The Vikings officially introduced Kevin O’Connell today as the 10th head coach in the history of the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday with a formal press conference and Q&A period with local Vikings beat reporters at TCO Performance Center. There is a lot to glean from that press conference, in which O’Connell presented a blueprint for what he’s looking to do as head coach of the Vikings. More so than a GM, a head coach often sets the tone and culture of the team around him. But both Vikings’ GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and head coach Kevin O’Connell emphasized collaboration, and their common vision for the team.
Like Kwesi Adofo-Mensah before him, O’Connell was very well spoken and articulate about his vision for the team, providing thoughtful answers on a variety of questions easily and fluidly.
Here is the full transcript of Kevin O’Connell’s remarks during his first press conference as head coach of the Minnesota Vikings, followed by a video link to the press conference on YouTube.
KOC: I want to thank everyone for being here today, obviously it means so much to me to have so many members of this organization, both ownership, former players, the media that will support us in what we do, coaches, fellow coaches that have come in already, it’s such an unbelievable opportunity for me to be sitting up in front of you today. I’m incredibly humbled by this to know you get the opportunity to lead an organization, an organization that has tremendous history, an organization that’s had tremendous success- on the field and in this community. I first want to thank Zygi, Mark and Lenny Wilf, the entire Wilf family, the search committee, that obviously had such an impact on me with some of the connections I was able to make very very quickly, the entire Vikings organization, many of whom I’ve gotten a chance to meet here already today - it seems like such a special collection of people, of leaders, of human beings that are ready to communicate a shared vision to everybody in this organization and help deliver that message both inside this building and outside this building.
I’ve experienced firsthand how passionate Vikings fans are. I’ve been on the visiting sideline of US Bank stadium twice, and I can tell you it’s one of the hardest venues to play, especially for an opposing offense, in all of the NFL stadiums I’ve been to. But the stadium is great, but it’s the fans that make up the crowd at US Bank stadium is what will mean the most to me, knowing how passionate and how much they care, you care, about us playing great football, competing at the highest level, and trying to win every game we play, and trying to win championships here is the goal, but it takes a great fan base to do that - it really does. It takes great ownership, and I’ve felt connected from our very first Zoom call, with the entire Wilf family, members of the front office, obviously Kwesi and our ability to connect from day one- we’ll get into that in a second- but just an unbelievable opportunity.
There is so much to draw- so much to be drawn from the opportunity for me, like I said the amazing ownership, there is a very talented roster already in place here, a lot of really, really good football players that will play- that have played- at a high level and I’m so excited both in all three phases- offense, defense and special teams- to get to work with these guys and help put them in the best possible situation to have success. We’re sitting in an unbelievable facility right now, and I can tell you around the NFL buildings like this are not the norm. It’s an incredible, incredible place to come to work everyday, it provides an unbelievable atmosphere to develop a culture that’ll be very, very important to me but the facility here is one that you guys the Wilfs should be very proud of, and it is something that gives us a great chance to have a winning edge to go to work everyday.
The chance to partner with Kwesi was one of the huge draws to this job. Once I found out that you were going to be the general manager, I too remember that second interview out in LA, and getting the opportunity to kind of, in the interview process sometimes you end of talking about things that are very, very important. Culture. Team. What you want the organization to look like. What are the important things that you’ll draw upon from things you’ve done in other organizations with success, and some where you’ve learned how you might not want to do things. But when we got to talking football, we got to talking our shared core visions of what we want our football team to look like. It’s our job to take the team we put together, put it on the field and best execute game plans and put them in positions to have success, but there’s gotta be collaboration. That’s the number one thing that I think we’ve talked about, that we’re so excited about through the process of getting to know each other from day one, that we’re gonna be able to collaborate, communicate with one another, and build a culture here that the players will feel. Feel a connectedness between obviously your (Kwesi’s) staff, our coaching staff, and that will only lead to the players feeling as connected as they’ve ever been to a coaching staff before. It’s one of my main goals and I cannot wait to get going with our football team.
