A Conversation with Shane

Posted Mar 22, 2004

One of the greatest quarterbacks to ever come out of the University of Florida, Shane Matthews, was on hand at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Saturday to watch the Gators spring practice.

Shane Matthews said that this was the first practice he’s been to in a long time. And, the first time he’s been to practice with Head Coach Ron Zook at the helm for the Gators.

Shane watching the Gators practice at the Swamp this past Saturday.

Along with his four-year old son Luke, the current Cincinnati Bengals QB just wanted to check out what the Gators had to offer next year.

“I think Coach Zook has done a pretty good job. This is a big year for him. They need to have some success, and, hopefully contend for the Southeastern Conference Title,” said Matthews. “But, the bottom line is winning football games here at Florida, and, they have to find a way to do that this year.”

Matthews was asked about Gator quarterback Chris Leak. He said he’s as talented as any quarterback that’s ever played here.

“He’s still young and learning. The more he plays the better he’s going to get,” said Matthews, who led the Gators to the inaugural SEC Championship game in 1991.

“I’d like to see them put him (Leak) under center more. I think they put him in the shotgun way too much. But, he’s extremely talented and is a heck of a player.”

Entering his 12th season in the NFL, he said that he probably only has a couple of more years left after this one.

When he’s through with playing football, he said he doesn’t know what he’ll do. “I’ve been very fortunate to play as long as I have.”

With stints for several NFL teams, Matthews feels very comfortable with Cincinnati and second year Bengals Head Coach Marvin Lewis.

“We had a tremendous year last season. We only missed the playoffs by one game. Lewis is by far one of the most impressive coaches that I’ve ever played for,” said Matthews. “He’s very organized and, has a plan. Hopefully, he’ll continue to build-up the program there, and we’ll have a good season in 2004.”

When Steve Spurrier became the head coach of Washington Redskins in 2002, Matthews was invited to play for his former Gator coach. But, things didn’t work out for Matthews in D.C., and, well, uhhhh --- we al know what happened to Spurrier.

Matthews said he hadn’t spoken with Spurrier since the QB left the nation’s capitol city a year and a half ago.

And, as far as Spurrier’s coaching future goes, Mathews said, “I personally don’t think he’ll ever coach again.”

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