Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Spurrier Finally Rid of Frustrating Johnson

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Spurrier Finally Rid of Frustrating Johnson

Article excerpt

ORLANDO -- The words came minutes apart and coming from whence they came, there was irony. At last Doug Johnson and Steve Spurrier agreed on something.

Spurrier, speaking after a 37-34 loss to Michigan State in front of 62,011 at the Florida Citrus Bowl, spoke more of next season than the one completed, and more of what could have been than what was. His theme regarding yesterday was unthinkable coming from the University of Florida's football coach. Unthinkable until recently, anyway.

At least the Gators competed.

Minutes later, Johnson -- the quarterback who put a frustrating finale on a frustrating career -- spoke words that would have sounded sad and strange around UF only last season.

"They know they didn't walk all over us," Johnson said.

Didn't walk all over us? Happy to compete?

These are the mighty, mighty Gators?

This year, yes, which made yesterday a perfect end to a most imperfect season. The Gators played hard. They did not embarrass themselves as they did last month against Alabama. Johnson nearly played well enough to finish his career in partial glory. Instead, he played just poorly enough for UF to lose three consecutive games for the first time under Spurrier.

"It just seems like it's never good enough," Johnson said. "It's never good enough."

That defined his game; his career, too. Afterward, he sat surrounded by reporters, head down, and was asked how he would like to be remembered.

He sat silent a while, shaking his head, staring at the can of Gatorade in his hand.

"Usually, a quarterback is remembered for his wins, so . . . so, I don't know," he said finally. "I know I wasn't the most successful quarterback here, but I did the best I could.

"I don't know. I guess that's all I can say."

Spurrier afterward lauded Johnson's career, but he had to. The reality is Spurrier and Johnson never got along, and Spurrier spent much of the past three seasons baffled by Johnson.

Johnson's predecessor, Danny Wuerffel, is remembered for a Heisman Trophy, and a national title. …

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