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New Dolphins coach Bates inherits troubled team

The last time Jim Bates was head coach of a football team, it was with the San Antonio Gunslingers of the USFL. In 1985.

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) _ The last time Jim Bates was head coach of a football team, it was with the San Antonio Gunslingers of the USFL. In 1985.

The Miami Dolphins' new interim coach expects some things have changed.

``I know I'm going to get paid this time,'' joked Bates before Wednesday's practice.

Bates is sure to get his money, but what sort of production he gets from the Dolphins (1-8) is another matter after Dave Wannstedt resigned Tuesday in the middle of his fifth season. The team has a bye this week before playing Seattle on Nov. 21.

Bates inherits problems at quarterback and on the offensive and defensive lines, and must deal with the ill-timed penalties, turnovers and dropped passes that have afflicted the Dolphins all season.

He said he had trouble sleeping knowing he was going to wake up Wednesday as the Dolphins' fifth head coach in their 38-year history, following George Wilson, Don Shula, Jimmy Johnson and Wannstedt.

``I woke up thinking about all we had talked about ... at 4:30, bright-eyed. I set it for 5,'' he said

A longtime defensive assistant who has worked with such accomplished coaches as Bill Belichick, Frank Kush and Johnny Majors, Bates has only one other head coaching job besides the Gunslingers on his resume _ at Sevier County High School in Tennessee.

He's also been defensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons and a position coach with the Cleveland Browns and Dallas Cowboys.

Known for a fiery, enthusiastic coaching style, Bates has built a defense that finished sixth, fifth, third and 10th in the league since he took over in 2000. Currently, the Dolphins rank seventh.

But his eyes lit up when talking about sitting in Wednesday on his first offensive meeting in 20 years and being able to interact with the complete 53-man roster.

``I told the guys, 'Man, this is easy over on this side of the ball,'' Bates joked.

``It's exciting for me to able to move around and motivate all the players.''

Players said Wednesday's workout was set to a quicker tempo than under Wannstedt and praised Bates for his demeanor during morning meetings and practice.

``He was just into everything today. He was catering to every position and basically sat there and just talked with us to find out what we were thinking about,'' tight end Randy McMichael said.

Bates said any personnel decisions, such as whether Jay Fiedler or A.J. Feeley will start at quarterback against Seattle, would be made next week. He said he's thinking about who will replace him as defensive coordinator.

After Wednesday's practice, cornerback Patrick Surtain said he was happy to see Bates running the show, but felt something was missing.

``You're kind of used to hearing Dave's voice out there, and for him not to be out there, it's going to take a while to get used to,'' Surtain said.

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