, so he left the feisty Spurrier behind, even resisting a couple of opportunities to take shots at his old college antagonist, Florida State's Bobby Bowden;
"I'm getting along with all of these guys," he said of the other NFL coaches. "All of them have to be at the top of their profession to get these jobs. Maybe there'll be a little rancor the week we play them but other than that, we're all friends."
Most of the questions were the same as those he's heard since he signed his five-year, $25 million deal with the Redskins in January:
"That'll be just like Florida," Spurrier said. "That's Marvin's team. All I do with defensive players is pat 'em on the back when they make a good play."
-- Does he think he can get more out of the ex-Florida players such as quarterback Danny Wuerffel and wide receivers Reidel Anthony and Jacquez Green, who have had undistinguished NFL careers elsewhere?
"Hey, we got 'em cheap," Spurrier said. "Whoever's the best at those positions will play regardless of where they come from."
-- What does he think of the Redskins? "We need guards, maybe defensive linemen." Quarterback? "All I know is that we have a minicamp next week and we'll have three quarterbacks there: Danny Wuerffel, Dameyune Craig and ... uh ... uh ... Sage? ... Rosenfels".
--Will his offense work in the NFL, where defenses are faster and quicker than in college and receivers rarely get as wide open as his Florida receivers did? "The NFL is a defensive league," he said. "But yes, it'll work."
-- How will he adjust from college, where one loss can ruin a season, to a league where even the best teams lose four or five games a year? "I hate losing and I'll feel it," he said. "But look at the good side. If you lose one game, you're not out of it."
-- What would he do with a team whose best offensive player is a running back, Stephen Davis, when he prefers a passing game? That perception is wrong, Spurrier said.
"Errict Rhett, who played for me, holds the Southeastern Conference record for carries in a career and the only two games we lost last season were when Earnest Graham, our best running back, was hurt," he said.
-- Was Dallas his new Florida State? "More like Georgia," he replied, citing a team he beat in 11 of 12 games. "Florida State wasn't in our conference. Georgia was."
In fact, Washington has been Dallas' Georgia -- the Cowboys have beaten the Redskins nine straight times. Spurrier didn't mention that.
"He brings a little life to our league," Dallas coach Dave Campo said. "He'll do just fine."