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Duffner: I'm Excited About The Young Talent

Posted Jan 21, 2014

New Dolphins linebackers coach conducts a conference call with reporters to share his thoughts after joining the Dolphins coaching staff.

(Opening statement) – “Thank you very much. I appreciate it. Boy, what technology can do is unbelievable here, but it’s a pleasure to visit with you men tonight. I first would just like to thank the Jaguars and the Jaguars organization, their head coach Gus Bradley and the owner Shahid Khan, the (general manager) David Caldwell for all that they’ve done for me and the opportunity I’ve had to be with that organization this past year, and also the players and the rest of the coaching staff here. What a great, great group, certainly one I enjoyed the privilege to work with. I’m just now very excited to join the Dolphins franchise and to be a part of a staff I think is working really hard to move that program in the right direction. It’s something I’m very excited and anxious to get on with.”

(On what was the biggest selling point for him on this job) – “I have great respect for the work that I’ve seen that Coach (Joe) Philbin and this staff have already established in the Dolphins program up to this point. I know from previous association and just again from observation that they are doing things I think the right way. I’m excited about some of the young talent they’ve assembled there, and geez how they played really this year. They had a tough end at the end, but really played well. I’m excited about what I see in the future there and part of a good defense I think is developing, and I’m going to work hard to help it get better.”

(On if he was Kevin Coyle’s defensive coordinator when the two worked in Cincinnati) – “Yeah, I was the defensive coordinator there in Cincinnati in 2001 and 2002. I coached there for six years, and Coach (Kevin) Coyle joined our staff in 2001.”

(On how his familiarity with Joe Philbin and Kevin Coyle will help him with the job and if the familiarity helped him get the job) – “Well I think first and foremost my familiarity with them, I’ve observed them coaching at all of the different stops that they had and recognized really how well their players played and also with the emotion and enthusiasm that they played with. So I know they are very good teachers, and I know that they do things the way I think they need to be done fundamentally. So observation of their product, if you will, is one thing I’ve had great admiration for. Whether that has been part of how I got this position, you would have to ask them I think. But I think I know they believe in the fundamentals. I know they believe in teams that play hard, play fast and play together. Those are the things I’m going to certainly try to do to help contribute to the program there.”

(On what the highlight of his time with the Jaguars was) – “Oh shoot, do you have a day or two to talk about it? No, I’ve had many, many great experiences with the Jaguars, just a privilege to work with those players, the Mike Peterson’s, the Daryl Smith’s, the Paul Posluszny’s, I mean directly as linebackers coach, but also with all the rest of the players exposure to Mojo (Maurice Jones-Drew) and all of these guys in terms of Brad Meester, the great core of the football team there, and then the people, the people in the organization with the Jaguars from Mr. (Wayne) Weaver and Mr. (Shahid) Khan, the owners, to the coaching staffs, Coach (Jack) Del Rio, Coach (Mike) Mularkey and certainly Coach (Gus) Bradley and the rest of this staff. What a phenomenal experience it was for me to really have an opportunity to work for and with this people and develop and improve my coaching. Heck, I didn’t really think I would ever leave there really. I just love the fans there, and it’s just a great, great experience for me.”

(On reaction to Jaguars linebacker Paul Posluszny getting the Pro Bowl invite) – “I’m just elated. This young man, he’s a consummate pro and has been an extremely productive player for the Jaguars and for us. I’m just so pleased that he got some of the attention that he deserved. He’s not out for that. He’s just out to help get this team get better. I’m just so happy for him to (have it) allowed to him to have the privilege to play in the best All-Star game in this league in the Pro Bowl. It’s just a great, great thing. I couldn’t be happier. Maybe Paul is a little bit happier. That may be all. It’s a great opportunity and a great privilege for him.”

