Can college coaches find NFL success?

By Travis Brown
STAR STAFF
tbrown@starhq.com

   With the football season rapidly approaching, the pre-season bug is starting to bite football fans around the country. As NFL training camps are hitting full stride, the speculation and hype is already beginning.
   This year the NFL will have a new golden boy in Washington as Tennessee nemesis Steve Spurrier will be heading up a revamped Redskins team that is hungry for some playoff success.
   With a host of off-season maneuvering the boys from D.C. are hoping that the fun and gun will be enough to bring home some hardware in Washington.
   However, its going to be tougher than it looks for the coaching genius, because discipline in Washington is going to be a far cry from the tight ship that Spurrier sailed in Florida.
   Steve Spurrier was an offensive mastermind and was a prototypical college coach because he ruled with an iron hand. His prestige amongst the college ranks gave him an inside track on recruiting, and he had an entire college to back him.
   In the nation's capital however things will be very different. Pro players over the last decade have learned to ignore their coaches as money becomes a larger factor in field decisions. Spurrier had the power to control a youngster's football destiny while in college, now a player will just hold out, or ask to be traded and be done with it.
   The best example is former Celtic coach Rick Pitino. Pitino was one of the top three coaches in the college world, and his perennial powers at UK made him known throughout the basketball world. However when he journeyed to Boston he was met with disappointment. After a few mediocere seasons in Bean-Town the former Wildcat skipper was back in Kentuckty and coaching (At Louiville).
   In Florida, the former Science Hill star had power. In Washington it will be interesting to see if he will retain that coaching power. Managment in the NFL has a bad habit of checking a coaches authority by mandating certian personnel moves.
   Spurrier is also acustom to having a talented group of backups to fill in the gaps when the starters went down, in D.C. is not the case. It will also be intriguing to see how much of an influence Steve will have on new aquisitions.
   Spurrier is renown for his unique blend of speed and quickness at skill positions, the professional ranks will be a different animal, concerning what types of players will be available.
   Last year the Redskins had lots of emphasis on the coaching position as Head Coach Marty Shottenhimer came under fire early and often from sources close to the team.
   This year look for the scrutiny to continue as Stevie Football will once again be under the microscope if the Redskins show
   The NFL has been somewhat kind to college prodigies, Jimmie Johnson, Barry Switzer, Bobby Ross, and Chuck Fairbanks had reasonably successful transitions to the next level, but the loosers outnumber the success stories by a good margin.
   Florida football will look strikingly different this year as well, with a new administration coming on board the fun and gun personnel of the Spurrier Era, will be integrated into a new system under head coach Ron Zook.
   One thing is for certain the season will be very interesting in both the NFL and the SEC for all those affiliated with new coaching staffs.