My coaching style is built on some real core foundational values. I choose to be as consistent as possible. You win, you lose, you do a lotta things in this league, but if you’re consistent in your approach, and your process, it is very easy to come to work on Monday and figure out how to make things better. Figure out how to go win the next football game- if you struggled the previous week go fix it. But you do that through your process that’s been in place well before you’ve faced that adversity. I think it’s important to have a relentless passion to teach, lead and motivate. Because that’s what we are in it’s truest form- we’re teachers, we’re motivators, and we’re leaders. And if we’re able to connect with our players they become the same and everything can take off from there.
Consistency is in everything that we do in this league. It’s too hard to win it’s too hard with the challenges you face throughout a season to not allow your players to see the same exact guy standing up in front of them every single day. It’ll be a hallmark of what I want to do here as my first time being a head coach. I think we’ll set a tone and create a culture where players will want to be around us. They’ll wanna be around their coaches, they’ll wanna be in the building- this special, special facility is only special if there’s players working inside it on a daily basis to have the success that we’re gonna help them have.
I’ve talked to a handful of players already, and I can’t wait to get started with these guys when the rules allow, but I can tell you these guys are excited to get going, they’re excited to meet the coaching staff we’re in the process of putting together. I’m so excited about the guys we’ve already been able to get on our staff and put those guys in positions to impact our players just like I’ve been able to many times by the great head coaches that I’ve worked for. We’ll finish out that process as quick as possible, and then move on and catch up with the rest of the league in implementing our systems, teaching our systems to our coaches, so those guys can then go transfer that information to their players when they come back.
To Vikings fans I just want to let you know that you’ll get everything I absolutely have on an every single day basis. Knowing how hard it is to win in this league, and coming from an organization that we were able to accomplish the ultimate goal in winning a Super Bowl, I know what it takes. I’ve seen it. I’ve experienced it, and I know how hard it can be, but if you’ve got the right kind of people with you, the right ownership, the right leadership structure with you, and I know we have the right kind of players in this building already, we can accomplish a lotta, lotta really special things.
I want to acknowledge the strong history of this organization real quick. We’ve got some legends in attendance today. Legendary coach Bud Grant, Randall McDaniel, John Randle - two Hall of Famers that I have so much respect for. Scott Studwell- I’ve just spent some time in my office with, and hopefully we get him back around the facility a little bit more now that we’ve moving on from some of the difficult times we’ve experienced the past couple years. I’ve asked him if he’d been a part of the first tackling circuit cause he looks like he could still tackle most of the guys on our roster. And obviously Pete Bercich, who’s not in here right now, but who’s a major part of our alumni, and a big part of what we want to have. We want as much of the former Vikings greats - the alumni- to be a part of what we do here, we want them back around our players, when you have such a great culture, and history to an organization, that makes it all the better if you can connect both the current and former parts of what makes this organization so special.
I do want to take a moment to thank the Los Angeles Rams, the leadership structure there from Mr. Kroenke, Kevin Demoff, Les Snead, and then especially head football coach Sean McVay. He’s had a huge impact on me the last two years, but even going back beyond that, I’ve learned so much from him about the team and culture that I want to build, but he is truly a remarkable man, a remarkable leader, and I hope to bring a lot of those characteristics to our football team here that he’s instilled that just helped us win a world championship.
Lastly, I want to thank my family. My beautiful wife Leah, my son Caden, my daughter Quinn, my son Kolten. I’ve put you guys through a lot the past 6-7 years. You guys have sacrificed so much, and it’s led us to this day, where we get to sit here, I’m going to try not to get emotional but, we get to sit here and look at each other and know that you guys have been every bit a part of getting us to this moment. Leah, you’re going to be an unbelievable head football coach’s wife, I can’t wait to see you connect with not only our team, ownership, but this community, it’s going to be a special thing for me to watch. My Mom and Dad, Bill and Suzanne, you guys have been there every step of the way, we’ve got to experience a lot of things over the past week or so, a lot of job, and I couldn’t imagine doing it without you, I love you so very much. Leah’s parents Kit and Becky, absolutely loved having you part of this journey with us, and your support, Kit being a former player and a coach yourself, your support has meant the world to me, and I take with me all the conversations we’ve had over the years, you mean the absolute world to me. Tracy Armstrong, my agent, you’re part of the family now, always have been from day one, just such a mentor for me and that’s just such a special relationship for me as well.
