Ted Gill has literally seen it all. He has three decades of experience on a variety of levels ranging from the NFL to the CFL to the XFL and college football. He's coached off the beaten path at places like Idaho State and Cornell, but he's also served time with the Carolina Panthers and the Iowa Hawkeyes. Now he's as excited as he's ever been at the University of Cincinnati.
Coach Gill's excitement is being generated by the best group of young athletes he's had in Clifton. The list starts with Terrill Byrd from Colerain. "Terrill comes out of a good program, and you want to get those guys because they know about winning. He also has the athletic ability you want in there (defensive tackle). He still needs to work on some things. As you know, college football is a different speed. He needs to play with that same kind of speed, but we're excited about where he is right now. I really think he has a great future here."
Next we talked about Terrill's freshman classmate, Trevor Anderson. "He brings a lot of natural strength and the athletic ability to play outside (defensive end). He also gives us the opportunity to do some of the same things we did with Trent Cole. We can drop him or bring him inside because he's such a great athlete. When he figures it all out as he matures, he going to be another great football player for us so I'm excited to have him."
Although not a freshman, sophomore Jon Newton has also been impressive this summer. "Jon has really developed himself. I had him earlier before he moved to offense, but now I have him back, and he's retained some of the things I taught him. That's good. Jon gives us the strength and maturity we need in there (defensive tackle). Jon also knows the habits of winning because he also comes out of a good program (Roger Bacon)."
This summer has been oppressively hot. Has that helped or hindered Coach Gill's big guys? " I think it's been good. I think that teams coming from the north or even from the south, this is a different kind of heat for them. I think it's important for us to get used to this and be able to play in it. If we can play in this kind of heat, we'll be able to play in anything."
Unlike past years, Coach Gill is expecting to use a deeper rotation of players this season. "Well if a guy's ready to play, and we can get eight guys. That would be a great number for us. In the past, as you know, we haven't had the numbers to rotate. Having this kind of rotation will really help us in the games and in practice."
As the veteran of this Bearcat staff, I wanted to know what he thinks of some of the rising young coaching stars he works with every day. "These guys are hard workers and pay attention to details which I think is very important for young guys. They're exciting to be around. They have some good ideas, and they're always wanting to learn. Those kind of things make your staff strong. They're always willing to try new things, and it makes us a strong staff."
When I described Coach Gill in an earlier piece as a fatherly coach and not an "in your face" screamer, I've been seeing him in a player‘s face every day. I asked him to describe his style of coaching. "Sometimes you have to get in a guy's face to get him to understand, but I'm very close to these guys. When you do that, I think you get a lot more from them. I've always told them that if I'm not occasionally getting after them then they're probably not important to this program. They understand that when I get after them, it's because I care about them."
Finally, how much longer can Bearcat fans expect to see Ted Gill coaching? Well, as long as the good Lord keeps my legs healthy to get out here, and Coach Dantonio wants me. I'll be out here as long as I can." That would be just fine with Bearcat football fans.
We also have a special video interview with Coach Gill done Saturday after the Bearcats finished practice. To view this video please click on the following link. COACH GILL VIDEO