Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Spurrier Constrained by Offense

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Spurrier Constrained by Offense

Article excerpt

GAINESVILLE -- I can't believe what I just saw. Is that really

Steve Spurrier wearing the white visor on the Florida

sideline or have the Gators replaced him with Pat Dye?

This is not the ruthless 'ball coach that UF fans have

come to love and others love to loathe. When Spurrier gets

somebody down 21 points, especially in his own house, he doesn't

throw the stick shift into lower gear. This is a guy who always,

ALWAYS goes for the jugular.

Which is why yesterday's outbreak of conservatism in the second

half against Auburn was so mind-boggling.

"I think he felt once we got that lead, if we could just

control the ball and play field position, we could win," said

wide receiver Travis McGriff, who caught one touchdown pass and

ran for another TD.

Rest assured, Florida's 24-3 victory over Auburn was never in

doubt.

That's what made the Spurrier strategy after halftime so

perplexing. It really didn't matter how many times quarterback

Doug Johnson -- erratic as he can be -- dropped back to pass.

Florida could have taken all the risks it wanted because the

quarterback-challenged, tailback-challenged, receiver-challenged

Tigers weren't coming back from a 21-point hole under any

circumstances.

The Gators attempted just seven passes in the second half and

accumulated a measly 79 total yards. Most of the 85,557

spectators were so annoyed, they actually booed the coach who

has brought unprecedented glory to their school.

"As head coach, my job is to win games, not run up offensive

stats," said Spurrier.

Can you believe those words are coming from the man who has

been vociferously booed on opposing SEC fields for throwing the

ball with games well in hand in the fourth quarter? This is the

coach who, three years ago, had Eric Kresser throw a touchdown

pass to McGriff to finish off a 52-17 win at Georgia, reasoning

that no opponent had broken the 50-point barrier at Sanford

Stadium.

Now Spurrier is standing at the postgame podium and opining

that offensive numbers "are for losers and assistant coaches. …

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