In the Trenches with Coach Fitzpatrick

"Coach Briles and his prior staff have done a fantastic job building a great foundation, now it's time to take this thing to another level." - Coach Fitzpatrick

Coach, I want to say congratulations on joining the Cougar Football coaching staff again and we look forward to your contributions.

JS - Coach, how will you go about developing the 3 man front?
TF - First of all you need a good nose tackle, then you build from there. The ends have to be good pass rushers and good run stoppers. The three-man front is right up my alley, this exactly what I played in college.

JS - What is your experience in a 3-4 as opposed to a 4-3, and can you explain advantages of both sides?
TF - My experience with the 3-4 and the 4-3 is both playing and coaching both fronts.

JS - We often hear about a coach going to another schools' camp that is highly rated to learn what they do to be successful. While others take to the film room. what will be your approach?
TF - Both talking to other coaches and looking at video is how I learn to be a better coach.

JS - What area will you be recruiting?
TF - The central Texas area of Waco, south of Dallas, and north of Austin. I also have the west coast of Florida, with growing up there I still have a lot contacts.

JS - Coach, you have been a sideline reporter and also worked in the press box. Based on what you have seen since Coach Briles arrived how far along in the rebuilding process are the Coogs at this time working our way back to title contention?
TF - Coach Briles and his prior staff have done a fantastic job building a great foundation, now it's time to take this thing to another level.

JS - What's it like to get back into coaching after being out for a long period of time?
TF - You don't know how much you miss it, until your out and you are blessed to get back in it. As you mentioned the sideline and the booth, it's not like being on the grass. Especially with this staff!

JS - Most fans thought that the up front defensive push was lacking, what was your take?
TF - You can always get a better push up front, it's never enough especially if your not getting a lot of sacks!!!!! Hopefully we will see a vast improvement.

JS - Our great 1989 team had an ability to control the line of scrimmage, do you think we can do that with a 3-4 alignment considering our talent on hand?
TF - Yes, I was part of that staff that coached that team. You have to play technique in the 3-4, not just run around blocks, you have to protect the linebackers!

JS - Many of the fans think that this 1989 D-line had outstanding talent and others argue that they had a real strong work ethic? Can you set the record straight on exactly what made them so strong as a unit?
TF - It was a bit of both, the kids we had some played in the NFL. But, we worked them so hard we tapped every bit of talent they had.

JS - How much of your spring work will be concentrated on technique?
TF - This spring we worked a lot of technique in a big way! That's what made me the player I was, my coach was a big time technician.

JS - How is the depth on our DL this coming season?
TF - With a couple of good things happening, we can be three deep with very good role players.

JS - In the second half in Ft. Worth, our guys looked flatfooted, was that a conditioning issue?
TF - I am not sure about the Ft. Worth Bowl, but this team is bigger, faster, and more flexible then I've ever seen a team at Houston. Thanks to coach Briles and Mr. Maggard for hiring Larry Jackson and Chad Dennis, the two new strength and conditioning coaches!

JS - Tell us about the changes in the weight and conditioning this season.
TF - The best strength and conditioning program I've ever seen. The kids, coaches, and anyone involved in the program is all on the same page! They will all be in the best shape of their lives, and some teams we play are gonna ask what just hit us in the mouth!

JS - What will the fans be saying about our D line by the end of the season?
TF - Hopefully that they are the most disciplined, well coached, hard-playing kids that they have seen in a long time.

Coach, thanks for visiting with CoogFans today, we are anticipating a very strong UH team this fall, and one that can take us back to Memphis.

Good luck!

Thank you and Go COOGS!


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