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Inside The Coaching Staff: Jim Turner

Posted Feb 7, 2013

Each member of the Dolphins coaching staff has his own unique story which led him to the NFL. Today we learn how Jim Turner went from a blocking fullback at Boston College to his current position as the Dolphins offensive line coach.

What kind of player were you?

“Terrible. I only played because other guys were hurt. Here’s the greatest compliment I ever got. My head coach said one time – first I was angry when he said it but then when I thought about I figured I’d take it as a compliment – he said, ‘we’re always looking for someone bigger, we’re always looking for someone faster, we’re always looking for someone stronger but every time we line up he always ends up being the guy.’ It basically was a testament to my lack of abilities but my desire and my want to overcame all of that stuff. That to me kind of puts it together for me. I loved playing college football and I loved playing it with Troy (Stradford) and the guys I played with. Tom Coughlin was the offensive coordinator with Jack Bicknell as our head coach. I loved Cowboy Jack.”

What was your career highlight and why?

“I was there in Miami when (Doug) Flutie threw that ball. That was a big deal for all of us and that was a great day for us. That was a big one for me. We played against Georgia in the Hall of Fame Bowl with Vince Dooley as their head coach and we ended up beating them. They had some great players on that team. Kelvin Martin ended up catching the game-winning touchdown from Shawn Halloran. Those two moments are the highlights.”

How would you summarize your career?

“I would say inept. No, to summarize my career I’d have to say that I absolutely loved playing college football. I really can’t sum it up for you honestly other than to say that if college football was made for anybody it was me and that I loved playing. My time playing fullback, I was unselfish, dedicated and loved everything about it. I loved all the preparation that went into it, loved practicing, loved playing and I loved the quest to play. It’s true, my coaches were constantly trying to get me out there and now that I’m a coach I understand.”

How do you feel your experience as a player has helped you as a coach?

“When I look back at it, that constant challenging of me and that hanging over my head has really inspired me as a coach on how to motivate. When you’re coaching in college you can do it more than in the pros because in the pros guys are playing, but in college you can really motivate by holding playing time over people’s head. ‘Hey, if you don’t produce in practice I’m going to play that guy right behind you,’ because a lot of times in college the guy right behind you is close, and so you can really motivate that way. It really helped me, just knowing that your job’s always in jeopardy, it helped. It makes you better. In the pros you don’t have the depth do all of that, and in the pros these guys are so geared towards winning and the maturity level here is to the point where you really don’t need that in the pros. If you do need that you’re going to need a new player, so I really don’t experience that at the NFL level. The guys have been around for so long, it means so much to them and they’re getting paid to be professionals and that’s what they are.”

What was Troy Stradford like to block for and what was he like as a teammate at Boston College?

“I couldn’t be prouder than to mention that I was in the same backfield as him. You’re talking about legitimately one of the best backs I’ve ever seen with my own two eyes. He was just incredible, because I couldn’t block for squat. So if you could run the ball behind me as your fullback then you had to be a hell of a back. Seriously, this guy could do it all. He had great hands, he was fast, he was quick, he could run inside or outside and the thing about him was he was physically tough. He could run people over and I’d see him hit people at the goal line and I’d say to myself, ‘Oh my God, this guy can do it all.’ Rookies of the year don’t grow on trees and he had incredible talent. I love the kid. He was a great guy, a great player and not an ounce of ego in his body. He’s just a great human being. The first day I saw him sitting here when I came to work a rush of emotion came back to me because all of a sudden you blink and you’re 47-years-old and you look at him and you feel like you’re 19 again. I hadn’t seen him in years. It looks like he hasn’t changed a bit.”

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