Dan Disch Press Conference Transcript

Inside is the full transcript from Coach Zook about the hiring of Dan Disch as the new defensive backs coach and Coach Disch's reaction to being the newest member of the Florida Gator coaching staff.

Coach Zook

Opening statement:
"I'm happy to be finalizing the staff. Spring football's right around the corner. We've got a guy that I'm very, very excited about. I've been thinking about trying to hire him since the day I got this job. This is an opportunity that I had and I'm very honored that we were able to make Dan part of our staff."

On how Florida will handle special teams coaching duties:
"I'm going to be very much involved with the special teams. I'm going to make that evaluation at the end of spring whether we make somebody the special teams coordinator or work phases of it and have me oversee everything."

On Coach Disch taking over the Jacksonville recruiting area:
"We haven't talked about that. Right now, I would say probably not. Mike Locksley and I have talked about some possible changes. Jacksonville is a very, very important area to us and I don't know if making changes is the right thing to do."

On whether or not players coming to Florida from Ed White High School had any effect on hiring coach Disch:
"Not in any way at all. Obviously, it's good for Coach Disch in that he knows those guys and knows their personalities a little bit, but it had nothing to do with it. As I said before, I wanted to hire Coach Disch the day I got the job. As a coach, you have a list of guys that you want to hire and you're excited about. I've know Dan since I was coaching at Ohio State. He's always done a great job. He coaches his players hard and is demanding. To me, one of the most important things that he does is he makes players reach their potential."

On Cheston Blackshear's status:
"Cheston is in his final year as a graduate assistant, so we'll actually have a bunch of Ed White people around here. I recruited Cheston when I was here before."

On the secondary being a priority this spring:
"Everything's a priority. A year ago, everybody was concerned with our front being young. We had guys playing out there this year that weren't even here last spring. I'm sure that the four guys that we signed this year will have an opportunity to contribute quite a bit. It is going to be an important spring, particularly when you lose starters. It's going to be important that we get a pretty good feel for what we can do. It's going to be a great time for Dan to learn these guys. The fact that he knows one of them helps a little bit, but it will be a good experience for all of us."

On whether Coach Disch's head coaching experience helps:
"Absolutely. As we've talked about many times, there's times that I'll run things by him and he knows what I'm talking about. There's certain things that happen and until you live it you can't really understand it. He knows about loyalty. He knows about hard work. He knows about demanding. He knows about looking ahead. That's a big plus to me."

On what struck Coach Zook about Coach Disch:
"He's a heck of a football coach. I've learned an awful lot of football from guys that maybe you wouldn't think, whether it be high school guys or college guys of NFL guys. There are certain guys that, when you start talking football, there's a chemistry there and your philosophies are very similar and what you expect out of coaching and your players is very similar. Dan and I have always been very close in that regard."

On Coach Disch's personality and how he'll fit in:
"That's something that was very important in determining who to hire. Right now, we've got a great chemistry on this staff. We've got a great chemistry on this football team. We're not going to change a lot of things. Obviously, Dan will have some ideas to enter into it and if there's things that fit into the system and can make us better, then you look at those things, but we're not trying to reinvent the wheel. We just want to continue to improve and get better and Dan's a guy that's going to come in here and do that."

On how close Coach Zook and Coach Disch are:
"I used to talk with him a lot of times when I was with the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Kansas City Chiefs and the New Orleans Saints. In fact, one of the first days I was out after I had the job, I was in Jacksonville and he picked me up from the airport."

On the transitions Coach Disch will face:
"Recruiting from a different side. He's used to being the guy coaches come in to. Now, he'll be the guy going in to talk to the coaches and I think that'll help him. He knows what the coach is thinking, what the coach is feeling. He knows how players are. He's been very involved in the recruiting process because he's had so many guys recruited at his school. I was always appreciative in how he not only handled the players, but handled the recruiting and kept it the way it should be. Obviously, there's a learning curve. When I went from the National Football League from college, it was a jump, it was a change. But it's something that Dan will have no problem with at all."

On Coach Disch's reputation in the Jacksonville area having weight in recruiting:
"No question, but Larry Fedora's done a heck of a job over there. I think there's a lot of things that you've got to look at. Sometimes, when you change recruiting areas, that's one of things that you try not to do. Even though Dan Disch knows Jacksonville like the back of his hand, Dan Disch knows Ed White and the teams that he played. What about all the other teams? As a football coach, you don't have time to know about every school in Jacksonville because you're worried about your team and you're worried about the teams you play. As a college coach, I can't follow the NFL teams. I kind of keep up with the Saints, just like when I was in the NFL, I kept up with the Gators – that was the only college team I knew a little bit about. He didn't have time to keep up with everybody."

On some of the other candidates for the position and whether Coach Disch was the person Coach Zook wanted to hire all along:
"It's not important who else was talked about. Any time you make a job hire, you want to hire the right guy. Dan Disch is a guy that I wanted to hire the day I got the job. But as you put a staff together and you look at all the things you're trying to do, it's got to be the right fit and the right position. Things have got to be the right thing. I looked at several people and the way it turned out, I felt like Dan was the best guy for this job."

