1. Archive

Spurrier: Matthews is a little gun-shy

Published Oct. 12, 2005

Shane Matthews has been reluctant to say it, so Steve Spurrier said it for him Sunday.

Spurrier said some of his quarterback's poor play can be traced to a lack of confidence in the team's inexperienced offensive line.

"Obviously what has happened is Shane has been hit so many times right after he throws that he's beginning to hurry his throws," Spurrier said. "He's not giving receivers enough time on their routes, and his decisions have not been as good as in the past."

Spurrier hasn't discounted using backup Terry Dean, who has more mobility than Matthews, if the situation dictates.

"Shane's at an all-time low point," Spurrier said. "We've got to get the entire team back to the basic fundamentals and look back in the past and try to repeat those things that were successful.

"We need to run the ball a lot better and pass protect. Then, hopefully, Shane will start making better decisions."

It's over: Before Thursday's game, Spurrier said it was a must-win for Florida in the SEC race. With the 30-6 loss behind him, he didn't change his tune.

"Basically, it's very near impossible for us to catch Tennessee," Spurrier said. "Now, we want to win as many games as possible and then go to our bowl game."

No job is safe: Spurrier threw out an obvious warning to his players Sunday, saying he might make lineup changes this week and might look for players who aren't committed to winning.

"We have a few that it seems like losing doesn't hurt them that much," he said. "Once we identify those guys completely, they won't be wearing the orange and blue because that was a pathetic performance in Starkville."

Murphy's Law: Add one more to Spurrier's list of worries.

Through the season's opening weeks, Spurrier has had to contend with poor blocking, inconsistency on special teams and poor decisions by Matthews. Now, it seems Florida's defense is having trouble creating big plays.

Whenever the Gators' offense struggled in 1990 and '91, it usually could count on the defense to either shut out an opponent or come up with big turnovers to set up scoring opportunities.

That hasn't happened in losses to Mississippi State and Tennessee.

Through three games, UF has three sacks and four turnovers _ including zero interceptions. At this point last season, the Gators had created 10 turnovers.

Change of heart: Freshman tailback Tony Davis, who talked last week of transferring, will return to practice this week.

"Tony is back," Spurrier said. "Just had a little misunderstanding last week. It's not worth talking about publicly."

Blowouts: The best thing you can say about Florida's losses? At least they're not heartbreakers. When the Gators lose, they do it right. Of Florida's six losses since 1990, none have been closer than 11 points, and the average margin is 21.

Back on track: At least one important gain was made in the loss to Mississippi State: Kicker Bart Edmiston rediscovered his touch.

Edmiston, a freshman from Pensacola, hit field goals from 27 and 32 yards. Edmiston had missed his three previous attempts this season and was in danger of losing his job to walk-on Judd Davis.

Spurrier: "Bart should be ready to make a lot of field goals for us."