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Insiders disagree on Spurrier's NFL prospects

Jan. 13
Contrary to popular belief, Steve Spurrier was not on the NFL's "Most Wanted" coaches' list, but Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder -- who plunked down $5 million per year to land the ex-Florida coach -- coveted him.

One respected NFL man believes Snyder will get his money's worth, despite skepticism in some circles about Spurrier's prospects in the pro game.

No question, I think he'll be a success ... he has a brilliant offensive mind and that's what it's all about.
Ex-Packers GM Ron Wolf on Steve Spurrier

"No question, I think he'll be a success," said Ron Wolf, the former Green Bay Packers general manager. "The reason? Because he has a brilliant offensive mind and that's what it's all about."

Wolf is not bothered by Spurrier's track record of never having developed a star quarterback in the NFL. Several NFL coaches who have worked with Spurrier's quarterbacks complain that he has been stubborn about specific throwing mechanics that "lock up" the passing arm.

"In the NFL, the quarterback better be able to throw the ball with some RPMs, and what he teaches won't cut it," said one coach who has a reputation for improving quarterback play. "His offensive schemes are cutting edge, especially for the college game, no question about it. He's been ahead of the scale. But here's another thing: There's no room for creativity from the quarterback in his offense, and this is a league where the quarterback better be able to improvise at times."

Wolf shrugged off the criticism, saying Spurrier is "a brilliant tactician -- he will figure it out."

Wolf had been interested in Spurrier when he fired Ray Rhodes after the 1999 season. As he anticipated, Spurrier declined. But Wolf has no doubt that Spurrier will not have trouble managing older, professional players, as some of his critics believe.

"Players play for him, that's one of the things you notice, and I don't think that will change at all in this league," said Wolf. "They enjoy playing for the guy because he makes it fun. The game isn't such a chore. I mean, it's a job -- but with Steve, it's not a job, if you get what I mean."

However, Spurrier's skeptics think that the rigors of the pro game will conflict with the coach's relatively light approach in terms of workload. Spurrier himself conceded at his press conference last week that he was not going to work the lengthy hours that so many NFL coaches put in.

"I read where (Saints coach) Jim Haslett gets to work at 4:30 in the morning, and it doesn't seem to do any good," cracked Spurrier.

Wolf said that Spurrier's image as a light worker is a part of the Spurrier devil-may-care facade. "He may be on the golf course a lot, yes, but I've been in that (Florida) facility watching tape at 6-7-8-9 at night, and guess who's slipping back in there to draw up plays when everybody's gone?" said Wolf. "Steve has an air about him that the great ones have. He has a confidence, a swagger, or whatever you want to call it. But he puts his money where is mouth is."

Now Spurrier has plenty of money to stuff in that plentiful mouth.

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