I hope the message of my excitement and my enthusiasm comes through, but I can tell you first hand I cannot wait, from the moment this press conference ends, we’re going upstairs and we’re getting started finishing our staff like I said, and then we’ll get to implementing all the great things we’re going to do here. But with that, I think we can open it up to questions.
Q: You guys talk about that first meeting and setting the tone. What will that first meeting look like and what tone will you try to set when you finally got those 53 or those 83 players in the room?
KOC: Yeah, I think that’s a really great question, I really do. I’ve thought a lot about that meeting, luckily we’ve got a few more days ‘til that will happen, but first and foremost you’ve got to establish what your football philosophy and culture is going to be. I’m talking on the field, the type of team we want to be, the type of characteristics we want to have as a team, the things that matter in our preparation, the things that matter in how our players will absorb the systems that we’re going to implement, and then trying to go win football games starts from day one when you talk about consistency of communication and collaborating with those guys. They gotta know we care about ‘em from day one. I will not hire a coach that will not connect on a one-on-one basis with their players, in their rooms, it’s very, very important, but our players will feel that from the first meeting all the way through our first time getting on the grass, into training camp and on into the season.
Q: When you were going through the interview process, how did you sell ownership and everyone that was a part of the committee, on how Kirk Cousins is going to fit your vision, and what he can do in this offense to bring this team a championship?
KOC: Well Courtney, I think Kirk’s played at a very high level, and he’s done a lot of really good things throughout his career. I know who he is as a player, and I know what he’s capable of, and part of our job as coaches is maximizing a player’s ability to go out every single Sunday and have success, so I feel that’s going to be an advantage for us as we build our system offensively, make sure we really focus on the things that Kirk does well, which I do think are a lot of aspects of playing the position, and help him. Help him on a daily basis connect with his team, lead us, be completely a quieted mind quarterback that can go play because he’s talented enough to go do that, and put him in the best possible positions to have success.
Q: I’ll follow up on Cousins, I’ll ask you Kevin and Kwesi as well, can you guys, with all the rumors swirling around, can you say that Kirk Cousins will definitely be the Vikings quarterback in 2022?
KOC: Well I know he’s under contract and I’m excited to coach him, we’ve already started thinking about how we’re gonna build those systems for him, and our other quarterbacks, and our tremendous skill group we have, our guys up front, I mean it takes all eleven to move the football on offense, to run it, to throw it, to score points in the red zone, but I’m anticipating Kirk being a part of what we do.
KAM: Just to reiterate that I’m excited that he’s excited to coach him, and lead him, and we’re focused on building the team around him, that sets us up to succeed as best we can.
Q: Do you plan on calling the offensive plays, and if so how would your career as a player and a coach prepare you for that role?
KOC: Thank you for the question. Yes, I do plan on calling the plays. I think it’s funny you ask that because I’ve used this joke before, but my career as a player provided a great platform for me as a coach because I did spend a lot of time watching games from the sideline. But I will say that, you know with that comes the ability to see the game in way that I feel very prepared to call the game, I feel like I’ve been around one of the best play callers in the NFL for the last couple years, and obviously the system we run here will have a lot of characteristics of what we did in Los Angeles, the ability to have that attacking mindset, the ability to utilize our offense at the line of scrimmage, and with that, you know, becomes you have to have ownership of what you’re doing to call it, you have to have ownership of what you’re doing at the quarterback position to run the offense, and I feel very strongly about the circumstances, the situation here to be really prepared to do that.
