Jan. 13, 2011
On having the opportunity to coach at Baylor:
|| BENNETT INTRODUCTION TRANSCRIPT
"I feel very fortunate. I have done this a long time and have always had a great respect for Baylor. I have played them many times and have known a lot of people through here. Obviously Art and I, our background, knowing each other, playing against each other in college, being head coaches together in the same league, I have had a tremendous amount of respect for him. I have watched this program closely and I just feel like I am fortunate at this time to be a part of it."
On what attracted him to Baylor:
"It goes back to relationship and possibilities. I say this with a tremendous amount of respect. I am at an age where it is important where I work and who I work with. Not that it hasn't always been that way, but Art and I have the same values and the same passion about football. I wanted to be with somebody that I knew was doing the same things that I believe in. I have watched this program with a keen eye and I thought he was doing the right thing. I have never gone into places thinking one was better than the other, but I think we can get some things going here and I like the challenge."
On Bennett's relationship with Head Coach Art Briles:
"In this business you develop friendships the way you see people work and operate. I always liked the way he handled things. In this business, you are not competing all the time. I watched what was going on. I would play them at Houston. I always keep a list of people that I have defended that are extremely tough, and he has been on the top of that list for a while. He is a guy that, offensively, was a tremendous challenge. I liked the integrity he has used in building this program and that is important to me. I think that together we can take this thing to another level. I know that we have got a lot of work to do; I know I have a lot of work to do. I am not a prediction guy, but we will improve."
On watching Baylor in the Texas Bowl:
"I was impressed. Obviously they did not play as well as they wanted to. I think they were a very good looking team. They had opportunities on both sides of the ball to make it a better game. I am coming in here with everybody having a chance and that is the way I am looking at it."
On his defensive philosophy:
"I like to run a multiple four-man front, and we will use some three-man. With a spread, it has evolved where you have to do it. The thing that is probably a little different with me that I think is a lot easier is that our three-man front is built in with our four-man package and at Pittsburgh we had great success with it. It gave us versatility that a lot of people didn't have. I am a guy that creates matchups. I want positive matchups. People say `are you a pressure defense?' Obviously we are a pressure defense. I think there is a lot of ways you can get pressure. We led the nation in sacks a year ago and we were not a huge blitz team. We had good players. We had break down protections and we covered well. There is a lot of things to a sack: if you have good coverage, if the quarterback is holding the ball. There are a lot of different ways to do that. I would call us a multiple four-man aggressive defense."
On working with the defensive players:
"Today is the first day I have been around them. Like I said, everyone who I know and respect in this business has said that there are some good looking players here. I would not be here if they had played to the level that they need to. The challenge for us is to put the pieces in the right place, get them playing with a very high intensity. I am pretty much a no nonsense guy. I am very demanding. I love to have fun with them, but I tell them that the fun comes when you win. Practice is something that we only get two hours on the field with them and it is an important time of the day. I am a believer that the way you practice turns out how you play on Saturday."
On making adjustments for Big 12 Conference play:
"We were the running team in the league. If you watched our bowl game, we ran power every way you could run it. We played a lot of spread teams. Everybody we played was a spread team and I think that is pretty much the same type thing down in the Big 12. When I left the coordinator job in Kansas State it was evolving to that. I know the last year I was at Kansas State we saw a lot more spread teams. I do not really see much difference between the two leagues and what we will be facing."
"After I got back into town, I came up and watched the tape early Friday morning and just kind of processed everything through. I knew that Pitt had made a change, so I knew Phil (Bennett) was out there and so I really didn't start thinking about it until that Friday afternoon and then just kind of ran a bunch of things through my mind: trying to figure out ways that I could make it work for everyone involved. It was very important for me to keep Brian on staff, because he is a valuable member of our team. He and the coaches on that side of the ball got us here. It is a big hill: 16 years without a bowl game, they got us here. So I was real sensitive to that issue, but on the flip side I knew that we had some areas that we could improve in on that side of the ball, just like we do on offense and special teams, but this was a need I felt like we needed to fill in a hurry. I bounced it around. Actually talked to Ian (McCaw) on Saturday and then got a hold of Phil Saturday night and then was in Birmingham the next Tuesday evening."
On what Phil Bennett brings to Baylor:
"Everybody that knows football, knows Phil Bennett. It doesn't matter if you are in junior high or the CFL or NFL, I mean you know about Phil Bennett and so he has got a proven track record. He is a guy that is very passionate, very eager and a guy that gets up ready to go. That is what I like: he is a self-starter. I am not going to have to wonder about what he is doing, how he is doing it, because he is going to be full-tilt in everything he does. I really appreciate the passion and the energy that he is going to bring to that side of the ball with a proven track record. It is something where there is not going to be any issues or questions or concerns or doubts, it is taken care of."
On seeing Phil Bennett coach against him in the past:
"When I was at Texas Tech, Phil was at Kansas State, so we played against him there. I really kept a close eye on his defense. They were a lot of pressure man there. I just kept up with him all the way through and then of course he was at SMU and I was at Houston and we went against each other and got to know each other. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him. Like I said we are both born on the same date, same year, so that is kind of ironic. He is east Texas. I am west Texas, we meet in Central Texas, maybe there is something to it after all.
On if the players will take to Phil Bennett as a coach:
"Yeah, they will without a doubt, because what you see is what you get. Phil is going to be real open, real honest and very energetic, very passionate. And to a person whether you are playing football or talking at Wal-Mart, that is important. You want to know who you are talking to and what they are thinking and Phil is going to let you know what he is thinking. They'll gravitate. They'll love. They'll fight and they will get after it for him, no doubt."
On getting big hit like Phil Bennett that people recognize:
"A big Texas hit, big because he has got tremendous respect with all of the high school coaches in the state of Texas, let alone the college and the NFL. Getting that name in here for the high school coaches, but the name is secondary, people can have a name and not be productive. I mean he has got a name and he is productive and that is the bottom line, because you are judged by whether you produce or not. He produces and people respect him."
On the recruiting aspect of the hire:
"We will jump in on some people that he'll evaluate and think fit us. That might not have been earlier and then will we make a stab at some others that may be floating out there a little bit that are not really solid commits."
On the difficulty of letting people go:
"Well yeah, it is horrible, because you are not talking about a profession, you are talking about a family and that is the bottom line. That is what makes it so tough, especially guys that you respect, you love and you care for. From that stand point it is gut-wrenching, but you have to look at things from the broader picture and the bigger picture is I felt like this could give our football team a better chance to go to another level. Ultimately, that is my job. That is my position. That is what I have to do and I did it."