No place like home in Spurrier's book

On first day of camp, Redskins coach decides Carlisle isn't for him

July 23, 2002|By Warner Hessler | Warner Hessler,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

CARLISLE, Pa. - Steve Spurrier reported for his first day of training camp as head coach of the Washington Redskins yesterday and quickly announced he would rather be somewhere else.

Like back in Northern Virginia, coaching by day at Redskin Park and sleeping in his own bed at night. He also said he would like for his players to enjoy the benefits of practicing in familiar surroundings and enjoying home cooking at night.

"I don't understand the importance of getting away, to tell you the truth," said Spurrier, who came from a college atmosphere at which all preseason workouts were on campus.

"That's the way it's been done for a long time, though, and I'll be happy to do it this way this year."

When asked if he would ask owner Dan Snyder to end the five-year agreement with Dickinson College after just two years, Spurrier said: "There's a chance. This is my first time away, so we'll see how it works out. Maybe this is the way to go. Who knows? My experience is to stay at home and sleep in your home beds."

If Spurrier decides he wants to move training camp to the Washington area in 2003, a team executive said the head coach will get what he wants.

The Redskins ended a five-year association with Frostburg State University in 2000 and held a highly criticized training camp at Redskin Park that summer, one that was more carnival than camp.

Snyder charged fans $10 to park, $10 to watch practice and included such sideshows as the NFL Experience exhibit. Former coach Marty Schottenheimer moved camp back to Dickinson last summer.

Though they have a five-year deal to hold camp in Carlisle, team spokesman Karl Swanson said the Redskins can break the agreement if they make the request by mid-November.

On another front, Spurrier said he probably won't name a starting quarterback for the Sept. 8 regular-season opener against Arizona until after the final preseason game. But he did spell out the probable starting rotation during the preseason.

Sage Rosenfels, a rookie in 2001 and the only holdover at the quarterback position, will probably start the preseason opener Aug. 3 in Osaka, Japan, against San Francisco.

Free agent Shane Matthews is scheduled to start the second game, with free agent Danny Wuerffel starting the third game. If the three quarterbacks perform on a fairly equal basis during the summer, Spurrier said, Rosenfels would be the starter in the opener.

"I'm going to let all three rotate around," he said. "I don't have a guy who is No. 1. If they all pitch it around pretty close, it'll be Sage."

Spurrier refused to throw quarterback Patrick Ramsey, the team's first pick in the recent college draft, into the rotation. Ramsey and receiver Cliff Russell are the only players among the 10 draft choices who have not agreed to contracts.

"Those contract negotiations we leave to other people," Spurrier said, "but he would be way behind if he does not get here very quickly."

Spurrier said it was possible the Redskins could add a few veterans waived by other teams during the summer, especially on the offensive and defensive lines, but said he isn't looking for help right now.

"As a coach, they tell us these are your players; go coach them," he said.

Warner Hessler is a reporter for The Newport News (Va.) Daily Press, a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

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