Do you have any idea what is going on with the fields outside?
* *"It has been 15-18 years since they had the last one. It has a layer of grass than sand and then a drainage system. After X amount of years what happens is those drains begin to get filled and ours is at that point that where it needed to be redone. The first sign of it is moisture and all of a sudden you have a fungus on the grass and pretty soon you have grass but it comes up. That is kind of where it is at. We are completely digging it all up and putting in a new system. It has kind of been on the to-do list for the last couple of years and finally (we needed to get it done)."
Would you have gone outside last week?
"Absolutely. We would've been outside probably at least a half a dozen times but the problem was (that) as nice as it looked, literally as you planted there was no root system at all. That's all getting redone right now."
Is there an ETA on that?
"It will be completed for the start of all the spring stuff but not for this fall."
Will it be grass?
"Yes, basically a similar system, (we need to) pull out all the drains, put in new drains, sand and (we will have) the same setup. The fields out there have been outstanding but progressively over the years those drains now become filled with sand and it is just kind of a normal thing after a while."
Do you have any memorable exchanges with Bill Parcells?
"They weren't exchanges. One of the things, I would say this, that was important to him is he wanted coaches who were passionate. Now that didn't mean you weren't going to get your share (of advice at), staff meetings or during a practice or during games but (you need a) short memory, don't let it burst your energy or enthusiasm, (you need) tough skin, all of those things were traits that he looked at and looked for (in coaches). I am not going to turn around and show you my rear end but there are a lot of scars, but good ones. You had that environment. You wanted to please and one of the things that he was best about though just when you felt man it was your day and that next morning, a cup of coffee, he would be poking his head in the office looking for Dennis the Mennis. He has a unique way of making sure he appreciated the work. That is how he was. I really tried to make sure, when you receive an opportunity you don't want to try to be someone other than yourself but the confrontation elements of how he coached I thought were healthy. He was on the table. I can think of a number of sideline stories. It would be too long but none of them were ones that you looked back at and man I just, you had to take it in stride and go."
Do you feel like you borrowed anything from him?
"Well hopefully I have just with in regards to coaching. Maybe, that's a good question, I don't know. I had not been a head coach prior to this opportunity and I hadn't had to react to, but I would say it has been fairly consistent and it hasn't just been in 2014. It is going back to preseason of 2006."
Mark Ingram said Nick Saban made him cry a few times.
"I'd imagine. The subject was brought up last week about Rob (Ryan) and I and yet I think there's a long line. The thing that I said was the qualities he has are those that he could've worked with Bill (Parcells) because he's passionate, he's there late, it means everything to him and he has thick skin. Shoot I am in his office eating, he has like a candy store in there at midnight, everything under the sun and looking at third down film. It means so much to him. That's what you want in an assistant coach."
Zach Strief said it can look like he's yelling back at you but really he's telling you what the call was.
"Yeah, it is like the holder that messes up the hold and the kicker misses it and the holder comes up to him and just shakes him saying it was my fault on the hold."
Do you think about when guys drop a pass?
"Yes and the other thing is different guys respond differently and so not everyone, I think knowing the buttons (to push on people) and understanding that. Look, if you put up or have video of the Super Bowl there's a play where Marques (Colston) dropped his first opportunity on a play action hook route. Right after that, he knew I was down here and yet with Marques I know he's going to come back. It happened last week. He'll have a drop maybe so I think it really depends on the situation. I get mad at myself a lot of times too. I mentioned the time we had before they kicked a field goal last week they went from a go for it mode on fourth down, defense ready then I wanted to see the formation they were in, we used a timeout, now the field goal's out and we should be in our return field goal mode. We practice that situation. You are trying to manage a number of things that are happening very quickly as well as the big thing on my call sheet is tempo. There is a lot that we give the quarterback formationally, personnel substitutions so that tempo has to be fast. Honestly if I am sometimes caught worried about our punt return penalty and Greg (McMahon) and the gunners didn't do a good job then that slows some other areas down. I have to pay attention to that. Jason Mitchell will be on the sideline and just tap me and say tempo and all of a sudden it is like, alright, here we go. Managing that and how the game is unfolding, kind of paying attention to the game is important."
