- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 16, 2002

Washington Redskins coach Steve Spurrier wants to be like Joe Gibbs same offense, same front office structure and same success.
In the team's largest news conference since Gibbs' March 1993 retirement, Spurrier pledged last night to mirror the former three-time Super Bowl winning coach's style with high-scoring teams much like he had in his 12 years at the University of Florida.
"I don't know if I can come close to what [Gibbs] did," Spurrier said. "Our styles are hopefully somewhat similar."
It was a return to Camelot. Spurrier talked of beating the Dallas Cowboys, winning a Super Bowl and reviving an offense that scored its second fewest points last season in 21 years.
The overriding theme was the front office's return to the Gibbs format. Unlike his predecessor, Marty Schottenheimer, who was fired Sunday after refusing to relinquish his general manager powers, Spurrier simply will coach. A new general manager will oversee personnel, and owner Dan Snyder will settle any disagreements much like late owner Jack Kent Cooke ruled over Gibbs and general managers Bobby Beathard and Charley Casserly.
"If there's ever a disagreement, Snyder makes the call," Spurrier said.
Spurrier said a strong recruiting pitch by Snyder last week convinced him to accept the five-year, $25 million deal after declining a smaller offer last year. Snyder offered Spurrier the challenge of discovering whether his college success could be duplicated in the NFL.
"Dan Snyder convinced me this is the best opportunity," Spurrier said. "The area, stadium and fans are all here to be successful. [Last year] didn't seem like the right time to leave."
Said Snyder: "Steve Spurrier is one of the finest coaches and people I've met. My expectations are like any fan's greatness."
Spurrier said he met some of players but conceded he didn't know too much about the roster. He prefers youth, especially at quarterback. Running back Stephen Davis still will be used heavily despite Spurrier's reputation for passing. Cornerback Champ Bailey may even get an occasional offensive play.
"We just have to go play," Spurrier said. "People think we just throw the ball all over the ballpark, but we run the ball, too."
Spurrier plans easier practices than Schottenheimer, which convinced defensive end Bruce Smith to return. Smith had decided to retire if Schottenheimer stayed.
"Some say you have to [practice] like a football game," Spurrier said, "but soldiers don't use live bullets when they're practicing."
Spurrier is assembling a staff with little NFL experience. Former Florida assistants Rick Hunley (defensive line), Jim Collins (linebackers), Lawson Holland (running backs) and Noah Brindise (assistant quarterbacks) are expected to join Spurrier, who also will be offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
Florida secondary coach John Hoke accepted an unspecified defensive assistant job with the Houston Texans instead of joining the Redskins.
Spurrier's son Steve Spurrier Jr. will coach the receivers after overseeing them at Oklahoma. Offensive line coach Kim Helton returned from a two-year absence from coaching after stints at the University of Houston and Houston Oilers. He was an assistant with Spurrier at Florida in 1978.
Schottenheimer's staff largely has been dismissed. Only Hue Jackson (running backs) and Mike Stock (special teams) remain at the moment.
The Redskins continued front office changes. Vice president of player personnel John Schneider and director of football operations Russ Ball were fired, leaving Washington without a personnel manager just six days before it has to name a five-player expansion list. A decision on which players head to NFL Europe also is pending.
Meanwhile, Schottenheimer will interview with the San Diego Chargers in coming days. Coincidentally, former Redskins coach Norv Turner also interviewed Monday after spending last year as San Diego's offensive coordinator. Chargers general manager John Butler is reportedly seeking a defensive-minded coach and also will interview New York Jets defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell.
Schottenheimer is Tampa Bay's fallback choice should an expected deal with Bill Parcells fail, according to NFL sources.

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