Back to school


Posted Dec 17, 2003


Although Steve Spurrier is the Redskins coach, the Bears will also feel his presence Sunday thanks to his influence on Rex Grossman.

Spurrier came out of Florida with the title of "offensive genius", but his reputation hasn’t equated to success in the NFL. Washington is 12-18 in nearly two years under Spurrier and has averaged just 18.8 points per game, a far cry from his attack at Florida.

However it’s Spurrier’s influence on Grossman that will be the interesting part of Sunday’s match-up between two teams that aren’t going to the playoffs.

"I think it's kind of a coincidence that he kind of helped me get here to this point and I'm going up against him my second start ever in the NFL," Grossman said of facing his former coach. "It's exciting."

While Spurrier doesn’t have any influence on the defensive side of the ball he still took the time to watch film on his former pupil.

"He was bouncing around like he usually does. He was excited to play, obviously, and that enthusiasm spreads all throughout the team," Spurrier said. "But he made some good throws and then he had a bunch of balls he had to throw away so his percentages weren't super. But other than that he had an excellent game."

While Spurrier is known for being a harsh critic of his quarterbacks, Grossman still acknowledges his influence in route to the NFL.

"I learned a lot from him, how to beat defenses, how to look off defenders," Grossman said. "Just everything a young quarterback can learn coming from high school where everything's pretty simple into an extremely complex, highly competitive college football league as the SEC is. He really got me ready for where I am now."

The relationship between Grossman and Spurrier at Florida has had it’s ups and down, but considering the numbers that the quarterback put up in the Florida system there is definitely a mutual respect.

A three-year starter at Florida, where he was second in the Heisman voting as a sophomore and left the school a year early to go into the draft. He started 31 of 35 games, completing 677 of 1,110 passes (61 percent) for 9,164 yards, 77 TDs and 36 interceptions during his career.

The dynamic duo might not have gotten together if not for a chance meeting during a summer recruiting trip. At the suggestion of his mother, Maureen, Grossman stopped by Gainesville following a visit to Florida State. Spurrier happened to be around and after showing one another their highlight reels something sparked.

"After we watched his tape I said shoot, we need to offer this young man (a scholarship)," Spurrier said. "So I sent him a letter and next thing I know he accepted it and away we went."

Injury Report
Desmond Clark (toe), Mike Gandy (shoulder), Mike Green (groin) and Keith Traylor (knee) did not practice Wednesday and are all listed as questionable for Sunday’s game vs. Washington. Chris Chandler, who is third on the depth chart at quarterback, is also questionable.

The bright news for the Bears is the fact that Chris Villarrial returned to practice and while he’s still on the injury report his status is probable, which is an upgrade from last week when he missed the Minnesota game because of a side injury.

If Gandy were unable to go again this week then Qasim Mitchell would get his second NFL start. Considering Mitchell had been a right tackle up until last Sunday he did an adequate job.

"I was really pleased with Qasim," said Coach Dick Jauron. "He’s got a long way to go, particular in technique work and those kinds of issues and recognition. But he’s got tools and he’s got a good demeanor for the position. Now it’ll be another test and it’ll just get harder for him every week really for a little while because he’s never lined up there and played in the NFL."


Related Stories
Going Deep
 -by BearReport.com  Dec 18, 2003
Catch-22
 -by BearReport.com  Dec 16, 2003
Teacher’s Pet
 -by BearReport.com  Dec 20, 2003

MAGAZINE COVERAGE
Subscribe today and get a full year of Bear Report Magazine with an annual Total Access Pass.
Sign Up Today!

Upgrade Now!
Free Email Newsletter
Don't miss any news or features from BearReport.com. Subscribe to our newsletter to have our newest articles emailed to you on a daily or weekly basis.
Click here for a list of all Team Newsletters.

Add Players to My HotList
Get free email alerts with news about your favorite players. Click name to add to My HotList.
QB Rex Grossman (profile)
[View My HotList]
Add Topics to My HotList
Get free email alerts with news about your favorite topics. Click link to add to My HotList.
Football > Bloomington HS South > Alumni
Football > Chicago
Football > Florida > Alumni
[View My HotList]