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CLASSIC STORY: 'Doug Dickey has no class' - Miami coach Curci
By PAUL SHEA
November 29, 1971
Photo courtesy of UF Sports Information
John Reaves looked to break the NCAA passing record in the 1971 UF-Miami game. Coach Doug Dickey took an unorthodox approach.

MIAMI - Fran Curci is one mad man.

For most of his 45-minute conference after the UF-UM football game, Curci said nothing but bad things about Florida coach Doug Dickey.

After watching the Florida players flop to the ground on their own eight yard line to give John Reaves the ball back Curci said this:

"It was the worst thing I've ever seen in football. I thought a lot of Doug Dickey and have always admired him. But tonight I lost all respect for the man. What he did shows absolutely no class."

Curci was sure that the call to let the Hurricanes score came from the bench. He didn't sympathize with the passing record that Reaves was shooting for.

"There was still enough time left (1:10) for them to get the ball back and give him another chance at the record," the UM head coach said. "I was watching Dickey the whole time and I saw him send the boy in with the call."

Curci walked off the field disgusted and refused to shake hands with Dickey.

"I have shook hands with every one of my opponents," Curci said. "But tonight I just couldn't. He didn't come out either so I guess the feeling was mutual.

"Dickey must have a bad memory. Things like this come back to haunt you. I may never beat the man again but I'll never forget tonight."

Trying to get away from the subject, Curci had nothing but good things to say about the Florida team and the quarterback.

"Reaves is the greatest quarterback ever to come out of this state," Curci said. "Too bad he didn't play for a winning team or he would have won the Heisman Trophy."

"They gave us a good country beating," Curci said about the Gators. "Our linebackers were all crippled and they threw a lot of flat passes. Florida finally put it all together, both offense and defense.

"Once you get ahead you can do what you want. They had us against the ropes like a beaten fighter. We had to stand and fight but we just never could recover."

The Hurricanes came out in a wishbone offense and stuck with it the whole game.

"I believe Florida knew we were going to use the wishbone because they certainly adjusted to it quickly," Curci said. "But once you are committed to it, it's best to stick with it the whole game.

"We only had seven healthy lineman. We had to stick with them. They just took a crippled team and beat the hell out of them."

Curci was asked again about the free-bee touchdown.

"Actually I feel sorry for Doug Dickey," he said. "I think he made a fool out of himself, if he thinks that's the spirit of the game he's got a long way to go."

"That's just another trick play you can use when you've got another team on the ropes," Curci said about the Durrance to Reaves TD pass. "Florida beat us in every way possible. I guess that play was one more way to insult us."

Curci said that the Hurricanes went to the new offense because they had seen that the Gators were vulnerable to the run and he thought they could control the ball.

"It was taking candy from a baby," Curci said. "But I didn't think it would be that bad."

*Editor's Note: It's been nearly 34 years, but few stories in UF sports history have been more intriguing and more legendary than the infamous Florida Flop. There was plenty at stake in the Florida-Miami game on November, 27 1971. While the Gators were huge favorites on the road, the big story was whether UF quarterback John Reaves would break the coveted NCAA career passing yards record. With 1:10 remaining and UF holding a commanding 45-8 lead, Reaves needed just 14 yards to break the record. But with limited time remaining, it seemed unlikely UF would get the ball back. So UF coach Doug Dickey ordered the Gators defense to "flop" to the ground and allow Miami to enter the end zone untouched. Sure enough, UF got the ball back, and a Reaves-to-Carlos Alvarez pass broke the record. While the Gators defended the decision - it was the only way the record could be broken - this classic Alligator story reveals a different angle, that of an angry Miami coach. Enjoy this story exactly as it ran in 1971.