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Dallas Morning News - Spurrier


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I woke up this morning in heaven grabbing the local newspaper and seeing the Skins on the front page of the sports section! This is a nice article on Spurrier by a local Dallas beat writer.

http://www.dallasnews.com/sports/columnists/rgosselin/stories/073102dnspogosselin.8bcb4.html

CARLISLE, Pa. – The Fun 'N Gun offense was wildly successful for Steve Spurrier in college, winning games, SEC titles and even a national championship at the University of Florida in the 1990s.

Now Spurrier has moved on to the NFL as the head coach of the Washington Redskins. Can the Fun 'N Gun be as successful in the pros as it was on campus? That's an easy one. Unequivocally, yes. It already has been.

Tucked away in Spurrier's resume is a three-year stint as head coach of the USFL Tampa Bay Bandits from 1983-85. It was his first try at coaching – and he proved way too successful at it to ever give it up.

OK, the USFL wasn't the NFL. But it was professional football. Spurrier averaged almost 12 victories per season and took Tampa Bay to the playoffs twice.

His Bandits slapped 42 points on a USFL defense that featured Reggie White and held another team quarterbacked by Steve Young to 14 points. The Bandits also beat USFL teams that featured the passing of Jim Kelly, the running of Herschel Walker and the tackling of Sam Mills.

No, it wasn't the NFL. But the Bandits were the most entertaining – and best – team in Tampa during the mid-1980s. The NFL Buccaneers won a combined 10 games over those same three seasons.

"I'd like to think we'd have had a chance against them," Spurrier mused.

Spurrier threw the ball all over the yard in Tampa. He also threw it all over the yard at Duke in the 1980s and, against all odds, won there. Then, he threw it all over the yard at Florida and won even bigger there. Add it all up, and his coaching record stands at 177-59-2 with 14 postseason appearances in 18 years.

The root of Spurrier's football genius, obviously, is his grasp of offense. He won a Heisman Trophy at Florida and played quarterback in the NFL. Everywhere he has been, on and off the field, his teams have passed for a ton of yards and scored a ton of points.

Spurrier's first edition of the Fun 'N Gun led the USFL in passing offense in 1983, and his quarterback, John Reaves, posted 4,000-yard passing seasons in 1984 and 1985. Danny Wuerffel set NCAA passing records for Spurrier at Florida and won a Heisman Trophy. Rex Grossman nearly won another Heisman under Spurrier last season.

But the root of Spurrier's coaching success is his ability to out-think the competition. He's a master tactician. He can craft game plans with the best of them.

"He understands defense," Redskins defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis said. "He has a plan for everything offensively. He knows when a defense does this, he needs to do that. When a defense does that, he needs to do this."

Lewis saw that in the team's first intrasquad scrimmage last weekend. The talent and money on the 2002 Redskins is on the defensive side of the ball. Washington lines up stars at end (Bruce Smith), tackle (Dan Wilkinson) linebacker (Jeremiah Trotter, LaVar Arrington and Jessie Armstead) and cornerback (Champ Bailey, Fred Smoot and Darrell Green).

But the offense moved the ball up and down the field against Washington's defense that day with a journeyman cast that included a host of former Gators: quarterbacks Shane Matthews and Wuerffel and wide receivers Reidel Anthony and Chris Doering.

No matter what the odds are against him, Spurrier finds a way to survive his competition.

"He's flexible and willing to adapt," said Wuerffel, who is with his fifth NFL team in six seasons. "He'll figure out a way to beat whatever's beating him."

Just like he did at Tampa. Just like he did at Duke, where he won an ACC title in 1989. Just like he did at Florida, where he won six SEC titles and that national championship in 1996. Football is football. The level of competition may change, but the game remains the same.

"We expect to do well," Spurrier says. "If we don't, we'll be disappointed."

And surprised. Steve Spurrier wins. That's why the Redskins hired him.

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This is the most positive spin on the Redskins offensive performance we've seen and it's coming from the Dallas beat writer. WOW. I love how Spurrier kept stats for the scrimmage and has been throwing up Matthews and his 15 for 20 day and snickering at our beat reporters for not paying close enough attention during the scrimmage.

