Jump to content
Washington Football Team Logo

CO: Spurrier adjusts measuring stick


Recommended Posts

Spurrier adjusts measuring stick

Redskins coach puts himself among NFL majority at 4-5



After receiving a five-year, $25 million contract from the Redskins, Steve Spurrier has gone 11-14 in Washington.

ASHBURN, Va. - Steve Spurrier has heard the rumors.

• News flash! Spurrier secretly plays golf in Chapel Hill with North Carolina athletics director Dick Baddour to discuss the Tar Heels coaching job.

• Watch out ACC! Spurrier spotted in South Carolina talking to Clemson officials about coaching the Tigers.

Both "reports," of course, are false.

Neither college has an opening, and Spurrier is far too busy trying to turn around the Washington Redskins' lagging fortunes to make time for job interviews and golf.

But, at a time when he's being hounded by skeptics, he finds a certain encouragement in the faulty speculation.

"I guess when you're 4-5 and they're rumoring somebody wants you, that's a good feeling," Spurrier said. "That's a positive."

Coaching in the NFL has been more troublesome than he anticipated after an ultra-successful college career at Duke and Florida. Instead of competing for championships, he's struggling to get above .500.

After receiving a five-year, $25 million contract from Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, Spurrier has compiled an 11-14 record in Washington. He was 7-9 last season, started 3-1 this year, then lost four straight before Sunday's victory against Seattle.

He sat on a lofty perch at Florida, a successful, proud coach. These days, he measures success more modestly.

"I looked in the paper the other day and there are 19 teams that are 4-5 or worse," he said. "So there's only 13 better than us. So we're sort of right in there."

One of the 13 is Carolina (7-2), which hosts the Redskins 1 p.m. Sunday at Ericsson Stadium.

Washington enters the game boosted by last weekend's come-from-behind victory against Seattle. Though Spurrier surrendered play-calling duties to offensive coordinator Hue Jackson, his signature was clear in the decisive moments of the 27-20 win.

The Redskins twice converted risky 4th-and-short situations on their winning drive, including a double-pass trick play for the winning touchdown.

"It was neat to make a fourth down," said Spurrier. "I guess most NFL coaches don't do that."

Winning boldly was what many expected Spurrier to do when he brought his Fun 'N Gun offense to the NFL. Instead, he's been humbled by the struggles.

Two weeks ago, Fox TV announcers Chris Collinsworth and Troy Aikman were relentless in their criticism of Spurrier during coverage of the Redskins' 21-14 loss at Dallas.

Spurrier said he wasn't offended by the railing.

"I've had enough good things said about me," he said. "I don't need to worry about what the announcers say now. That's their job, to criticize when a team looks bad.

"I'm beyond getting mad. That's what they want you to do -- get mad. So they can't make me mad."

Spurrier said when he took the job he looked forward to finding out if his offensive system would work in the NFL. Asked if he's still confident it will, he paused before responding: "I hope so. I expect it to. We'll just have to wait and see."

He acknowledges his quarterbacks can't change plays at the line of scrimmage nearly as well in the NFL as they did at Florida. That's just one of the adjustments he's had to make in a league that has bigger, stronger, faster players than most he faced in college.

Some of the players say it's obvious to them that their coach is still adjusting to the pro game.

"I think coach is learning all the time," said left tackle Chris Samuels. "This is only his second year. We can do things better as players, and I think the coaches can do things better as coaches."

There has been speculation Spurrier won't be back next season, that he'll either resign or be fired, but he insists he plans to coach at least three years of his five-year contract.

As for his coaching future beyond that, Spurrier is leaving his options open.

After a practice this week, he stood at the doorway to the team's weight room and pondered two questions: Is this your last coaching stop? Is there a chance you'll coach college football again?

"I don't think you ever say never," he said. "You don't know what's going to happen in the future. But I hope to be here. I hope we get it going."


Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...