|06-03-2005, 09:16 PM||#1|
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Arcadia, CA
RB Coach Bobby Turner Q&A
Friday, June 3, 2005
Running Backs Coach Bobby Turner Answers Your Questions!
For the last 10 seasons Bobby Turner has been the caretaker of the Broncos running backs. Under his watch Denver has had a 1,000-yard rusher in every season except for 2001. Five players have crossed the four-digit plateau with Terrell Davis achieving the milestone four times, including his 2,008-yard effort in 1998. Most recently it was Reuben Droughns, who gained 1,240 yards last year. The other three players to reach this standard are Olandis Gary, Mike Anderson and Clinton Portis.
Heading into 2005, Anderson is the only holdover of this group, but that is not to say there are no more names with the potential to be added to Denver's list of 1,000-yard runners. Tatum Bell showed flashes down the stretch of 2004.Quentin Griffin opened last season with an electrifying two-touchdown, 156-yard effort against the Chiefs before he was slowed by injuries. In the offseason the club added former Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne and it drafted former Ohio State Buckeye Maurice Clarett. Brandon Miree has worked his craft in NFL Europe and Kris Briggs and Cecil Sapp have remained in Denver to participate in the club's offseason workout and conditioning program.
As usual, Denver will have a stable of backs that it can turn to as training camp for the 2005 season looms. With the team's quarterback camp complete and its team camp underway, Turner took time to answer your questions about the running backs on this year's squad. Here's what he had to say:
Morris Felders; Virginia Beach, Va.
Does Maurice Clarett have a legitimate shot at making the final roster?
Yes, he has as good a chance of making the final roster as any other rookie that we've drafted and/or signed since I've been here in the last 10 years.
Matt Shaw; Spring Creek, Nev.
What do you think is the biggest thing this year that Maurice Clarett needs to do?
That's hard to answer after only being here the last few weeks, but the biggest thing with any player is to get oriented to the speed at the next level, whether it’s a high school player going to college or a college player coming here to the pros. Adjusting to the speed of the game is first and foremost. The second thing would be just for him to get back into football. It's just like taking a swimmer out of the water for a number of years or taking a runner off the track. He needs to get back into football.
Francis Guerrero, La.
Do you think that Tatum Bell has the ability to be an elite running back in the league?
Yes, he does have the ability. Does he need to improve in areas? Yes; he needs to improve his receiving skills, but whether he takes that next step or not is the question for a couple of reasons. No. 1, you have to be in the lineup and you have to be able to play every day. That's what separates the elite; they play every down and every game, whether Tatum can do that is yet to be seen. But that's why we drafted him because we thought he had that ability.
Will; Arvada, Colo.
How is Quentin Griffin coming along and what are the chances we would see him in the starting slot?
He is on schedule and he has a great attitude. We have competition here. That's why we draft and that's why we sign players in the offseason. Yes, there's a chance he could start, but he's going to have to compete just like every one of them. We don't give anything to anybody. When a player leaves the lineup, my job is to have the second, third and fourth guys ready. I coach them all to be the No. 1 back so that they all will be ready to take advantage of an opportunity.
John M.; Muisun City, Calif.
I was wondering when you evaluate players what do you think the most important quality is that one of your running backs has to have?
One of the things I look for is foot quickness and that doesn't mean timing. Some guys evaluate everything with a stopwatch, but I'm wondering if a guy can make another guy miss in the box. A guy also has to have toughness. He has to be able to catch the ball and all those things, but just to give you one, it is foot quickness.
Vince Vercillo; Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
How does a coach focus on helping all the running backs improve while keeping in mind that all of them have their own unique talents and abilities?
Because we teach and if we teach one area we're not just helping one of them, we're helping them all. We all have our weaknesses and we all have our strengths, but it's the ability to teach and their ability to learn and be good students. When I'm teaching one of them, yeah I may be teaching one player about his hand-eye coordination after practice, but when I'm teaching one of them, I'm also trying to teach all of them and they all should learn. It's not like I'm just taking one of them aside and talking to just him. When I'm talking to one of them, I'm talking to all of them and I want them all to be like sponges.