Any success Spurrier can have against our defense in practice is a bonus. Not only is our defense familiar with our players and our plays, but it is very talented. If our offense can overcome the advantages the defense has in talent and familiarity, it is going to be a surprise to teams that haven't seen us.

I remain convinced we'll be a strong team early in the year before teams start to figure out how to game plan around somewhat limited talent at the QB spot.

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beauty is in the eye of the beholder. :)

the same day, two different watchers post two completely different impressions of what went on during the practice sessions.

dropped balls in the clear are obvious to everyone, but the mental aspects of WHERE to throw the ball, how the receiver catches the ball and where the defensive back contests the throw are all more subtle things.

and has been mentioned by others, things change when there is somebody on the opposing side waiting to rip your head off. :)

you can't substitute for live action. you won't know until a player sees game minutes whether he is really a keeper.

some guys are fast or throw long and look great on a practice field.

Tony Banks and Jeff George are examples of those types of players.

unfortunately neither one has the intelligence or mental toughness to handle producing under pressure.

In George's case he can't make it through a single season without a major blowup or mental meltdown.

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"Lewis saw that in the team's first intrasquad scrimmage last weekend. The talent and money on the 2002 Redskins is on the defensive side of the ball. Washington lines up stars at end (Bruce Smith), tackle (Dan Wilkinson) linebacker (Jeremiah Trotter, LaVar Arrington and Jessie Armstead) and cornerback (Champ Bailey, Fred Smoot and Darrell Green).

But the offense moved the ball up and down the field against Washington's defense that day with a journeyman cast that included a host of former Gators: quarterbacks Shane Matthews and Wuerffel and wide receivers Reidel Anthony and Chris Doering."

*

Hmm. I bet next time they run a live scrimmage, Lewis asks SS to tip the plays beforehand so his defense can experience some success. You know, that's how we do things here ...

And geez ... what's up with the defense? :)

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That is a tough concept for alot of fans to pick up on is how a coach will call plays.

Spurrier is a master at this and he doesn't do the same thing twice.

I see alot of plays this year that will make us all go "huh?". But in the end, he'll do that play again and it will score.

He finds a QB who thinks alot like he does and wants to get the ball into the open area of a defense. He watches during his plays how a defense reacts and sees what responsiblities each player on D has. Then he starts to pick it apart. Forces teams to adjust and start to committ players to stoping certain plays.

The greatest thing about Spurrier's offense is all of his plays are set up to change one player at a time. If he shows up with a 4 WR set, each having a certain route to run. Also the HB will have a certain pattern to run. He shows up with this set, calls a few plays and sees how a defense is set up to defend it. Then he starts to pick it apart. At any given time, it will score. Maybe on a play, he sees how a defense rolls a safety to a certain zone on the field to stop the slot. He calls the same basic play except for the slot WR route. The safety sees the exact same indicator and follows his read. BOOM. Green goes for 6 catching the ball right where the safety was supposed to be.

Mind you, that is alot easier said then done. But the man is going to scare the hell out of alot of people.

The thing I am ready for is to see what he does with Davis. I think he has the possiblity to go for more yards in a season then he has done before.

We'll see.

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Originally posted by UtahRedskins

Spurrier is a master at this and he doesn't do the same thing twice.

He finds a QB who thinks alot like he does and wants to get the ball into the open area of a defense. He watches during his plays how a defense reacts and sees what responsiblities each player on D has. Then he starts to pick it apart. Forces teams to adjust and start to committ players to stoping certain plays.

Actually he's kind of funny that way. I've often seen him run the same exact play twice in a row. If we missed a receiver that was open on some route - he'd run the exact same pattern again figuring the QB wouldn't miss it twice in a row. He was almost always right.

Also a lot of times his offense can predicted by a formation. I've seen the announcers call the play we were going to run whenwe lined up on the line of scrimmage. However, because the execution was perfect, it was still successful.

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