One of the first big decisions with which Mangiero helped Flores was choosing a college, and it was Boston College that got the nod.
Flores earned four letters at BC and during that time (2000-03), the winning continued. In those four years, BC was 32-18, including a 4-0 record in bowl games. Flores was a key contributor on special teams as a junior, then played a hybrid linebacker/safety role as a senior.
Again, it didn’t take him long to impress his coach with his intangibles.
“He really had good football knowledge,” said Tom O’Brien, who coached 10 years at Boston College and six more at North Carolina State. “He was also really smart in the classroom. He’s one of those guys that got it all. He got both the football smarts and the school smarts. It’s very rare. Sometimes you get people like that in football. He played a heck of a lot for us his redshirt junior year and kind of really blossomed his senior year for us. He was second on the team in tackles his senior year, and pass breakups, hurries, sacks, the whole thing. He had an ability when he played that nickel back, hybrid linebacker spot for us out there to see the field. With this study, he had great anticipation and he made a lot of plays for us.”
One of his best friends on the team was guard Augie Hoffmann, who is now the head coach at Saint Joseph Regional High School in New Jersey.
As fate would have it, two of the players Hoffmann has coached are twins Jason and Devin McCourty, two key members of the New England secondary this season.
“He’s a genuine, genuine human being,” Hoffmann said. “We come from totally different backgrounds, but we clicked right away. You could just tell by the way he treats people, his friends being his extended family, just how important they are to him. My mom and dad absolutely adore him. They love him. They’ve loved him since we were in college. You could just tell that people are drawn to him. He’s very magnetic. People want to be around him because of the type of person that he is.
“It’s his dedication to doing things the right way. He never cut corners. He always did things the right way. He’s always been a guy that’s been level, never too high, never too low. That’s what made him a great player, and that’s what’s making him a great coach.”