Spurrier's Conference Call

What are your feelings about the upcoming game and how the Giants stand, you stand, and where you want to go?

Well, they are one game better than us, that is for sure. We are probably just trying to win a game and play some players who haven't played much, like some of our rookie guys and second year guys. The Giants are still alive, but it is still a ballgame and we are going to try desperately to win. We are going to try and play our best players, but also maybe play a few of the younger guys a little bit more in the game.

Does that include the quarterback?

Well, Danny Wuerffel is going to start and we will have Patrick Ramsey as our second guy. Maybe Ladell Betts will get in there at running back some, and Darnerian McCants at wide receiver a little bit more and some things like that.

Are you at the point where you are trying to find what you really have at quarterback?

A little bit. Certainly we have to play Patrick Ramsey a full game and we tentatively have the Houston game set for him. So that is where we are there. But again, we are going to play our players and we need to win a game. Winning is beats losing as we all know. The Giants are a very good team. They have lost a couple of heartbreakers in a row. So they have had probably as much bad fortune or bad luck as a lot of teams or most teams have had.

What were your expectations of what this year would be like?

Certainly I thought we would be a little bit better. I think every coach has to be optimistic that he has a good enough team to win more than he loses. I thought we had a chance to do that but it hasn't worked out. I wish we had a set quarterback. It is always helpful when you have a quarterback that is best on the team and he plays every week. But we simply were not in that situation. So we are scrambling around. We could've won some that we lost and we could've lost some maybe that we won. So we're trying out see where we are right now and so hopefully when the off-season gets here we will try to see how we can really help our team.

Do you wish that you had stuck with Ramsey throughout the year and tried to develop him?

No, he was really struggling after those New Orleans and Green Bay games. He needed some relief, as they say. I think it would have hurt his confidence to continue struggling the way he was. So, maybe in a week or so he will be ready to go out there and play a pretty good game.

Is that because he missed camp and didn't have that great a feel of the offense and if so where is it at now?

Hopefully it is better than it was back when he played. But again, I don't know if missing camp had a lot to do with that. Who knows? He is a rookie quarterback and for most of them it is their second or third year before they start playing. We think he has a lot of potential, we think he has a chance to be a really good one, and only time will tell.

When you took over and were in training camp did you think that you had a team that could make the playoffs?

Certainly I thought that Danny Wuerffel and Shane Matthews were two quarterbacks that were good enough to get us there. At times they played very well, and at times so-so maybe. Well anyways, it just hasn't worked out I'll put it that way. I don't want to start criticizing this area of the team or that area of the team, we just haven't performed extremely well and I guess you could say that we haven't coached very well because we are all in this thing together.

Have you surprised yourself with your capacity to deal with ups-and-downs or did you think that you would be able to do it?

It still takes me a few days to deal with these losses and one of our assistant coaches said, 'Coach, you haven't let that Dallas game get out of your system yet?' and I said, 'No, I haven't.' It is going to take me a little while to get that one out of my system. A few plays here and there. We had a ten point lead in the third quarter and let the whole thing slip away. But anyways, it happened and what has happened is history and we can't get it back. I'll just try to learn, like all of our team, I will just try to learn maybe what I should have done differently and hopefully the players will say, 'I wish I had done this,' or whatever and try to be more competitive next time we play those guys. That is all you can do, is try to learn from your mistakes and move on.

What do you tell the players at the close of this season to keep them focused and to keep their heads in it?

Well, to tell you the truth I tell them what probably all coaches tell them, 'We are going to play 16 games the very best we can and when it is all over we will see how we did.' Just keep on keepin' on and there are ups-and-downs in the NFL as we all know because so many of the teams are so close. Hopefully we can keep our competitive spirit going. That is what you have to fight through. Because when you are out of the playoffs and you are sort of just playing them out, sometimes human nature says to let up. So we are trying to fight through that, we are trying to find guys that are going to bust their tails, to play hard and play the game and try to get us a victory this week.

Would you make evaluations about guys not playing hard?

Certainly, we do that all of the time anyways. We have been doing that from the first game on. All coaches do that, sure.

Can you talk about the how the relationship with the owner has gone?

We have a wonderful relationship and he understands where we are need to do in the future. But I have had a wonderful relationship with him and he is an owner that likes to be involved somewhat and that is fine with me. Joe Mendes, our Vice-President of Football Operations, is an excellent NFL guy that is very knowledgeable and we have a wonderful working relationship there also.

Re: Defense giving up.

Well certainly I don't want to get into that. The winners have a right to do the talking and as the losers we just have to take it right now, until we play them again. I guess he can say that until we beat them. You'll have to make your own evaluations of what happened to our guys but we didn't perform very well on offense or defense in the second half. It wasn't just the defensive guys. Offense pooped out also.

Can you see yourself in a scenario where you would have one guys start three straight years?

If a team was winning I could. If it was a losing record I cannot see how I could unless clearly he was heads and shoulders above your next quarterback, then you would stay with your first guy. I can only assume that is the position that they are in there. He is their quarterback and away they go. I don't know what Jim would do if they were out of the playoff picture, if they would play Jesse or not. That would be up to him.

While trying to get guys like Betts at running back playing time, will you still be able to give Stephen Davis 20 plus carries?

Certainly that would be hard to do if we were going to play Ladell Betts and Kenny Watson in there some. So we'll see how all of that goes. Stephen has carried it a whole bunch this year and if we are going to look to these younger guys maybe there is a time to do it in the next four games.

Are your veteran quarterbacks ready to be regular starters in the league?

That would be hard for me to answer right now. They have played well at times. They are not really mobile or scrambling types, although Danny Wuerffel can run out there occasionally. They have played pretty well and we will have to address that quarterback situation when the season is over.


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