Q: What are some of the things when you were a player, that you learned about connecting, or being disconnected with coaches that are sort of on your mind now as you’re in that role, and you’re trying to do the reverse?
KOC: Yeah Dave that’s a great question because it’s something I think about a lot now that I’m this side of it. The best coaches I ever had I felt like they cared about me. I felt like they cared not only about the production on the field, but the process at which we got to that point. I was always a player that needed to improve in something, and when coaches took the time to not only tell me what I didn’t do well, but show me how to fix those problems, or at least go about the process of improving. And I think ultimately that’s what we are is coaches. Identify things you think can help a player do better, but more importantly give them the why and how of how they’re going to get to do that. I think that’s what makes the greatest coaches in this league who they are. Playcalling and all that other stuff is great, but in its purest form, you can teach the game, teach them what you’re asking them to do, understand how hard it is some of the things you ask these players to do sometimes, but then give them the why, and give them a reason behind everything you do, these players will take off, and they’ll go run with it, and player ownership is ultimately what we’re striving for.
Q: You coached Stafford for a year, you coached Kirk for a year. Wondering what similarities do they have if any, and what differences, if any, do they have?
KOC: Yeah Mark they have a lot of similarities when it comes to the physical nature of throwing the football. I think those guys are elite throwers. Accuracy is the number one requirement in this league as a quarterback from a physical standpoint. We can talk a lot about makeup, and obviously the ability to process at the line of scrimmage, and play fast, but if you can’t be accurate with the football, it becomes very difficult to consistently move the ball for an offense. And I think Kirk, the one thing I’ve always noticed about him, is he’s incredibly accurate with the football, he plays with great rhythm and timing, and precision, and I think we can build an offensive system, like we had in LA, to take advantage of that skillset. Matthew Stafford’s one of the most talented players I’ve ever been around, so much respect for him obviously from a physical standpoint, but also that makeup and that ability to process, do a lot of things at the line of scrimmage, and I see Kirk being able to do a lot of those things, and I see us being able to build an offense on what he does best, which happens to be what a lot of quarterbacks want to do best, a quarterback-friendly system, where they can have an attacking mindset, aggressive mindset, but I use this term a lot, on our terms. On our terms to go play the game the way we want to play it, and keep it on our terms, and when it’s time to go make plays our guys feel really good about going to do that.
Q: How long have you been thinking of becoming a head coach? It’s well stated you’re 36 years old, how did you talk the selection committee into saying you’re ready?
KOC: Well I think that’s a good question Joe because in the end to truly get someone to commit to you for this type of opportunity, you better truly feel you’re ready. And I do. I do absolutely like I’ve been building up to this opportunity for a long time in my career- both as a player and a coach- I’ve not wasted a moment to absorb some of the great coaching and players that I’ve been around, I think you can pull from a lot of people over your career, things that will allow you to be the best possible version of yourself as a coach. I think if you’re not doing those things that’s the type of arrogance that will not only lose football games, but it will force you to lose a job every now and then. You got to be able to rely on those around you, you got to absorb the best parts of the leaders that you’ve been around, and in the end, you’ve got to be yourself. You got to be authentic, you got to be real, and the good thing is that I believe wholeheartedly that I’m ready for this opportunity, I believe from a fundamental standpoint teaching the systems that I want to run in all three phases will be incredibly competitive, and ultimately I think it was about finding the right organization because I do think, it’s been said before, I do think you win with your people. Players, coaches, ownership, staff, the leadership structure here, everything is in place for me to feel great about not only my readiness, but my ability to go implement a plan and a culture that I want to do.
Q: A lot of people associated with Sean McVay and Kyle Shanahan have used the phrase ‘illusion of complexity.’ Is that in your lexicon, what does it mean, how does it help?
