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Inside The Coaching Staff: Jim Turner

Posted Feb 28, 2012

Every offense needs to be solid up front in the offensive line in order to produce in the passing game and the running game, which is why the offensive line coach is a critical member of the staff.

Offensive coordinator Mike Sherman knows that axiom well, which is why he brought Jim Turner with him from Texas A&M. Turner was Sherman’s O-line coach the last four years at A&M when he was head coach. In our continuing series looking deeper into the new members of Head Coach Joe Philbin’s staff, we introduce you to Turner and his unique journey to the National Football League.

NFL Coaching Experience: This is Turner’s first job in the NFL but his second in the professional ranks. Back in 1989, two years after graduating from Boston College and one year after coaching his high school alma mater of Braintree (Mass.) High, Turner served as the offensive coordinator and was a player/coach in London, England with the Kent Rams.

College Coaching Experience: From 1994-98, Turner was on the staff at Northeastern University. He coached the offensive line and tight ends the first two years before switching to running backs and tight ends in 1996. His final two years (1997-98) were spent on the other side of the ball coaching the defensive line. Turner moved onto Louisiana Tech in 1999 as an offensive line coach and then jumped to the Ivy League where he was the offensive line/run game coordinator at Harvard University from 2000-02. Temple University came calling after that and had him as the offensive line coach from 2003-04. Turner took over as offensive line coach at the University of Delaware in 2005 and added the duties of assistant head coach and recruiting coordinator in 2006. He spent the 2007 season at his college alma mater in Chestnut Hill, Boston College, as offensive line coach before joining Sherman’s staff at Texas A&M from 2008-11 as offensive line coach.

Playing Career Summary: Turner played fullback in college for BC legend Jack Bicknell and was a three-year letterman from 1986-88. He was named a team captain as a senior and helped lead the Eagles to three consecutive bowls – the Liberty Bowl, Cotton Bowl and Hall of Fame Bowl. Then he played that one season overseas in England in 1989 for the Kent Rams.

Did You Know?: The reason there is a four-year gap in Turner’s coaching resume from 1990-94 is because he served in the United States Marine Corps as an infantry officer. During his tour of duty he did deployments in Europe, the Middle East and Japan. “As far as being a football coach and preparing to be a football coach, I don’t think there’s any greater experience that I’ve had in my life than my four years in the Marine Corps,” he said. “That experience and everything that came with that experience was absolutely incredible. I equate it to this. I would say being a lieutenant in the infantry is probably the equivalent of being the quarterback and the offensive coordinator at the same time. So you’re on the field and you’re coaching at the same time and the challenges are a little bit different. But in the end, and I say this to the players when I coach them, in the end you’re doing the same thing. Just the degree of difficulty is a little bit different of course, but you’re really doing the same thing. So that was a great experience for me.”

By The Numbers: Turner put together one of college football’s most dominant offensive lines at Texas A&M as in 2011 the Aggies led the nation in fewest sacks allowed, giving up just eight in a 12-game season. That unit helped Texas A&M’s running attack achieve a ranking of 21st in the nation. … At Delaware, the Blue Hens thrived under Turner’s tutelage with offensive tackle Mike Byrne earning All-Atlantic 10 honors in 2006. In 2005, Delaware’s line allowed just 13 sacks and tackle Brian Sims earned second team All-Atlantic 10 honors. … Turner’s second season at Harvard in 2001 was a memorable won as the Crimson finished 9-0 and won the Ivy League crown, while Harvard’s 2000 offense set 17 school records.

Dolphins Connections: Turner’s only connections to the Dolphins are his current ones with Sherman, having coached with him for the previous four years, and with Philbin as they were on the same staff together at Northeastern from 1995-96.

Off The Field: “I’m married to my wife, Trish, and I have a four-year-old son, Mike. I can guarantee you after running around some of these fields with my son Mikey for the last four years; he’s not going to be a running back. He’ll definitely be an offensive lineman so he’s in the right household for that. When I do get time off from football, and any football coach will tell you this, you’re going to spend time with your family. If you’ve ever seen me golf it’s an absolute horror show so that’s not a good idea for me, so I usually go home and spend time with the Mike.”

Turner On His Coaching Philosophy: “I think a lot of times when you try and talk philosophy, and I know from my time in the Marine Corps as a lieutenant and my time as a coach, the more time you spend being wordy with things like that the more difficult they become. So I just try and keep it simple and really it is. We’re all saying the same think on every team, some people just say it differently. In football you play hard, you play physical and you play smart and it’s that simple. And if you do those things and you have good players doing it and you point them in the right direction and they do that, they play hard, physical and smart, then they’re going to play well. You set expectations for people and I’ve read expectations as a player myself in college and as a coach for the last seven jobs that I’ve had. If your expectations or what you lay out as a philosophy is over five lines they’re not going to remember any of it. So again I think it’s real simple. I think it really comes down to just that. I think whether you’re in college or the NFL if you bring in the right players and you get them to play hard, you get them to play physical and you get them to play smart you’re probably going to do pretty well.”

Turner On Joining The Dolphins: “First of all I’m really excited to be here and look forward to all the things Coach Philbin referred to in terms of the challenges of coaching in the NFL and coaching here with the Dolphins. Coaching under Mike Sherman the last four years, obviously I got a great introduction to the NFL and the system that Mike put together at Texas A&M and all the expectations of him as an offensive coordinator in the last four years. I’ve also had a chance to work with Joe Philbin and of course the philosophies are similar as far as handling players and as far as an offensive system and how we coach the offensive line. I think the biggest challenge for me is my direct boss, the OC, is a line coach and the head coach is a line coach, but I know working for Coach Sherman the last four years at Texas A&M, being a line coach for him was something that I enjoyed obviously or I wouldn’t have taken this job. So I enjoy that role and I look forward to it.”
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