Dan Stezenko; Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
What do you expect from Mike Anderson this year? Do you anticipate him returning as the starter, or is he more likely to be a third down guy?
I'm very excited about Mike Anderson returning to the lineup. I expect not only Mike Anderson, but all of them to compete for the starting job. I expect all of my players to want to start and I want to have them all playing at a level that makes it so hard for us to determine who's going to start. I don't want it to be easy for us as coaches. But, I'm excited as heck to see Mike Anderson back out here and to see what he's done in the offseason to get himself back into playing shape and good condition. I'm real happy with his progress.
Patrick; Moore, Okla.
Who do you think will be starter for the Broncos this year and why?
Any one of them could be the starter. I want to get them to the point where it's tough for us to decide and at the end Coach Shanahan will make the decision.
Christian Vargas; Lakewood, Colo.
How do you get your running backs to drop their 40-yard dash times?
I don't dwell on that. I'm more focused on his football time, how fast he can get to the hole and his ability to make defenders miss in space. That's the time I look at, how fast he can get to and through that line of scrimmage.
Joe McCloud; Columbus, Ohio
What does it take to turn a young running back into a great running back?
It takes patience on both of our parts -- the coaches and the player. The player comes in and he thinks he's All-World. Then he comes in here to a new coaching staff and a new system. I'm from the old school; I don't want to be a guy's buddy. I just want to teach. I want guys working hard and being humble and that's what's going to separate them. If a guy is humble and he's willing to work, the bottom line is that we are forming a relationship and that relationship is one of trust and that's the whole key. That relationship and bonding leads to a respect and trust so that he's going to trust what I'm telling him and I'm going to trust him to get the job done. That's what helps make the leaps and bounds in growth happen. Now he's busting his tail for me and as a coach, I have to feel the same way about him so no matter what I'm telling him, no matter how backwards he may think it is, he's going to trust me. Then from that he plays within the team concept and he's not playing for himself, but for the team and it's a win-win for all parties -- he as the player, me as the coach and thus, us as a team.
Blake; Altoona, Pa.
If you had to pick one, who is the best running back you have coached and why?
I'm not answering that. I've been asked that a lot. I've coached great running backs here, but I've also coached Mike Alstott of Tampa Bay at Purdue. He was a pleasure to work with both on and off the field. There were a couple of guys I coached in college that were defensive backs that ended up going to the pros -- Wayne Davis and Vincent Glenn. I recruited and coached them at Indiana St. years ago before most of these guys were even born! Those guys jump out at me just like that, but a lot of people would think of the obvious guy being Terrell (Davis). I know and I can rank them No. 1, No 2 and No. 3 in various categories. I have my reasons, but that's something I would never share with anybody.
Tony; Denver, Colo.
Are you still looking to convert Cecil Sapp to fullback?
Yes, I am. All players want to be in the two-point stance, they all want to run the ball, they all want to play halfback, but it's a role he has accepted willingly and I'm real happy with his work habits right now and the way he's competing.
Phil; Memphis, Tenn.
Since Terrell Davis left the scene, Broncos' backs seem to have been pretty compact like Griffin and Bell. Are the Broncos trying to change the image of the backs they're trying to use by putting Anderson back at halfback and bringing in Ron Dayne and Maurice Clarett?
No, we're not trying to change our philosophy or what we look for, it just so happens that those backs are bigger. But they can run the ball, they have great running instincts. Ron Dayne was a Heisman Trophy winner and Maurice Clarett, when he was coming out of high school was the USA Today Offensive Player of the Year, thus those guys have running skills. The reason we're successful is because we look for the perfect fit. It's like a marriage. We look for certain things and players to fit our systems; we just can't put anybody back there. We're successful -- and people fail to see -- that we're looking for players to fit the system. Again, it's like a marriage, we're looking for the perfect fit and we found certain things in each of our players and those players were coachable and fit into our philosophy.