There has been some talk out of Carolina about running up scores in the past. Would last week's game be a good example of why you would never ease up when you build a lead?
"Yes, I have read some of it. I honestly really cannot look at situations where I felt like, what is that score? I have seen a 28 point lead turn into a loss when I was at New York in the Wild Card game at San Francisco. Twenty eight points deep in the third quarter almost entering the fourth and so you are wanting to function with your guys in there. Sometimes that might mean running the ball and sometimes that might mean throwing the football but I can't ever recall just looking at something and saying it's a division rival or something and we want to. We are not in business to do that. We are in the business of being smart. Obviously our players being healthy, all of those things and so it is too important."
Is there ever a point?
"Where are we at with time and what is the score? Each scenario is different but we are trying to move the football and it is something we are not apologizing for. I think each game's different. Paying attention to the game and how it is unfolding."
Do you think it's a fluke that the Panthers had two punts blocked last week?
"I'm sure communication played a part in it and one's one and the second one's unusual. I am sure it's something they spent a lot of time on this week. That is something that the second one makes it newsworthy. The first one's hey, we have to shore this one up and obviously one's one too many because when you start looking at a punt block touchdown you're like a 78 percent winner, two and you're into the 80s now regardless of just the percentages and so those are significant. Those are significant."
The Bears are another team that is going to have extra time before you play them. Is that just a coincidence?
"Yeah I think so. I don't think anyone sat around and alright let's see if we can put them on another Thursday night. I think it is. We will have plenty of rest also. It is a Monday game I believe so right now we are kind of getting back to a more normal schedule. We have to play well at home."
How do you get a player to understand to play with a short memory in regards to the development of Patrick Robinson?
"In his case we ran a copy of starters that at some point were starting and then maybe moved to the nickel or maybe moved to not playing and have currently became starters and played well. I was curious to see that list and when it came it was amazing, the guys on that list. I think that is important. We talk about short memories at corner but when you know someone has the work effort and the desire to be real good and the skillset then it's that mentality of and look, it's not like it's all blue skies ahead for him, at that position, Keenan (Lewis) any one of them, but it is that ability to recover and get on to the next play. Then there is that confidence that comes with it. But I remember just sharing the list with him and giving it to him and having him take it with him and understand it is not like that's it forever. They are too hard to come by and to his credit he has battled back and competing and playing well."
Do you ever consider win probabilities on the sideline?
"Absoutely, you have heard me say this, typically we do not go for a two point play until well into the fourth quarter and how is the flow of the game going? Is it high or low scoring? If it's high scoring it would be well into the fourth quarter. If it's low scoring you might consider it earlier in the fourth quarter. Fourth downs maybe is sometimes a feel and a lot of times it is not not having a play, there are sometimes where you have got a play you cannot wait to run so you would be more apt to be aggressive. A lot of it is the flow of the game and trusting your instincts and your gut."
Is it one of the more difficult parts of coaching learning how to motivate 53 guys with vastly different personalities?
"Yes and I think it is part of, it's the position coach who understands his room well and knows how to teach. We are talking about all of those qualities again of teachers. It really is similar and so if every one of us thought back to college there was somebody that stood out as a great teacher. Had this been his line of work he would have probably been as equally successful because it is kind of seeing the strengths in players and trying to help them see that and then teaching. Kind of changing up the message and how you deliver it. You might be delivering the same message but five different ways."
Does that change from the time you become an assistant to the time you become a head coach?
"Yes because the change happens because it is now the mass group. As the assistant you are focused on I have to worry about my job which is this position group and how they play. Generally that term we use when what we are seeing on film is what we are teaching or allowing. It is no different when you are at the supermarket and there is a little kid acting up and at some point you stare at the parent like hey, what is going on. It is the same thing."
Can you talk about Junior Galette's comments?
"Look, I've read it and I am guessing it went five minutes too long. I think that the focus obviously should be on our team and let us when we are 70, 75 (years old) sit around a fire and debate who was what but right now this is still being in season here and currently we are 5-7 and this is a big game and we have been inconsistent. Obviously I think it is not the right time or it is fairly silly to make comparisons to teams in the past or specifically to players of past. That is my opinion and look like I said, it probably went five minutes too long."