Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 16, 2002
ASHBURN, Va. -- Steve Spurrier still will wear the visor. He still will yell at players, even though they're older. He still is going to run the Fun 'n' Gun offense, and he'll keep running up the score when he has a chance.
On most everything else, Spurrier pleaded ignorance Tuesday on his first full day in the NFL.
"I need to learn a lot," said Spurrier, who joined the Redskins with a record five-year, $25-million contract.
"I need to learn who all the players are, and the organizational part of it. The playbook? I've got a playbook. We've got plays we can run up the middle all day or we can scatter out and throw it. We got plenty of plays. That won't be a problem. Learning about the NFL is something I'm looking forward to."
The former Florida coach was his usual colorful, comical and candid self during a 40-minute news conference Tuesday at Redskin Park. He spoke of the tedium he felt after 12 years of coaching the Gators, his desire to emulate former Redskins coach Joe Gibbs, and his policy of having practices that are less physical -- a point so well taken that defensive end Bruce Smith declared on the spot that he'll return for another season.
"He's a coach that believes you should burn it on the game field instead of the practice field," said the 38-year-old Smith, who said he was considering retirement had Marty Schottenheimer returned.
And, in direct contrast to Schottenheimer's introductory news conference 12 months ago, Spurrier made it clear he doesn't want to run the whole operation. A general manager will be hired in the next couple of weeks, and owner Dan Snyder will have the last word.
Snyder gave Schottenheimer that authority a year ago, and it was Snyder's desire to regain that power -- along with Spurrier's sudden availability -- that led to Schottenheimer's dismissal Sunday night.
Before going to Florida, he turned Duke into an instant winner -- a rarity at a school that's nearly all basketball. He also was an assistant at Duke in the early 1980s.
"Someone asked if I could survive Dan Snyder," Spurrier said. "I said I survived Duke twice."
Spurrier's contract surpasses the previous league high of $4-million a year Mike Holmgren receives as Seattle's coach and general manager. Asked about his salary, Spurrier said simply it was what Snyder offered.
"The size of my contract's been too big for about the last 10 years anyway," Spurrier said.
Spurrier said the visor, which he tugs and tugs on the sideline, will be worn "when it's sunny" and he doesn't play golf during the season. Asked whether he can berate NFL players the same way he did so infamously in college, he said: "I've got to yell at everybody a little bit."
The Redskins roster left behind by Schottenheimer features a run-based offense, nothing close to what Spurrier ran in Florida. He indicated he would be flexible -- somewhat.
"Everybody thinks all he does is throw the ball all over the ballpark," Spurrier said. "We do throw it all over the ballpark. We also run the ball. Stephen Davis, we're going to run the ball."
Spurrier didn't say outright that he will run up the score, but he indicated he would trying to get the ball in the end zone no matter how big the lead.
"Our teams will try to score as much as they can," he said.
Spurrier abruptly resigned from Florida on Jan. 4. He was 122-27-1 in 12 seasons with the Gators, winning six SEC titles and one national championship.
Asked why he decided to try the NFL this year, Spurrier made a surprising admission about his last season at Florida.
"This year, it seemed like all of our seasons started running together," he said. "Everything was the same. It seems like we were 9-1 going into this game, win or lose, blah, blah, blah -- win nine or 10 or sometimes a little bit more."
Spurrier said he'll probably bring "five or six" assistants from his Florida staff and retain "two or three" from Schottenheimer's staff. He said he wants a defensive coordinator with NFL experience, something vital because Spurrier doesn't mess much with defense.
Spurrier made one near-guarantee. The Redskins have lost nine straight to the archrival Cowboys, a fact that infuriates Snyder perhaps the most.
"The first game ball I'm going to give him is when we play the Dallas Cowboys," Spurrier said.
Spurrier set one other goal when he talked about Gibbs, who won three Super Bowls in Washington before retiring after the 1992 season.
"I hope when my time is finished here, my departure will be similar to Joe Gibbs'," Spurrier said. "Not many coaches walk out on their own terms."
If he does, he'll be the first coach to do so under Snyder.