Spurrier recalls NFL flop

New South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier has complete control of the team this year, and he's happy about that. The Gamecock skipper hints that control was an issue during his ill-fated stint with the NFL's Washington Redskins.

Spurrier's comments came in response to a question at SEC Media Days regarding the differences between college ball and pro ball.

"The biggest difference is at college, the head coach is the head coach of the team," Spurrier replied. "He runs the team. He's in control. He has authority over his team."

Without specifically mentioning Daniel Snyder by name, Spurrier suggested the Redskins owner did a little too much meddling during the ol' ball coach's stint in D.C. This was difficult to accept, since he never encountered that type of meddling from an athletics director or a school president during his college stints.

"Every college team that I know of the head coach is not influenced by the AD and the president," Spurrier said. "They don't come tell him what to do unless he's cheating or losing too much; that's when you have issues.

"I know we're not going to cheat and I hope we're not going to lose too much. So, hopefully, I'm not going to see the president and the AD talking football with me."

Another difference between Spurrier's days at the University of Florida and his days with the Redskins was ability level. He inherited mediocre talent in Washington, in stark contrast to the talent he coached while overseeing the Gators.

"Obviously, I was lucky to have a lot of great teams in Florida," he said, adding that his NFL struggles gave him "a much greater appreciation that all coaches work their tails off to try to give their players the best chance to win, and sometimes it doesn't work out."

While the talent Spurrier has inherited in Columbia isn't up to what he had in Gainesville, he isn't complaining. South Carolina's holdovers are a surprisingly fast group.

"As we all know, team speed is a big, big part of football," he said. "We actually had 24 or 25 players that ran 4.5 or better (in the 40-yard dash) at South Carolina at the end of winter conditioning when we did our testing. So, hopefully we can play close to how we did there (Gainesville). We're going to try."

There's more to football than raw speed, however, and it's highly unlikely the 2005 Gamecocks can approach the overall skill level Spurrier's better Gator teams had. Thus, the coach may have to scrap the pass-oriented offensive system he used so effectively at Florida.

"If we don't have quite the players to do it, then obviously we have to be a little more conservative," he conceded. "We may be a little bit more of a running team."


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