Coach Disch:

Opening statement:
"Obviously, it's a tremendous honor to join Coach Zook and the University of Florida staff. I've always had a lot of respect for Coach Zook and the way he does things. I think we share a philosophy in football and it's exciting to be a part of it. I'm ready to go."

On telling his players about his new position:
"We don't meet until one in the afternoon, so I didn't get to tell them until then. It was tough, tougher than I expected. I've been here most of my adult life. I've coaches some of these kids' older brothers and fathers. It was tough. It was an emotional day, but they're good kids and they're resilient. It was hard, but I'm really excited."

On coaching some of his former high school players at the University of Florida:
"I did talk to both of them. They were excited, but I explained to both of them that it's kind of like coaching your son. I'm going to have to be tough on each of them."

On potentially recruiting Jacksonville:
"Like Coach Zook said, there's definitely some guys that I've got relationships with. I've been here my whole life, so I think it'll help with certain kids in certain places. Coach Fedora's done an unbelievable job in Jacksonville. Wherever they put me, I'll work hard. I know people all over the state and if you've got Florida written on your shirt, you're in the door already. Certainly, I've got some friends around here and some people that know me, so that should help."

On whether he's been approached by Coach Zook in the past about joining the Florida staff:
"I've know Coach Zook for quite a while and he has always said that he'd like to do this down the line. The time has to be right for him. I'm just excited that he called me and gave me the opportunity because it is an amazing opportunity. It's a tough place and the light shines pretty bright over there. I've always worked hard doing what I did and I let him know that if the opportunity ever arose, I'd be ready to go."

On what the spring will be like:
"I think for any program the spring is huge. You're teaching kids to play sound and with good technique and you're getting them to play hard while you evaluate talent. It's an exciting time. As a head football coach all these years it's always been my favorite time because there's a little less pressure and you've got time to actually coach football and do those things. I'm excited to get to know the kids and see what we can do. I think it's really important and I'm ready to go."

On the last Florida game he went to:
"My wife and I hit a couple each year. We went to homecoming this year, in fact. We saw a couple of our kids – Cheston and those guys. I used to watch Bam Hardmon and Cheston and those guys on TV and they used to tell me that didn't count unless I was here. So, I made it a point the last several years to hit a couple of games."

On whether he thought about being a Florida coach when he watched games from the stands:
"Not in those terms, exactly. There's a lot of good high school coaches around the state and country. There's been some guys that have had the opportunity to go to the next level. Growing up, my dad was a high school coach and I always dreamed of being a high school coach and always worked really hard at it. I'm glad to have the opportunity. I didn't not look down there and think those things, but I was always fairly patience and understood that if the right opportunity came that Coach Zook would give me this opportunity. I'm glad the timing is right and I hope it works out."

On when Coach Disch heard from Coach Zook about the job and what his initial reaction was:
"He called me a couple of weeks ago and asked if I'd be interested in talking about it with him. I said of course I'd be excited an interested, but he told me not to get too excited because he wasn't sure what he was going to do. He contacted me and we had a good talk. I sat down with him for a couple of hours and he told me he'd let me know what was going on. It was about a week or two process. I was excited just to have the opportunity. I knew that Coach Zook, down the line, was going to have me as part of the staff and I hoped it would happen, but I always tried to let Coach Zook know that it had to be on his timetable and when things were right, I would be willing to do the things I could when he was ready."

On Coach Zook's energy level and if Coach Disch takes the same kind of approach:
"I think so, but it's hard to match his intensity and work ethic. I definitely want kids to play fast and hard and be intense. I've always shared that philosophy with him and the same with recruiting. That's why I think I've had such an admiration and respect for him. He works hard and he loves the game and the kids that play for him love the game. I think that's the best way to play the game."

On Coach Disch considering other college jobs throughout the years and if Florida was the only place he wanted to be:
"I've know some people in college coaching and I've had an opportunity or two, but, to be honest, I loved what I was doing. My family's here, I'm from here. Knowing Coach Zook when he got back here – it's the best situation in the country, bar none. It was a situation that when he got here, I hoped that maybe this chance would come. It wasn't that I didn't have an interest in college football, but I was a high school football coach and I really enjoyed what I did. Getting to know him and seeing it from a different side excited me. It's an opportunity that you can't turn down. It's an unbelievable place and an unbelievable atmosphere. I'' excited to be a part of it.""

On what Coach Disch expects to be different from high school:
"It's like what the kids say – it's a faster game. There's going to be a few more coverages and a lot more offensive sets and all those things. But at its core, the game is not rocket science. I've always believed that key is to be sound and get your kids to play with technique and to get them to play hard and physical and have fun while they're playing. It is a transition, but football is football and there are kids out there that love to play football and just getting them to play to their potential I think is the key and that's what I'm trying to do."

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