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Coughlin has energy to rebuild Jaguars


A few minutes in the company of Tom Coughlin will convince you he has no interest of coaching somewhere else, and that his energy for what has to be done in Jacksonville is stronger than ever.

Is he afraid of what the salary cap may do to his team? Yes.

Looking for a way to get out? Not a chance.

Coughlin is as committed as ever to being the coach of the Jaguars, and his energy for what has to be done in the way of rebuilding this team is reminiscent of the way he stalked the hallways at what was then Jacksonville Municipal Stadium in 1995 and '96.

In an interview yesterday with, Coughlin was asked if he still has the same energy he had in the first two years of the Jaguars' existence.

"Always; even more, now, after this season," Coughlin said. "Not only did it greatly disappoint me, but it riled up my competitiveness, in terms of I don't like to be in the position I'm in. I certainly hope I'm surrounded by people who feel the same way. It certainly helps you focus. I'll say that. You won't have any problem focusing."

Three weeks after his team concluded its first losing year since its inaugural season, there was still an edge in Coughlin's voice as he spoke in review of the 2000 season. You would expect a coach to want to distance himself from a 7-9 season, but Coughlin was just as easy to engage in conversation about his team's failures as he was in October.

"Third and 19; Stop and think about that," Coughlin said, referring to the key play in a Dec. 17 collapse in Cincinnati. "They haven't made a play. They've got 146 yards of offense. They go the length of the field, starting with a third-and-19, to score a touchdown and tie the game up. We miss a point-blank field goal. I don't care if it's on an ice-skating rink. Figure out how to put ourselves into position to make that kick," he added, his voice rising with each sentence.

Mind you, a playoff berth was not at stake. Paul Brown Stadium was virtually empty. It was the most forgettable of afternoons, yet, Coughlin remembers every detail.

"Go make a play. The ball was in the air forever," Coughlin said.

All of that is behind the Jaguars. What's ahead is much more important, mostly because the future of this football team promises to be altered dramatically before it has another chance to "go make a play."

What won't change is Coughlin's passion for winning or his intensity for pursuing it. If the 2000 season did anything, it sharpened the Jaguars' appetite for winning.

Did losing make you hungry?

"Starving. Watching the playoffs? That's no fun," the coach said.

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