KOC: It is. It is and what does it really mean in its purest form- we’re doing a lot of things that are simple for us, but maybe a little more difficult for a defense to defend. You know, simple as things starting out looking the same but are different, that illusion of complexity where teams think that there’s a lot of offense that they’re defending, but we’re only small details here and there just to change the picture, change angles, give ourselves an advantage wherever we see fit, both from the run game, and in the pass game, using tempo as a weapon, things people have seen our offense do in LA that they’ll absolutely see our offense do here in Minnesota.
Q: You’ve obviously talked a lot about the offensive side of the ball, I’m curious if you have a vision along with Ed, on what you’re going to be doing on defense, and who are some players on the roster that get you excited about that side of the ball as well?
KOC: Yeah I definitely have a vision of what I want the defense to look like and play like. First and foremost, is the core characteristics of playing defense, which is guys flying around, great tackling group, we’re going to force turnovers with how we play from a scheme standpoint, but that’s an effort, that’s an effort thing, playing with great effort. Sustaining that, finishing plays, making it about the football. That’s part of our core football philosophy. Number one first and foremost is it's all about the ball. I think you lose games turning it over as an offense in this league before you ever give yourself a chance to win them. But defensively, the greatest defenses in this league not only stop people, but they take the ball away. And that will be a huge part of what Ed, and our defensive staff tries to build from day one here. I think from a coverage standpoint, what really drew me to Ed Donatell was his ability to teach a system that I know is very hard to play against- as a quarterback and as an offensive coach. I’ve experienced it in Los Angeles, there’s definitely different forms of it going around the league right now, but obviously Ed’s experience with Vic Fangio, and his connection from that system, is something that really drew me to him, and then obviously the person that he is was huge for me.
But as far as our players go, I see impactful players at all three levels, I really do. Starting in the back end with Harrison Smith, I think he’s the perfect player for the defensive structure we want to play, from the standpoint of the coverage, how we want to make all things look the same, he’s got great length, he’s got great instincts, he’s going to be a problem for people in the middle of the field and around the line of scrimmage- and he really always has been speaking from experience. Obviously with the linebackers, Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr, those guys have long since been huge issues in this league for people defensively. I think there’s ways to use those guys and allow them to play with an attacking mindset while they’re still responsible for the things they’re responsible for defensively, and then I think we’ve got players both internal, and on the edges that defensively, defensive line-wise, that can impact the quarterback. But when that all works together, when coverage can make it cloudy for the quarterback, when that rush is one more step closer to getting home, and those ‘backers are doing everything they can to force negative runs on early downs, and finish plays in the pass game, it can be a beautiful thing and that’s what we’re hunting from a defensive system, and then the schematics from there week-in and week-out we’re going to game plan in a way to take away what an opponent does best.
Q: To kinda follow-up on the defensive side of things, what do you anticipate the scheme looking like, and specifically is a three-man front something you’re planning to run here in Minnesota?
KOC: Yeah, I think from a base standpoint you could look at it that way. But I think someone threw out the stat to me the other day, with everyone really living in eleven personnel nowadays, I think depending on the defense you talk to 81% of the time they’re in nickel defense which essentially is just a 4-3 with a nickel, a 5th DB I should say, instead of a linebacker. So, a lot of times, a big thing and kind of going off the last question there, a big thing is being multiple with your fronts. Because I know as an offensive coach if we know where you’re going to be, we know where you’re going to lineup, that makes it pretty easy, at least to design things to attack angles, understand how you’re going to run the ball, how you’re going to protect. But when you change that picture and your forcing opponents to deal with multiple fronts during a game, during a drive in some cases, that can be a real weapon for a defense, pairing that with some really good things on the back end - that’s kind of what we’re hunting.
Q: Can you share with us the difficulty, not just in what you just achieved, winning a world championship, but to pursue your dream to become a head coach, and to have two jobs literally, talk about the good and the bad, and how you were able to do it?
