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Friday, December 13, 2002
Spurrier brings the "Fun 'N Gun" to the NFL
By Jack Arute
Special to ABC Sports Online
With Steve Spurrier headed to the Washington Redskins, the burning question that begs for an answer is will the "Fun 'N Gun" thrive in the pros?
Granted, Spurrier's brand of high-powered aerial offense revolutionized the college game, but NFL pundits are split about its overall effectiveness on Sundays. The fulcrum to Steve's Gator success was the talent-laden Sunshine State. College recruiters agree that the two most lucrative states for talent are Florida and Texas. While in Gainesville, Steve was able to cull through the best recruits and put together his team with the precision of an engineer and the quirkiness of a mad scientist.
In the NFL, the salary cap will make the process far more difficult. Spurrier has said that all he wants to do is coach. His new boss Daniel Snyder has made a 180-degree reversal with Spurrier's hiring. Instead of Marty Schottenheimer's "total control" approach, Spurrier's selection means that the Redskins also need a general manager.
What about the current roster of Redskins players? You can be sure that Tony Banks has already faxed his résumé to the other 31 NFL clubs because of the looming "Spurrier Ball" game plan that will take center stage at FedEx Field next season.
Instead of deciding to transfer to Miami, Brock Berlin should have declared for the NFL draft (if he was eligible). Berlin's talents -- though only good enough to back up Rex Grossman -- are superior to Banks' when placed in Spurrier's offense. That's not a knock on Banks. His style just doesn't fit Steve's QB job description.
The next couple of days will tell us a lot about Spurrier's potential. His choice of a defensive coordinator is pivotal. Will he come from the college ranks or from the NFL? Who will get the title of offensive coordinator? It will only be a title because we all know that the "O" side of the playbook will be the exclusive property of Steve.
Fans who expect immediate results will likely be disappointed. There are too many issues that the NFL brings to the equation that are different than the college game.
The one question that will not be answered quickly is whether Spurrier's approach to football can thrive in the world of speed that exists in the NFL. In college, most teams have a handful of "blue chippers" and then an effective supporting cast of good players. In the NFL, good players practice a lot but seldom play. The NFL is the pinnacle -- the crème de la crème. The bottom of the NFL's personnel pyramid starts with "Blue Chippers" and rises from there. All-Pros are the ultimate layer.
One might think that Spurrier will not have the patience to navigate through many of the changes and challenges that face him. After all, we have all seen his tempestuous side on the sidelines. But those of you who fall for those antics miss the point.
Spurrier expects total commitment from his players. His wrath is precipitated by effort that falls below the 110 percent line. He accepts nothing less than a player's absolute best. By moving to the NFL, he gets a talent pool that makes its living playing the game. It's all about football, not sociology, calculus or American Lit. The only grades that matter are those given after review of game tape.
It's going to be a difficult road for "Steve Sun Visor". But that is exactly why Spurrier decided to leave the comforts of The Swamp. He needs a challenge. He has a burning desire to answer the question that we all think about: Is Steve Spurrier the best football coach -- collegiate or pro -- in the country?
From what I have seen, we will discover that the answer is a resounding yes.
|Steve Spurrier went 122-27-1 in his 12 seasons at Florida.||