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News Conference

Spurrier News Conference Transcript

A Tribune wire report

Published: Aug 21, 2002

Washington Redskins coach Steve Spurrier addresses the media and discusses Saturday night's game against the Bucs:

On how many SEC titles he won at the University of Florida...

``Well, we won seven but only got credit for six, so however you want to look at it. So, when people ask me how many we won? I say, `We won seven.' I guess they said we won seven. It's the truth, isn't it? We won seven. We didn't get credit for one, but we won seven.''

On returning to the state of Florida to play the Buccaneers:

``We're 3-0, so the pressure is off as far as exhibition games [goes]. We're just trying to play well and trying to win, obviously. We're going to try and play well and try to play better, and I'm sure the Bucs have the same attitude. There are a lot of guys trying to make the team, and certainly for me, I hope we play well. Tampa [Raymond James Stadium] seems like Tampa Stadium, because it's still right next to the old Tampa Stadium and Hillsborough Community College is right across the street. I was reminiscing yesterday about walking across Dale Mabry to the ballgames when we coached the [Tampa Bay] Bandits and seeing the fans in the parking lot, and sometimes they would give us a cold drink after the game on the way across the street at night. It's a little different setting than that. I'm looking forward to the game and seeing a lot of old pals down there.

On his head coaching experience with the USFL's Tampa Bay Bandits:

``It was certainly my first head coaching job with the Tampa Bay Bandits and I will forever be grateful to John Bassett for hiring an assistant coach at Duke University to be his head coach. It surprised a lot of people and certainly a lot of people did not give us much of a chance. I think we had the lowest paid players and the lowest paid coaches. We weren't considered to be much of a threat, but we had a good team. We had a lot of players that were just waiting for opportunities to play. [WR] Eric Truvillion, for an example, [WR] Willie Gillespie, [LB] Kelly Kirchbaum and [NT] Fred Nordgren, it was some good fun times there. I think our record at home was very good. I think we were 8-1 one year, 7-2 or 6-3 the other year. So playing in Tampa Stadium for the Bandits crowd was a lot of fun and we were successful doing that.''

On his last game with the Bandits:

``The last game was out in Oakland, wasn't it? I think we got beat in the first round of the playoffs. It was a high scoring game. The Oakland Invaders beat us out there. Are you talking about in Tampa? I think we beat Birmingham, didn't we? Or did we get beat in the last one? I think we struggled at the end of that '85 season. We were 9-3 after the first 12 and managed to go 10-8 and we lost five of the last six [games]. We had some key injuries and things just went bad. It was the worst losing streak and one of the worst that I have ever been in, but we still made the playoffs with a 10-8 record. ``

On how his Redskins quarterbacks and wide receivers have played:

``At some point I have to stick up for my players here, my receivers and quarterbacks and the offensive linemen and that they are no good and the offense isn't worth a crap. At some point, it wears on you and you have to bark back a little bit, but that's history, that's history. These guys have done pretty damn well Derrius Thompson, Chris Doering,

Darnerien McCants and I'm sort of proud of how these guys have played. So, I am going take up for them and I know the critics are always going to be there, which is a part of the game and I probably should not respond to them, but it just got to the point the other day where I felt like if somebody is going to criticize us, it is not going to be after we scored 35 points and thrown for 400 yards and had 30 first downs. I mean, if you really clobber us, which is going to happen. I know we are going to get clobbered and I know we are not going to drive 80 and 90 yards to score often. So anyway, I will try and not respond to all the critics. I usually don't, but at some point you have to stick up for your players.''

On defending his players:

``I'm going to stick up for these players. They have done pretty well the quarterbacks and receivers. And even though they have done well, nobody wants to give them any credit, so I will and I'm proud of the way they have played thus far. It has thus far and it doesn't mean we are going to be successful down the season, but it is thus far.''

On the quarterback rotation for Saturday's game:

Danny [Wuerffel] and Shane [Matthews] are scheduled to play most of it. Danny, the first half and maybe Shane the second half, and we will see from there. And even, Sage [Rosenfels] and even Patrick Ramsey. He's starting to know a little bit of what is going on. They may play also.''