KOC: Quite honestly, it was one of the more challenging months of my life going back to when the playoffs first started, but probably one of the most rewarding Larry, it really was. And I think through that whole process the one thing I always wanted to maintain was my focus on the task at hand, which was week-in and week-out, trying to win playoff games in this league is tough. Especially versus opponents you’ve already played, the preparation can be that much more challenging when you’ve played a team in some cases twice already, like we had with Arizona and San Francisco, we had already played the Buccaneers one time, and obviously we’re playing the Bengals for the first time in our last game that we would possibly play this year so it was an incredible challenge but I can tell you my number one challenge was on winning that next game, winning the next game. I kept talking to our quarterbacks about each individual aspect about winning the next game was all that mattered. Our preparation would lead us to giving an opportunity to play with a quieted mind and have success, and I was talking to myself as much as anybody, it was about maintaining that process that we had from the beginning of training camp, and in the end it was about going out and doing everything we could to try to win those football games. But it was challenging because you know, especially as of late recently, you know this great opportunity that’s out in front of you, and that’s where I really relied on the collaboration with Kwesi and the rest of the organization here, to obviously carry out the vision that we started talking about during the interview process. I think that’s why the interview process is a special time because if you’re truly meaning what you say, and you truly believe in what you say, and that’s truly your vision for how you want your staff to look, the culture to be built, you feel comfortable for others to start to carry out that vision for you, and they’ve been phenomenal here, supporting me throughout that whole time leading up to, and past the Super Bowl, but I can tell you when I got here last night, when my family and I arrived, there’s nobody more excited to turn the page and get going than me.
Q: When Kwesi was introduced, he mentioned that he didn’t quite like being known as ‘the analytics guy’ even if that’s followed him for a long time, but I guess I’m curious from your end how do you view analytics as fitting into the head coach’s role?
KOC: I think it’s an incredible tool that we have at our disposal. It’s a weapon if it’s used the right way, but you got to have people to help you. I think when you’re a football coach the number one thing sometimes that can be challenge is dealing with too much information sometimes. And we’ve already had great dialogue about that. He’s got a great way of presenting that information, he’s had success doing it in front of some really, really great football coaches he’s worked with, but presenting that information in a way that it can be used as a winning edge for an organization. And we can collaborate and work together, using the tools that we’ll have, and analytics is definitely going to be one of them, I think we can be the best possible version of the Minnesota Vikings that we can be, combining that with some of the other things we’ll want to do as an organization.
Q: Kwesi and Kevin you talk about collaboration, here comes the draft, here comes free agency, you may want to start this Kwesi, how do you two work together in partnership on those plateaus?
KAM: Side-by-side. We talk about a shared vision a lot. You know we talked about it during the interview process, we talked about last night, you know that’s what we’re about. We know where we’re trying to get to, and it’s just about where you are now and figuring out the next steps to get there. And that involves him being right next to me, understanding every step of the way, what we’re trying to accomplish, what moves, what are the highest lever points you can take to get where you want to go. That’s what excites me the most about it, I want to be pushed, I don’t think I have every answer, just like the people I surround myself, he’s going to be one of them, we want to push each other, come up to the best decision, build consensus, and end up where we want to be.
Q: Collaboration is a word that’s been used a lot throughout the process, how much do you take into account maybe in the previous regime, and how the players felt maybe that collaboration fell short, or do you simply just turn the page and not talk about the past at all?
KOC: Yeah I don’t think that’s something I can spend a lot of time thinking about, just knowing the opportunity in front of us, I think the word collaboration speaks to the two guys you see sitting in front on you and I think our doing our job for the people who work for us and our coaching staff, our personnel staff, we be letting those guys feel that immediate connection to between the two of us, which will only allow our groups to connect, and then before you know it the players will be back in this building, and they’re going to be the number one people, the number one group that feels that connection and collaboration, because it really is a thing I know the word has been used a lot, but it’s being used a lot for a reason, and I hope that people and fans understand that we both believe in it, we both have that shared vision, and I’ve been a part of something and I know he has too, where when it’s existed, a lot of really good things can happen.