(On Dolphins linebackers Dannell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler and how much he knows about them) – “I had the privilege to evaluate them as they were coming out of the collegiate players and then also observe them a little bit prior to their arrival in Miami. Dannell I think with Baltimore and Philip (Wheeler) I think in Indianapolis, we played them obviously twice a year in terms of the schedule with the Jaguars. They’re talented players and it’ll be my job and to really find ways to allow that talent to get better and better, to develop that talent, to maximize their ability to be contributors with the Dolphins in particular on defense and at the linebacker position. They are young guys that I’m excited to have to chance to coach and to teach.”

(On his best Kevin Coyle Holy Cross story) – “Again, I could spend a long time on that. I don’t know that you’ve got time for that story. One particular night, I’ll just tell you very quickly, after a long staff meeting in preparation for an upcoming game I wound up kind of hiding behind his car late of night and he came out with his work bags of notebooks and folders and I jumped out and terrified him. His notebooks and papers went flying and I couldn’t stop laughing for about three hours. That’s just kind of just between him and I guess, but it was a funny thing. What a great teacher as I said in watching his teams play, wherever he’s been they’ve been ranked. Not only have they been ranked but they’ve been a team that’s really going to show up in terms of fundamentals and effort and energy and those I think are the components you’re going to have to have in order to play good football, especially on defense.”

(On what did he learn about Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley this past year) – “I can tell you that I learned a lot. All of it very, very positive. I think he’s way ahead of his time in terms of his leadership skills which is what you’ve got to be I think to be to be a successful coach or to be a successful CEO or whatever the case may be. He’s a very well thought out, very organized, very positive person but with all that he also has excellent people skills. He has the ability to connect with not only groups but with players on an individual basis. He’s a very challenging coach to try to develop both the staff and the players to maximize their abilities. To really just focus in on taking each day and each task to get better and not complicating that mission or that charge if you will. I’m very impressed. I learned a lot from coach from a number of areas, not only from the X’s and O’s which I think he’s very good at but also from people management, people development and attitude development. I’m going to miss that but I’ve learned a lot from him and just think he’s got this thing going the right direction for sure.”

(On if there were philosophical differences between him and Gus Bradley in running the defense) – “No, not at all. In fact as I’ve said that some of the techniques and some of the fundamentals we have a lot of same as, or are in agreement with. There were also some things that I learned, each year I’ve learned a lot of football and thank God for that. Some of the ideas I’ve learned from coach I wish I’d had in my pocket in the past because I think they are very, very sound. No, not that at all, in fact to the contrary. In fact, a lot of the way he coaches football and tries to develop a football team are hand in hand with what my thoughts are. He certainly has a terrific approach on how to do it.”

(On adjustments in moving to the AFC East) – “Well I’m sure there will be some. As you evaluate and prepare for every opponent you try to certainly recognize the strengths of their football team, the who’s, the what’s and the how’s you are going to try and stop this team. I think even in the AFC South which we’ve played in on an annual basis, that plan and that preparation adjusted to the strengths of the talent that they had each and every year. Sure there’s going to be a lot to study and again I think that it’s going to come back to the team that executes, and execution is done by repetition and that’s done by fundamentals. Sometimes we can make it really complicated and I think that that’s the wrong road. I think the more we focus in on getting the team to be a better tackling and a better running and pursuing football team on defense that we are headed that way. Don’t put too much weight in the pockets of your players, let them play fast, play hard and play together.”

(On if he is in Mobile, if he will get there and how important it is to be a position coach evaluating players in Mobile) – “First of all I’m not in Mobile right now, I’m in Jacksonville. I was in Mobile but returned to get down to join the staff in Miami, which I’ll be there tomorrow morning. Anytime I think you take advantage of all the evaluation opportunities that you have to evaluate a player. Certainly if you see them in person, that’s a help. You can see if you can get close enough to observe their ability to follow directions in drills and the practice plan. I think that’s all good, but with the way technology is today with the video, all of that is filmed. Proper study of the film, the practices, the individual sessions, the drills and so forth, you get a great evaluation. It’s hard not to. Again, every opportunity you have to see a player whether it be on film and video or certainly to read the write-ups, consider all of that goes into getting to know the player the very best. Hopefully you get an opportunity to visit with them whether it be through the combine or through the workout process during the spring.”

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