Editor’s note: DenverBroncos.com sat down with the assistant coaches to talk about their position groups before the coaches left Dove Valley for vacations in mid-June.
How has the transition to the new job here in Denver gone?
“It’s been good. Working with (Special Teams Coordinator) Jeff (Rodgers) – I’ve known him a few years – it’s been really good, really smooth transition. The staff is great, the organization is great and the players are really good. Everybody is a pro, everybody comes to work hard every day. There’s nothing to complain about, everything is taken care of for you and you can just come to work and work on winning a championship, which is the major thing in any sport.”
How far do you and Special Teams Coordinator Jeff Rodgers go back?
“Just throughout the years, playing against him when he was at Carolina and then coming here when I was in St. Louis and Kansas City. Before games you speak to guys and you have admiration for guys doing a good job with their units and everything. Special teams coordinators are really close. So as you go through it, being an assistant you get to know certain guys – especially since he’s younger too.”
What is your playing background?
“I played at Hampton – played football and basketball at Hampton University from ’03 to ’07. I played safety there and after that I went up to Buffalo for a tryout at minicamp – got cut. Left there, had some other things but didn’t go to them because I had the opportunity to go to the University of Tennessee as a graduate assistant, so that’s where my coaching career started. I was there with Coach Fulmer, after that I was there with Coach Kiffin for three months and got a job with the Rams. So I was with the Rams – with Steve Spagnuolo and then went to Kansas City last year and now I’m here.”
How does that experience of trying out at minicamp and then being cut help you as a coach?
“The only thing that I can say to them is that it’s short-lived. I think I harp on my coaching days more than I do my playing days to some of these guys. I tell them stories of guys I’ve seen along the way because I came in to the league at 22 as a coach – it’s been a quick transition. So the things I’ve seen coaching have been more than the things I saw playing-wise. I try to tell them, from my perspective – and try to be honest – and say how short it is. A lot of them, they have their days where they don’t want to do it and I tell them, it’s what you think it is. It’s a very short window and you’ve got to take every opportunity to take advantage of it.”
What drew you to special teams?
“I was thrown into it. When I interviewed in St. Louis, I actually interviewed for the assistant special teams job and the quality control on offense and Pat Shurmur, who’s now with the Philadelphia Eagles, he wanted to hire me on offense but the special teams coordinator told the head coach Steve Spagnola he was not going to let me go on offense. So I ended up being special teams and just over the years – I was with that coordinator Tom McMahon who is with the Colts now – we were together four years. You just end up gravitating to it and you spend more time with something and its like this is what I really want to do and this is where my passion is.”
You worked with Dustin Colquitt last season in Kansas City and now you have
“I actually had Britton at Tennessee. We had a relationship from Tennessee and being a GA, you’re not coaching but you’re around those guys. And being around him at Tennessee, we always knew he had talent and we knew he’d end up in the league somewhere, it was just a matter of where and when. And then working with his brother last year, him being a Pro Bowl punter speaks for itself. But that family, just being around them, they’re awesome. You look at Dustin and he finally got the recognition Pro Bowl-wise and I think Britton, if he continues on the track he’s on, he’s just going to get better and better.”
What did you think of the Broncos' special teams units while gameplanning for them in Kansas City?
“Yeah, you know what they’re going to do and you know what players they have that’s the main thing – the scheme you knew but the players is what I was intrigued by. You watch them twice a year and you see
Did your experience gameplanning for the Broncos and their special teams units make the transition to Denver any easier?
“The personnel side, yes. Because I knew kind of who they had. I knew the personnel but with scheme – I like tell people going from speaking English to speaking Spanish. And now you’re just translating. The first month, I might have said something one way and he’s like no-no, we call it such and such – so in my mind I have to translate it. Now it’s smooth after four months and it’s just been a good, smooth transition.”
How do you like the city of Denver?
“Oh I love it. I told somebody, I said this place, when it snows it’s not bad because people know how to deal with the snow but, I said when it's warm – I went to a Rockies game this week – this city is really nice. I’ve been to St. Louis, Kansas City and I tell people next to Knoxville, Tenn., Denver is up there. Because Knoxville to me is home and it’s where the heart is. But still, Denver – I love how everybody likes to be outdoors, you don’t see a lot of people just sitting around the house. And it’s not humid and all that – coming from the South – the humidity that isn’t here is a great thing.”