Florida


1966 Gators
(Authentic Reproduction)

 

 

     

 
 
If Steve Spurrier was not there for his senior season of glory, "Silent" Larry Smith, a soph back out of Tampa would have been everyone's season highlight favorite, leading the SEC in rushing with 742 yards and adding twenty-three receptions to his impressive overall yardage totals. Smith was in fact, "total", the total package who could and would block, run, throw, or catch. However, All American Steve Spurrier was back for his final campaign and he made it a dandy. Leading what Head Coach Ray Graves called "My best team, all around", Spurrier had the rushing of Smith and Harmon Wages to augment his pin-point passing to Richard Trapp. The team ripped off seven straight wins, including the still-controversial 22-19 tilt against Florida State where FSU's Lane Fenner's disputed catch remains a much debated topic in the Sunshine State. Spurrier had a rare bad day against Georgia, throwing three INT's in six passes, falling 27-10 to the Bulldogs. Miami upset them 21-16 in the year's final game as Ted Hendricks controlled the field, but 9-2 got them to the Orange Bowl where Spurrier finished a Heisman Trophy year with a 27-12 victory over Georgia Tech. Graves had been offered, and declined the head position at Rice and no doubt was, at the conclusion of '66, glad that he had remained in Gainesville. Graves had the team play in a white helmet with one-inch orange center stripe that had half-inch blue flanking stripes and he had altered the block "F" logo, now in blue with orange border trim. Blue one-and-a-half-inch numerals were placed at the rear of the helmet for player identification.        
 
SPOTLIGHT ON STEVE SPURRIER
 
Steven Orr Spurrier was the son of Reverend Graham Spurrier and coincidentally was born in Florida. When his congregational assignment was moved from Miami Beach to Johnson City, Tennessee when Steve was twelve, the family insured that their son was involved constantly with athletics. Steve was a natural at everything he tried. He never pitched a losing game for Science Hill High School and led them to two straight State Championships.
He was All State in basketball and twice took his team to the Regional Finals. He was a pass/run QB with maturity beyond his years and could have gone anywhere but he knew that the University Of Tennessee was the one school he would not attend. General Bob Neyland's Single Wing was still alive and well in Knoxville, directed by Neyland protege Bowden Wyatt and Spurrier wasn't going to be limited on the gridiron. Impressed that one could play golf in March, and with assurances that he could play both football and baseball, Florida got the nod. Three years of varsity football later, "Super Steve's" thirty-one game college totals were staggering: 392 completions in 692 attempts for 4848 yards, and 37 touchdowns; 442 rushing yards; a punting average of 40.3 yards and field goals when needed. He was a two-time All American, the 1966 Heisman Trophy winner, and an absolutely fearless leader of his squad. Needing a 38-yard last minute field goal against Auburn, Spurrier, who had not yet kicked during the '66 season, calmly looked to the sidelines, pointed to his chest to let Graves know he would handle it, and to no one's surprise, booted the winning kick in a big 30-27 victory. He left Florida with SEC records for pass attempts, completions, and yards, posting a 23-9-1 record and taking Florida to two bowl games. He enjoyed a ten-year NFL career, nine with the Forty-Niners and the final year closer to home with the Bucs, serving primarily as a back-up and part-time starter, and punter. Spurrier has perhaps made a bigger splash as the successful head coach at his alma mater, with an innovative and wide-open passing offense. He recently returned from a brief NFL coaching stint to successfully guide South Carolina back onto the path of success as its head coach. A member of the College Football Hall Of Fame, Spurrier is also famous as college coaching's most avid golfer.