On the attention Spurrier and his team have received during the preseason:

``Well, obviously we have scored a lot of points and I don't know. If you want to avoid attention, don't score a lot of points, so we try to score a lot of points. We have been fortunate, some of the plays, the jump balls. Shane [Matthews] looked like he was throwing it away the other night and Chris Doering leaped in the back of the end zone and out jumped their little defensive back, but everything has not been the way you draw it up, but we have made some plays, somehow or another. Anyway, if you score a lot of points, they are going to talk about you good or bad. Some talk good and some talk bad. They think we are just trying to score a whole bunch in exhibition [games], but that is just the way we play. You guys have watched us play, we try and score, and I'm not apologizing for trying to score throughout the game and we don't call timeout at the end and chuck it in the end zone. What was sort of interesting the other night was, we got ahead 35-34 and got the ball back and we are trying to run the clock out. And even one of our own Redskin people thought we may chuck the ball in the back of our end zone with a one point lead. We don't do those kinds of things, and we managed to run out the clock. Anyway, that is just the way we play.''

On if ever had thoughts of becoming the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

``Not really, back in my coaching days at Florida, I envisioned one day that I would be coaching there, or would hope to be the coach there, if I coached there in the NFL. When the time came after talking with Dan Synder, the opportunity and challenge of coaching the Washington Redskins was something that really excited me and once he talked to me I basically accepted that night. And the rest is history, and here I am.''

On leaving Florida for Washington D.C.:

``Again, it was a different challenge, something new, something different. It was an opportunity to go outside of Florida, a chance [to coach] in a big media market, the big stadium -- Fed Ex Field, the largest stadium in the NFL. They can cram 86,000 or 87,000 people in there. These people have a passion up here for football. They basically sell all their tickets and this is a challenge of getting out of Florida and seeing if our team and our coaching could be successful with a different challenge.''

On the offense he is implementing in Washington:

``Some of the time it works and some of the time it doesn't work. It's no different than it is in college. When we have good pass protection, and you have a good play called against the defense, and your players execute, you have a chance to be successful. The NFL is much, much tougher. You know, you get to practice football all day. The players are quicker, a little stronger and a little faster. They disguise their defenses extremely well and the Bucs do a super job of disguising theirs. So you can't come up and audible a lot like we did in college. You have to just call the play that you hope is pretty good against two or three different defenses and hope to try and teach the quarterbacks where to throw it, and do this, that or the other and go from there. So, that is one of the biggest differences.''

On if the NFL has changed:

``Oh certainly, all of football has changed. Football is much more of a chess game. Defensive coaches disguise in what they are doing very well. The offensive guys try to adjust to what the defenses are doing. It is a lot more thinking than just, we know they are going to be in this or that. You have to know where your guy is now a days before you can block him, so it's a lot more thinking involved in the game.''

On coaching in the USFL:

``As most of you know, the NFL people have never considered the USFL very much. Even though a lot of our coaches and our players went on to be successful in the NFL. There was a feeling that [the USFL] wasn't big-time pro football. But that was a long time ago. Since I've coached in college 15 years since then, a lot of that has been forgotten.''

On recruiting DT Warren Sapp:

``We had a former Orlando sportswriter that went on the trip with us. He wanted to sit out in the car. We went on in and talked to Warren [sapp] and then I think he [sportswriter] went in there and talked to him later. Sure, we wanted Warren. He was going to be our next tight end. But he ended up going to Miami. He was a tight end in high school. In 1990, Kirk Kirkpatrick was our leading receiver. He sort of envisioned doing that. Somehow or another it just didn't work out.''

On Sapp's opinion of Spurrier:

``I appreciate that [sapp saying that Spurrier is a players' coach]. I've seen Warren two or three times. I think at Tom McEwen's house at his little preseason get-togethers on Sunday mornings.''

On the Buccaneer defense:

``I've been watching those Buc guys for 12 years and I've been watching Warren [sapp] for seven years. I'm watching a little more closely this week but fortunately, we don't have to play these guys in the regular season. We're hoping to move the ball and score a little bit on them [the Bucs' defense]. They didn't give up any last week and Miami got 10, so there average now is five. We know it's going to be a struggle to get some points against that defense.''

On Gruden's offense:

``I never really watched his [offense] a whole lot. Obviously, it has been very successful over the years. He probably has more movement, guys going in motion and doing more things than we've done. Although, we're trying to get a little bit more movement and a little more formations, because you have all day to coach them in the NFL. Whereas in college, if we could just get our guys set before the ball was snapped we were pretty happy.''

On meeting Gruden:

``Seems like I met him at the combine. I shook hands with him. It was very brief.''

