Q: How has the transition been going for you?
BD: Basically, it's gone very well. I think with Carmen (Policy) being here and Dwight Clark and some of the people obviously that made the transition a little bit easier and certainly having been in the NFL with the Cowboys I think that has certainly helped. The other factors, I'm very fortunate to put together a good coaching staff that's got a good blend of guys that are former NFL players and guys that are former NFL coaches that have got a lot of experience, Terry Robiskie and Foge Fazio. Those guys have been a big asset to our staff. For the most part it's like anybody else, in your first year there's always trials and tribulations, the salary cap things and the injuries. Those kind of things you have to work through, but for the most part it's been pretty positive.
Q: How have you been able to build the team's confidence?
BD: I don't know that it hasn't worked for other coaches, but I can tell you it's been my experience as a coach on every level, whether I was a high school coach, a college coach, an assistant coaching for Jimmy [Johnson] and a coordinator, I'm just an enormous believer that you have to try and build an environment of success. You've got to have great chemistry, you've got to be talking about honesty, loyalty, commitment. The optimism of certainly not only the head coach, but all the other coaches of looking at things from the standpoint of the glass is half full not half empty. I told them in our first meeting, that we were going to build a franchise and we were going to build a relationship with the players that would give us a chance at some point in the future to play in a Super Bowl. Everything that I would do with them, whether it's who makes the team, how we run our practices, how we travel, everything from the dealings from a football operational standpoint was going to be from a positive standpoint. That we would address the negative things, whether it was performance or off the field things, but we were going to concentrate and focus on the positive things, the things that would give us a chance to win.
Q: Were those the kind of influences you had while growing up?
BD: Pretty much. My father was a high school coach and I played for him, but prior to that I'd played for some guys even in junior high that were just really, really positive coaches in my life at all different levels. Whether it was as a coach later on in life or as a young player, Frank Boles at the University of Arkansas and guys that I coached with Dave Wannstedt, Jimmy Johnson and people professionally were pretty much all that way. For me personally, it was the way in which I as an athlete, as a player responded much better. Coaches that looked for positive things. It's the way that I try and look at my life outside of coaching.
Q: How much has Jimmy Johnson played in the model of what you are now?
BD: I spent 15 years working with Jimmy in the restoration of programs at Oklahoma State, Miami and with the Cowboys, he's played a huge role, there is no denying that. I don't think that…and Jimmy and I have talked about it, I mean I tried not to be a clone of Jimmy, I can't be, I have to be who I am but there are some principles and some underlying foundational things that we believe exactly the same way. That you build with character, you build with passion and enthusiasm, and you surround yourself with good people from a player standpoint and a staff standpoint, there's a lot of things. I mean, he's had a big influence. Then schematically, obviously Jimmy's background was as a former defensive coordinator at Arkansas and Pittsburgh and those kind of things, so defensively and schematically he's had a big influence. His forte' prior to becoming a coordinator and a head coach was as a defensive line coach and I was the defensive line coach for him at Miami and at Dallas. So he had some impact certainly there also.
Q: What's the biggest difference between the two of you?
BD: I don't know. That would probably be a question to ask somebody that knows the both of us. You know I don't know what exactly the differences are …..
Q: You seemed to be very selective about your position
BD: To be honest with you, I never actively pursued, nor was I really totally focused on trying to leave the University of Miami. I left Dallas as the coordinator with the idea that I really truly felt that the University of Miami would be the last coaching job that I had. It was flattering at times when someone would call and say 'Is there any interest on your part, you're one of seven or eight guys that we might remotely be interested in,' and to be able to politely say 'I appreciate the interest but this is where I think I want to stay'. Some of those opportunities came along (where) you knew some of the people involved in those organizations and you had a lot of respect for them, Bob Kraft is a very nice man, but my goals since the day I walked out of the locker room at the University of Miami, I thought I was going to be there for 15 years and retire and watch my kids grow up in South Florida. But this opportunity came about in the middle of January and after talking to Carmen and listening to him and getting the opportunity to meet with Al Lerner and the type of people they were and the vision that they wanted for this franchise and how we were almost emphatically on exactly the same page on how to build a franchise and how to run an organization, how the organization should be built. It was just an opportunity that was too good to pass up.
**Q: So what did you say to your son when he said 'the Browns stink', they're not going to stink when I get there?A: To be honest with you, yeah. He is a football junkie, my wife hates it, she'd like for him to me more into books and stuff, but I think she understands where he's coming from. But that's a true story. The part that they left out of that story to some extent was his first words were 'we're not going to Alabama are we?' I said 'no,' and he said, 'good.' So he said 'where?' and I said 'Cleveland' and he goes, 'Cleveland, they stink." I said 'well, that's why there's an opportunity there.
Q: There is always a staff that produces coaches, it seems Jimmy Johnson staff is such a staff. That networking rubs off, doesn't it?
BD: I think it's the networking, but to be honest with you, I think that only plays maybe a portion of it. I think a lot of it is the things that you learn working together. I can tell you today that there is no question in my mind that I am a better football coach, not only from the years I spent with Jimmy, but the years I spent working with, X'ing and O'ing and practicing against Norv Turner and Dave Wannsteadt and Dave Campo and even Gracino the head coach at Rutgers, even though they had very, very tough difficult year he's a phenomenally good football coach and Larry Cokler and all the people that branch out from the Jimmy Johnson family. I think that we have all benefited from maybe being around each other.