P. Slusser; Bartlett, Tenn.
Do you teach a running back to look for a hole in the line opening up or to key on an offensive lineman's left or right and have confidence that the hole will be there? It appears that Denver's runners almost always are at the point of the hole opening.
We teach players to run with their eyes. We teach players that one of their greatest assets is their eyes, their vision and they have to see the big picture. They have to see not only the hole but where their blocks are coming from and who's making the blocks. With running backs, a lot of people think that they just get the ball and run. They have to be knowledgeable. We teach them to run tracks, (most people say paths or courses, I use the word tracks). They have aiming points, keys and reads and it's an accumulation of all of that. They glance out there and once they own the offense and once they own the defensive structure, their minds become just like a camera, they can take a picture and then they let their running skills take over.
Nick Haegele; Kalispell, Mont.
If we already have Anderson, Griffin and Bell, why go out and get Ron Dayne, who has had a less than great career when, we know we have running backs that can get the job done?
We're never complacent here, that's the bottom line. We're always looking to bring in players that are willing to play. The thing with Ron Dayne is he still has a desire to play the game. He has a burning desire to play the game and he's going to come in and compete. That's why he's here.
Chad; Santa Maria, Calif.
Where did you start your coaching career and how did you end up in Denver?
I started my career years ago coaching freshman ball in high school, 30-something years ago. That's how I started. I had the freshman team. We had four coaches and I was fourth on the totem pole. I coached both sides of the ball, the offensive backfield and the secondary. Most people think I was a running back in high school, but I wasn't, I was a defensive back. I ended up here in Denver after being the offensive coordinator and assistant head coach at Purdue University and I also was coaching the running backs. Coach Shanahan was obviously looking for a running backs coach and he was doing his research and I ended up here. I came in for the interview, passed the interview and ended up here. I did not know Mike at the time. I've always tried to do the best job I could do wherever I was at and it paid off.
Josh Nikitow; Littleton, Colo.
Do you think Ron Dayne will thrive in our offense and if so, is it possible we will see a lot of action from him in the red zone this year?
I can't answer that question specifically for the red zone because we did not bring Ron Dayne in here for the red zone. We brought him in here to compete for the running back spot. We're looking for backs that can do everything. We didn't bring Ron Dayne in just as a role player or a spot player. He's competing along with the rest of those players for a spot on the team and the starting job and that right now is where my mindset is and where his mindset is. He's competing as a starter, just like the rest of them are and then we'll go from there.
Waylon Duncan; Las Vegas, Nev.
In the last five years, the Broncos have had so many different running backs rush for over 1,000 yards in a season. Has it been frustrating for you to have to start over and develop so many different running backs year after year?
No, I love that. It's a challenge and it's something I look forward to. I'm not afraid of change, never have been. I love challenges and I've never been afraid of a challenge. Some people are like, 'Oh man…,' when it comes to change because they get in a comfort zone and a lot of times, in any profession, when you get in a comfort zone you get into a low performance level. That's just something I enjoy doing and look forward to. I love my players, I do what I do and I love doing it. I get attached to my players but this is also a business and I look at it like that.
Tom Purnell; Pueblo, Colo.
Injuries played a big part in determining who would play last year and in establishing the depth chart. With everyone back and healthy plus the new additions, does everyone start at the same place as far as number of reps and how is the depth chart determined?