On Marvin Lewis:

``You know, he wanted that job [Tampa Bay] but it just didn't work out. But it is all history now. You don't look back, you just move ahead. Marvin hasn't been really happy with how our defense played last week or even the week before. We got a lot of publicity during the offseason, about how great our defense was going to be. Even though the first guys have played fairly well, we certainly haven't been dominating. Hopefully, as a team we can play a little bit better defensively and play better offensively, too.''

On field goals and mentality:

``All I can say is we try for touchdowns. If we don't make a touchdown, we try and kick a field goal. We kicked three against the Carolina Panthers. We've been fortunate to score our last drive the last two games. At Carolina, we tied it up, against Pittsburgh we went ahead. I've really been proud of our offense, and our defense, late in the game. Our defense has made a stop to win the game, both times. Our offense drove 80 yards basically to win the game. We're going to try and not kick a lot of field goals but sometimes it works out that way.''

On Jacquez Green:

``Jacquez is healthy now. He and Reidel (Anthony), all the receivers are healthy. He's scheduled to play quite a bit.''

On coaching environment:

``I think I've been energized every year. But it [the NFL] is a different environment, in a new league. Sometimes in life we all need a new challenge, do something different. I read where a lot of people say if you coach more than 10 years at one place, it's too long because your routine becomes very similar - maybe gets boring to a lot of people. 10-12 years is plenty at any one place. Unless you're a coach who really allows the assistants to do everything because I'm involved a little more in the actual coaching.''

On matching up with Jon Gruden:

``I never look at it as me against them. It's our team vs. their team. Probably, the team that plays the best will win. The team that plays without turnovers or many turnovers, without crucial mistakes, the players who make a lot of big plays. Occasionally, a good call by a coach against a particular defense. But your players have to execute it. Sometimes you make a bad call and a guy jumps up, catches it in front of your guy. It's still the team. It's still the players out there playing the game. And as coaches, we're just trying to give them something to be successful.''

On his critics:

``Certainly anyone who has not been successful in the NFL, the critics are out there. Just like probably the critics were there when I first came to Florida, because I had not been successful in the SEC. So that's human nature. That's just the way life is and I accept it. I'm not mad with anybody and I know I'm going to get criticized all through the season. I mean, we won the game the other night 35-34 and our local media boys, you'd thought we'd lost the game. A few of them, they were just talking about how sorry we were the first half. They didn't even mention the five touchdowns and 400 yards. So, I mean, it's tough. Sometimes even when you win, it's not pretty enough for some people. But, that's okay. We just accept it and we don't let them bother us and we just move on.''

On Jon Gruden's work ethic compared to his:

``I was here over 12 hours yesterday and I got home and told my wife, I said, `Man, I hope nobody hears about this. They're going to accuse me of working too hard.' Jon is not a sleeper from what I understand. He's a guy that can live on three or four hours a night and I'm more of, probably, a seven hour a night guy all coaches have to do what they are comfortable doing. Yesterday, after practice I asked Marvin, I said, `This is new for me, I don't have all the answers. Do we run after practice?' That's what we did in college all the time, we ran wind sprints, which we did in training camp. He said, `No, coach, our guys, they've done the scout team work and they've done our stuff, they've been running all day and that's plenty.' I said, okay. So we kept the quarterbacks and receivers out a little after practice and ran a few little routes that we hadn't hit on that much. We stayed a little extra after practice, and I'm sure we'll do that all through the season. After practice is over is when you get your individual time with your players that you think need a little extra work and so forth. But, there's plenty of time and the media boys were here waiting to get a few comments. And I said `Don't tell them we're staying after practice working on stuff. We don't want people to think we're working too hard.' I sort of think it's funny. So I sort of let people believe we don't work real hard. They like believing that. That's okay. And, you guys keep writing so, half the country believes it when it's really not very true at all.''

On Florida players at Washington:

``We don't look at players on where they come from. We're going to keep the best 53, no matter where they played college ball. At the end of this week, we got to make some cuts and at the end of next week another bunch of cuts. We're just looking at all of our players and not really worried about where they are from.''

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There's a zillion things you can talk about with this thread, and it's a great effort to transcribe it all, but MAN does this guy give the media access. You';d think for all the persnicketyness he's a mums the word kind of guy. SS really explains what he's thinking, he's not stoic and doesn't shove that strong and silent tuff guy ish down their throats. I think he'll win a lot of bored writers over pretty quickly.

I love how he sticks up for the guys. I'm sure he'll have their backs all season long.


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