Q: You look at the advanced analytics, and they indicate that running the football is not as efficient as throwing the football, but talk to players and coaches and it’s the physical and mental aspect of running the ball and kinda imposing your will. How do you view the importance of successful running game in the modern NFL?
KOC: Yeah I think it’s about balance. I think it’s about understanding, clearly, how you want to go win a football game each and every Sunday. You don’t play against every opponent the same way. You’ve got your core, foundational aspects of your offensive system, the run game and how you run the football, is certainly a huge part of that, and you want to be able to, as you said, to impose your will. You’re going to want to run the football, because there’s going to be times you have to, the way defenses want to defend your pass game. We use the term they’re daring us to run it, we got to be able to do it, we got to move people up front. We got a really, really good running back here, that we got to put in positions to use his skillset and have a lot of success, and I feel really, really good about how to plan to do that, but running the football and the marriage with the right kind of pass game is what makes an offensive system what it is. We’ve talked about that term illusion of complexity, you got to be able to do both, you got to have balance because if defenses have to defend both things, and they don’t know it’s either/or until long after they would like, we got an advantage right there to go do a lot of things on that particular snap that’ll help us go score points on that drive.
Q: You mentioned culture a lot in your opening statements. What was it about the Rams culture that allows for such success, and how do you plan to bring that specifically here to the Vikings?
KOC: Yeah that’s a culture built on players and coaches being connected. The communication that exists in that building, coach to coach, player to coach, coach to player, is second to none and it provides a platform for everyone to feel they have the ownership of the why. That’s what goes on in that building. From top down, the why is being explained on a daily basis, players are taking that information, having ownership of it, then when they go out on Sundays, it’s really about them. It’s really about them being put in positions to play with a quieted mind and go never be asked to do things that they’re not capable of, but if we’re doing the right things offensively and defensively, and on special teams, we get the right kind of players which I feel we have already and we’re going to add a lot more, we’ll have a great chance to coach those guys up and let them go do exactly that each and every Sunday, but it starts with that culture, it starts with the ability to have the players feel that, that connectedness in the building, we’re going to starting to try to build that from day one here, together, and when we do that I think our players will feel it, and they’ll be ready to roll.
Q: You talked about building yourself up to be a head coach and to take that step. What is the biggest step from being an assistant coach, to head coach, in your mind?
KOC: Yeah I think you’re in a supportive role for everyone in the building in a lot of ways, except for the head coach, when you’re an offensive coordinator or one of the position coaches on the staff. And now I’m that person in that role where I’ll rely on a lot of the coaches and on great people around me, just like a lot of the great coaches I’ve worked for have relied on me. And that’s one thing I’ve always taken away from it is truly, when the entire group is connected, you can rely on one another. But make no mistake about it I’m excited to stand out in front of this group, I’m excited to stand in front of this team, lead from the front, and they’re going to get my best every single day and they’ll feel that, and in the end, you know, I want these players to know that I’ll care about them, they’ll get my best every day like I said, and we’re going to put them in great positions to go out and have success.
Q: You talk about how this team has a lot of talented players and there are a lot of pieces in place. Do you feel that this is a team that’s all that far away from achieving its ultimate goal?
KOC: I don’t. I really don’t. We’ve talked a lot about that. That’s one of the things that you look for when you get these opportunities, is where is this current team at? And then obviously what type of plan can we put in place to go accomplish the goals that we want to accomplish. I think there’s a lot of reasons- you just said it- you know on both sides of the ball, that make me really excited about implementing systems and the processes that we’re going to implement, that these guys can take as players and run with. Can’t wait to see the leadership of this group, I think there’s great leadership on this team already, but be put in a position hopefully to take this thing over, have that player-led ownership of a team, let those guys go lead the rest of that locker room and then I see us really growing this thing day-by-day together. I really do.
Once again, thank you for coming out I really appreciate it and love to my family over there. Love you guys.