TWO BITS: Gators cannot remain one-dimensional; did Florida make Spurrier?

By Adam Silverstein
October 8, 2009

1 » No. 1 Florida Gators have very much been a one-dimensional team so far this season, earning their keep with a running game that is part power, part finesse. Led by running back Jeff Demps, the Gators are averaging 307.5 rushing yards per game (leading the nation) but have only put up 124 passing yards, on average, in their first two SEC games. In 2008, Florida had a nearly perfect balance in this area, averaging 229.8 and 212.6 yards, respectively. The legitimate reason for this disparity? Injury and illness. Wide receiver Deonte Thompson has missed the last two games while rehabbing a sore hamstring while both WR Riley Cooper and TE Aaron Hernandez played through the Tennessee Volunteers game with the flu. As the schedule gets tougher and the Gators invade Tiger Stadium to face No. 4 LSU Tigers Saturday night, the offense must even out in order to keep the Bayou Bengals on their heels.

2 » South Carolina Gamecocks head coach Steve Spurrier is often credited with bringing the University of Florida football program into national prominence. As a coach, he earned the Florida Gators their first National Championship, second Heisman Trophy winner in quarterback Danny Wuerffel, 10 Associated Press Top 10 finishes and winning a whopping 86% of his SEC games in his UF career. He also never won fewer than nine games in a season while coaching the Orange & Blue. Yet while all that is true, Rick Bozich of the Louisville Courier-Journal brings up the question: Was it Florida that made Spurrier and not the other way around?

6 Comments

  1. sean @srz54 says:

    come on now, you’re a Gators blog and don’t know that SOS actually won the first Heisman trophy and not Danny?

  2. Simply a typo – just repeated the word “first.” It’s late. Good catch!

  3. Daniel M. says:

    Florida and Spurrier made each other. His offense was very hard for the rest of the league to catch up to. The league evolved thanks largely in part to SOS. Defenses are much faster now. He was an awesome Gator. Just ask any fan who sat through a Doug Dickey coached game.

    Ultimately I think Florida made him as his coaching style wouldn’t have the same success if he were to return to Florida.

  4. Sarasota 'cane says:

    It was symbiotic in my opinion. Spurrier proved at Duke that he could coach, and UF was a school that could attract top recruits. It certainly didn’t hurt that Steve was a legacy with a Heisman Trophy from UF!

    The only knock I’ve ever heard about Spurrier (besides his abbrasive indifference to everyone around him) was that he didn’t pursue recruits the way most coaches do today. Once he made an offer to a recruit, he was done. If a kid waivered, he told the boosters the kid wasn’t UF material. I know a lot of boosters in my area felt that a lot of great kid’s got away from UF because of this attitude.

    There seems to be a small but vocal movement in UF circles lately questioning Spurrier’s contributions to the school. It probably has a lot to do with the fact that he is currently coaching a rival, and would love nothing more than to beat his old school. Meyer and Co. will have the records when his tenure ends, but there should be no question that Spurrier led the way.

    The location of all the Florida schools has more to do with our states success than any other factor in my opinion. It’s not so much the “X’s and O’s”, as it is the “Jimmys and Joe’s”, as I’ve heard it so eloquently stated! The fact that USF could easily play for the title this year after only 13 years is a prime example of that. The Great State of Florida, and to a lesser extent the entire South East region, have become football factory’s that attract the best kids from all over the country.

  5. Good posts by both of you. While that is true, Sarasota, it is not really people in UF circles that are questioning/knocking him. This article, for example, was written by a newspaper in Kentucky. Florida fans revere Spurrier now and always will. The only thing that will affect his legacy is Urban Meyer. You can’t have two Paternos or two Bowdens or two Bryants at one school. There is one guy, and Meyer has the chance to be that guy because he has already had more success in a shorter time than Spurrier did while here.

  6. Sarasota 'cane says:

    Spurrier is a Gator, Meyer is a Gator coach! Meyer will always be trying to equal Spurrier’s mystique, it cannot be surpassed. Look at Howard Schnellenberger at UM. UM is HIS baby, and it always will be. Everyone else is just a steward of what Schnelly created!

    Again, Meyer is easier to like, but Spurrier’s contributions cannot be measured. He is the greatest Gator of all time. Everyone else is simply building on his legacy.

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