Yes and no. When a player is beaten out, that's one thing, but when a player loses his position because of injury that's totally separate. Right now, we don't have players that are established. We don't have players that have been in the system outside of Mike Anderson, but he was injured so there were other factors there. He missed the whole season. You can say he's a former starter and has been here the longest, but he missed the whole season and you don't know how a player is going to respond from injury, you just don't know. You hope you do, but when they come back you have to ask -- Are they back totally 100 percent? Did they lose a step? Can they make the same cuts? -- all those things. You just don't know until you get them on the field with the pads on. There are a lot of factors. Right now, we don't have an established starter that played every game on our team. What will determine the depth chart and what will determine the reps will work itself out, it always does. The newest players that come in, they start at the bottom. They'll take fewer reps at this point in time, but it all works itself out. At another period of time we're open to looking at things differently and saying, 'Let's take a look at this player. Let's see this player run with this group. Let's give him more reps in this practice.' That's what the preseason games are for and you have a plan so at the end you evaluate them and hopefully you can evaluate everyone fairly. But the key thing is that you have to have a plan for their reps and how you're using a player.
Dean; Pueblo, Colo.
When I watched Tatum Bell run the ball last season, it seemed to me that he has a bigger burst of speed than even Clinton Portis had. Do you feel that Tatum Bell has more overall speed than Portis or just faster acceleration?
That's a good question. I always thought the two of them were compatible. When I was looking at Tatum before we drafted him, that's who I compared him to. Truthfully, at this point in time because he was in and out of the lineup so much where as Portis, once he was established, he was the starter, I'll say that I'd give the edge to Portis for the simple reason that he played game in and game out. The ability is there but the inconsistency of Tatum is what separates him right now. One guy did it, the other one has yet to do it on a consistent basis.
Eddie Hernandez; Oxnard, Calif.
Once and for all can you tell us if it is the system that makes our running backs good or is it the running back himself?
It's a combination of both. I've heard so many answers and people talk about this over the years. That running back better have some ability. Then you put him into a system where he can flourish. When you put a running back there with no ability, it makes our system look bad, it makes those linemen look bad and it makes me look bad so he better have some ability. Plus you have to remember that I'm coaching these guys and I have to build them up and not one day do I want my players to think that they don't have ability or they can't play. The thing I want to build and instill in my players is self-confidence. Never will you hear from my mouth that my players don't have ability. I believe that they do and you better believe that I want to make them feel that they do because if they don't believe it, they don't believe in me and that gets back to an earlier question when I was talking about trust. It makes no difference what anybody else thinks. As long as the player believes and I believe that he has ability, that's what's important. That's the whole key.
Greg Kraich; Westminster, Colo.
Is it possible that Ron Dayne could start at fullback?
No, I do not see Ron Dayne as a fullback. Ron Dayne is a running back. We brought him in here to play halfback.
Alex Kinstner; Chicago, Ill.
What differences can you find between Kyle Johnson and Mike Anderson?
Mike Anderson is a running back. Yes, we converted him to fullback but he has running skills and his running skills haven't diminished. Kyle Johnson was a running back years ago but was taken out of that role and at this point in time he doesn't have the same running instincts in the box. Kyle Johnson has worked his tail off and he's a player that I respect. This guy was in and out before making the squad. He busted his butt and made the squad and they're both good, quality, character guys and good workers. They both can make plays with the ball in their hands and they're both blockers, but one player has had the ball in his hands from the halfback position -- even thought we moved him to fullback he still was running with the ball in his hands -- so his running instincts really didn't deteriorate where as with Kyle, it's been longer and what you don't
|06-03-2005, 09:42 PM||#3|
Join Date: Mar 2004
Yeah a coach finally answered the question is it the back or the system.
I swear, these guys could be excellent politicians.
|06-03-2005, 10:24 PM||#5|
Ring of Famer
Join Date: Nov 2003
"I don't dwell on that. I'm more focused on his football time, how fast he can get to the hole and his ability to make defenders miss in space. That's the time I look at, how fast he can get to and through that line of scrimmage."
Thats good stuff right there.
|06-03-2005, 10:27 PM||#6|
Anybody want a peanut?
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Ceti Alpha V
|06-03-2005, 11:07 PM||#7|
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Jacksonville, FL
I like his coaching attitude. Great leadership. I also might be biased by his success record. Oh well.
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