Q: Pass defense…
BD: I think what has gone right in the past is the fact that we've been very, very disciplined, we've pretty much been in the right place at the right time and we've got some guys that have some ball skills in the secondary. I think one of the things that I like about the guys we have playing in the secondary, is that they have excellent hand-eye coordination and the ability to make plays on the ball and it's evident in the way that they practice. They practice hard at trying to do those things and they're very, very well coached. Todd Bowles, Chuck Pagano do an excellent job coaching. I think we've been able to get, maybe were not at or near to the top or anywhere near you'd like to be from a sack standpoint but we have, for the most part got pretty good, solid, consistent, pressure on quarterbacks. Keith McKenzie before he was hurt was getting a lot of quarterback pressures and Courtney Brown, when he came back we got some good solid pressure from him. Gerard Warren, and Jamir Miller is having maybe the best season on his career. He's got eight sacks and a lot of pressures and I think those kind of things give your guys in the secondary opportunities to make plays on the ball.
Q: Did you give any thought to be anything other than a football coach?
BD: Yeah. If you talk to a lot of kids who go to college. I had no idea what I wanted to do when I grew up and I'm 50 years old and I'm still not sure what I want to do when I grow up. I went to college with the idea, initially cause it sounded good, that I was going to be a lawyer. I took three semesters of business classes and going home and saying you know what, 'I hate this and if I have to do this for the next 50 years, this is going to be the most miserable life I could have and I really didn't know what I wanted to do and the only thing I really … My father was an educator, my mom was an elementary school teacher so I'd been around education a lot and I thought I really enjoy sciences and on my transcript I have no idea why, but I had taken a lot of science courses, a lot of anatomy, physiology, zoology and botany and stuff like that. So I ended up getting a degree in sciences as an undergraduate and my last two years at the University of Arkansas, Hank Boles had as a staff, and I think this is where Jimmy may have learned the idea of surrounding yourself with good coaches, but you can imagine the offensive coaching staff at the University of Arkansas while I was there had Raymond Berry was the receivers coach, Joe Gibbs was the offensive line coach, Don coached the quarterbacks and Richard Williamson coached the running backs and certainly all four of those guys are legendary NFL coaches and were great guys. I ended up going through four knee operations at the University of Arkansas so I ended up helping Richard Williamson and some of the offensive coaches the last spring when I couldn't play and a little bit in the fall, just coaching and I thought you know what? I can't stand not being around sports. I've been a ball junkie my entire life, since I was probably about five year old, basketball, baseball, football, track and all that stuff. So I ended up getting a teaching certificate and got into coaching. When I went to Miami I thought this would be a neat career, I'll coach high school football at a real good high school in Oklahoma for about 30 years and I'll retire on Grand Lake and fish and play golf and see what happens.
**Q: You've certainly rubbed elbows with some incredible peopleA: I've been very lucky. I've been very fortunate to coach with a lot…and had a lot of good coaches in my life that played a big part in trying to frame some of the…
Q: I haven't seen the injury report, but Courtney Brown had that ankle sprain. Where does that stand?
BD: He's Questionable. Yeah for the week.
Q: He's a key guy to your defense?
BD: Yeah, it's been a star-crossed season. We've got twelve guys on IR and then we envisioned at the beginning of the season that the real strength of the football team, we thought when we broke camp that boy this is really going to be good. We are going to have Keith McKenzie who had 10 sacks last year and Courtney Brown in his second year and Gerard Warren as a first-round pick and Orpheus Roye and Mark Smith. We thought that boy we've got good depth and we've got some good solid players and we haven't had hardly any of them all year long, none of them hardly at the same time. Courtney and Keith McKenzie played one quarter, the first quarter, of the Chicago Bear game together and that's the only quarter in the entire season that they've been together.
Q: If your wife doesn't like football that much and…?
BD: No she does. I don't want to paint that picture. I think 24 hours a day, seven days a week from her husband is enough to have her son in it 7/24 also.
Q: Where does Tim Couch stand in his growth and where is he right now?
BD: I think Tim Couch is having an outstanding year. As you've said I've been extraordinarily fortunate. Troy Aikman with the Cowboys and Vinny Testaverde and Craig Erickson and Bernie Kosar and all the guys that we had at the University of Miami and I truly believe this. I believe that Tim Couch can take this football team to a Super Bowl. He is hungry. He's got athletic ability. He's playing extremely well. He's learning. He gets better. The games that we have lost, there's been things from those games that we've lost that he has learned and has helped us win some of the games that we've won. Whether it's a critical drive for a touchdown or a field goal to win games as it was in Jacksonville earlier in the season. A lot of times sometimes people here have had higher expectations from the standpoint that they say, 'Well gosh, this is Tim's third year.' It's really not. He missed nine games last year and this is the first year for this offense. So I won't say he's starting totally from scratch, but when you come in and your first year in the league is an expansion year, you're just trying to survive. So I really believe that this year has been extremely productive and I think your going to see huge leaps in the next couple of years with him.
Q: Here's the month of December and you are in the playoff hunt?
Q: And the same thing with Belichick. Both teams are kind of surprise teams, but there are no surprises any more when December rolls around?
BD: Well, you hope not and I'm sure that Bill feels the same way. You know we talked about it at the beginning of the summertime that, the players, we wanted to playing in meaningful games at the end of the season and just to push the envelope and see how far we could go in this first year and if the games in December were meaningful and they had an impact on whether or not you had a chance to go to the playoffs, then you knew you were making the right strides.
Q: What do you miss about being down in Miami?
BD: The thing you miss the most is all those players, the relationships you have with those guys. Because it was six years of hard, hard work to go through all the probation and the sanctions and couldn't go to Bowl games and all the things that we had to sacrifice and give up. And to see the hard work, people have no concept of an idea as to how difficult that was to lose 31 scholarships and to rebuild that team and to see just the hard work and the blood, sweat and tears. And you get to know the moms and the girlfriends and the aunts and the uncles and to see them enjoy in that success is real rewarding. You love those kids and they'll be, as friends and stuff, they'll be a part of my life forever.