On his first day as back as an offensive line coach:
When you are coordinating you are observing and watching a lot of things. This was a lot of fun because I could just stay focus on what my guys were doing. It’s been 10 years since I have been down there in the pits with those guys. I just reverted back to my old ways and old style. I thought we had a productive day for first day. We have a tremendous way to go but it was a lot of fun.
On changing to a new offensive line coach for the players:
I told those guys there is more than one way to skin a cat. One thing about our line is they were very well coached. Ron West does a tremendous job so it’s not like I got a bunch of guys who have never played the game before and didn’t know what is going on. But as I told them the purpose of spring ball is improve on everyone’s weaknesses. I’ll say things a little different than Coach West did. I might emphasize a few things a little differently but bottom line is it is still football. Players still play the game. Until we get the pads on we will not know who the players are and who the pretenders are. It was fun and I got different drills and I think sometimes change is good. It’s good for the players and I think it might be good for the coaches too. I know I was a lot more refocused today on offensive line play than I had been before when I was coordinating, you are watching a whole different ballgame.
On the goals for spring practice for the offensive line:
I think what I want them to understand is the fundamentals and great technique are the tools of our trade as an offensive lineman. We got guys who have experience, but they are young players and they can improve their game if they can get better with fundamentals. So I am going to spend a lot of time on fundamental and techniques. Fundamentals and technique is not always out there full contact work. It’s learning how to play the game with a low center of gravity. It’s the drill work. It’s learning how to play with bent knees and our hand placement. If I want to emphasize anything to them early it is technique will make them a better player.
And obviously we want to be a physical team. We want to be a team that runs the ball better. But I think we as a coaching staff have to help them improve our running game. That’s one our goals. Coach (Bowden) has challenged the coaching staff as much as he has the players. I hope when we come out of spring not only will I know the players better and who our best players are, but also I will know what makes them tick. That’s part of being a good line coach. Every kid is a little bit different. I told them before we started my personality as a line coach is a whole different than a tight end coach or a coordinator. As a coordinator I don’t think you need to always be the guy who is yelling and screaming and all like that. As a line coach you stay focused on things and you are probably going to get after those guys a little more. You will probably hear me being a little more vocal as a line coach than a coordinator but that’s all in the position you are coaching.
On preparing to coach the offensive line:
It was kind of like the first day back. I’ve had a ten year hiatus from being an offensive line coach. I did pull out my old Florida State notes and my drill tapes, just to refresh my own memory on the things that I tried to emphasize when I was coaching then. You got to be your own person. I couldn’t give Ron West enough accolades for the great job he has done as the line coach. As Coach (Bowden) made those changes it just so happen that I was going to be the offensive line coach. Everybody has their own personality and everybody has their own style and everybody has their own way of communicating. So another goal of spring is for them to learn my communication system and the way I am going to do things. As they get more used to me and me to them I know we will begin to mash as a unit. We are miles apart right now.
I’ve got records and files of every practice schedule I’ve ever had at Florida State, South Carolina and here. I’m a pack rat. My wife says when we move we almost have to build a special room just to put all my stuff. I’m glad I did. One day when I am retired and when I am finished I’ve got a son that is coaching and I’ve got other players that will be coaching one day. I think it is good stuff to have and always have.