His nephew Pat Shurmur is the former head coach of the New York Giants ; he was the head coach of the Cleveland Browns from to and has served in other coaching positions with other NFL teams, including one game as interim head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. As a complement to football, Shurmur also played baseball at Albion, where he earned all-conference honors. The Cowboys won three consecutive WAC titles — , which included a Sugar Bowl appearance after the season. Following a 1—9 season in , Eaton resigned and Shurmur was promoted to head coach;   he had a 15—
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See the article in its original context from August 31, , Section A, Page 19 Buy Reprints View on timesmachine TimesMachine is an exclusive benefit for home delivery and digital subscribers. He was 67 and was found in May to have liver cancer that had spread. With his white hair and wire-rimmed glasses, Shurmur looked like a mild-mannered, retired grandfather.
But he ran, lifted weights and had huge energy, and his players liked him because they could joke with him. When it was time for business, they also liked him because they knew he would have something new to confuse the opposition. In with the Rams, when both outside linebackers were injured, he improvised a defense using one or two down linemen and filling in with ever-changing alignments of linebackers and defensive backs.
In with the Cardinals, when two linebackers were hurt, he created a Big Nickel defense, with five defensive backs close enough to the line of scrimmage to rush the quarterback or drop back. I wonder what happened to the just-right years. Soon after he reached the pros, Shurmur established himself as a defensive creator. His scouting reports and game plans were occasionally 75 pages long, but his philosophy was simple.
Our job is to help players respond instinctively, to recognize tendencies and pounce on them. We react to what the offense does. But I have found if we come up with something different, something a little more creative, something they have not had a chance to look at, then we get them responding to us.
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