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December 06, 2001

Outtakes with Steve Spurrier

Dan Patrick put on the pads with Steve Spurrier

DP: When you see yourself on tape during a game, do you recognize that person?
SS: Well, I admit the last few years I have occasionally lost it a little bit too much. But I really think our quarterbacks are going to try to follow the plan a little bit better this year.
DP: So you're blaming them. Nice.
SS: No, it's just that when mistakes happen because of mental errors it really upsets me. But I'm trying to be more balanced and even-tempered.

DP: Who were your sports heroes growing up?
SS: Of course, Bart Starr. Willie Mays -- I liked the New York Giants in baseball. Basketball -- I loved watching the Celtics, especially Bill Russell and Bob Cousy.

DP: What's the biggest difference between your college football experience and the guys you coach today?
SS: When I played in the '60s the Southeastern Conference was all white. It's just a much better game since the black athlete has been allowed to play. It's a quicker game, and there's just more talent on the field.
DP: Were you aware at the time that blacks weren't playing? Was it something you talked about?
SS: I wasn't aware really until we went to some of the All-Star games. Then I met guys like Gene Washington, Bubba Smith, Clint Jones. I ran around with those guys and it was great. But we didn't talk about it. That's just the way it was.

DP: Do fat cats suggest plays to you?
SS: No politicians, but friends and strangers send in plays all the time. I always write them back and say we may try your play, just to be polite. One guy wrote me and said we need to get the band to play Swamp Thing during the game -- you know, to the tune of Wild Thing. Maybe that would provide some inspiration for our guys.

DP: What would God say about running up the score?
SS: To me, when you've got your backup players in and you're way ahead, you just keep playing until the game goes out. I certainly have never worried about anybody scoring too much on us.
DP: I didn't think God was looking down at the Gators. You were getting defensive there, weren't you?
SS: No. But how come football is the only sport where that term is used?

DP: What's more likely to happen, Spurrier to the NFL or Spurrier to the Tennessee Volunteers?
SS: Neither. When I got to Florida I thought, well, 10 years and then the NFL. But I'll tell you, I just thoroughly enjoy living in Gainesville. I've got a little beach place close by, and I play a lot of good golf courses. My life is just too good right now.

This article appears in the August 9 issue of ESPN The Magazine.

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