The Spurrier Reaction

Former quarterback Rex Grossman says he expects to see the Old Ball Coach returning to the college game....

TAMPA – When Steve Spurrier shocked the college football world two years ago by announcing his resignation from Florida, he said he wasn't "burned out, stressed out or mentally fatigued."

Two years later, while the same statement may not hold up, those that know him best at his former school say his mental anguish won't last long.

"He'll be back," said Chicago Quarterback Rex Grossman, who was a Heisman Trophy runner-up in Spurrier's final season. "You can count on that."

Grossman, in Tampa for Thursday's Outback Bowl, said he expects the former coach to return to the college level instead of remaining in the NFL. Either way, the quarterback firmly believes Spurrier's offensive system can work on both levels.

"He just wasn't having any luck," Grossman said. "He felt like if he could score enough points in the NFL, he could at least make the playoffs and do some decent things. I don't know why it didn't go his way, but I know that offense can work in the NFL."

Grossman blamed defensive personnel problems for the difficult seasons. Whatever the reason, Spurrier's departure wasn't nearly as shocking to the Gator Nation this time as it was two years ago. As so many have learned since, he remains one of the game's most unpredictable personalities.

"I don't think Steve Spurrier is predictable," said defensive line coach Red Anderson, who was an assistant under Spurrier from 1990-94. "He never has been. He may go pro, or he may go back to college. That's a different situation than he's ever been confronted with. Who knows what your reaction will be under those circumstances?"

While players were off limits to the media after Tuesday's practice, other assistant coaches with ties to Spurrier said it was upsetting to see him struggle to win.

"I don't know what he'll do," said Florida tight ends coach Dwayne Dixon, who was on Spurrier's staff throughout his tenure. "[Struggling] isn't something you're used to seeing him do. He's used to having success. He's a competitor, so I'm not so sure that it's over."

Zook, on the other hand, refused to comment on rumors of his former employer's resignation. The Gators' coach was a defensive coordinator at Florida under Spurrier, before being demoted to special teams coach.

"I have plenty on my plate to deal with," Zook said. "He's the No. 1 Gator. He'll be fine. Don't worry about Coach."

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