On Sunday the newest members of the Indiana coaching staff, Darren Hiller and Nick Sheridan, met with the media to talk about being a part of the IU program. Hiller will be Offensive Line Coach and Run Game Coordinator, and Sheridan will be the Quarterbacks Coach.
Offensive Coordinator Mike DeBord on Nick Sheridan:
Nick was a player at Michigan. His freshmen and sophomore years were during my last two years at Michigan, so he was under our system as a player in our quarterback system there.
These last two years Nick was our graduate assistant at Tennessee. I had the title of (Offensive) Coordinator and Quarterbacks, but what I did those two years was I really worked with the front, the offensive line, the tight ends, that group up there, and Nick took over the quarterbacks. He had them in meetings, he had them in game preparation, he had them in practice, and then he was there with me when I was calling the game on game day in a very critical role. So he actually was the Quarterbacks Coach at Tennessee these last two years.
When Tom (Allen) and I first talked about me coming here, Nick was one of the first guys I talked to him about, and all the things that he would bring. I’m really excited to have him here, and I’m excited that we’ve worked together in the past and what he did for Josh Dobbs at Tennessee.
Offensive Coordinator Mike DeBord on Darren Hiller:
Darren Hiller will be our Offensive Line Coach and Run Game Coordinator. I did not know Darren, but I knew of his coaching background and I knew of his reputation. When this opening came about Tom came to me right away and said, ‘This is the guy that I want. I want you to do your research, but I want you to really look hard at him.’ So I went back and I studied film of South Florida, and when you talk about South Florida last year you’re talking about a team that was in the top five in scoring and top five in rushing. Now if that doesn’t make a coordinator happy I don’t know what will.
I was excited to watch his guys play, to watch the technique, to watch the attitude, the leverage. They were an up-tempo team, like we will be. I called him after watching film and we talked, and I could just tell that this was the kind of guy that would fit great in our offensive staff room, as well as our entire coaching staff.
Coach DeBord on the Indiana staff:
We have already been meeting, we’ve been putting our offense together, and we’ve been working hard. I’ve been around a lot of great coaching staffs in my career, and this is a great one. I’m not going to say the best or anything like that, but it is one of the best I’ve ever been around because of the quality of people, and also the quality of coaching that we’re going to get.
Coach Sheridan on being at Indiana:
I’m certainly very excited and appreciative to have this opportunity. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Tom and Coach DeBord. When this opportunity presented itself I sprinted to Bloomington. To get an opportunity to work with this staff of men from the top down is really, really exciting. I couldn’t be more excited about it, and humbled, and honored to have this opportunity. My wife Sarah and I are super excited to be a part of this community here in Bloomington, and to continue to mentor and develop the quarterback position here at this institution is very exciting for me and my wife.
Coach Sheridan on what he looks for in a QB:
I think that is the one great thing with Coach Allen, just his vision for the position. His vision and mine really align. The first thing is we’re looking for a winner. I think we are trying to accumulate players that have a winning mentality and are accustomed to winning. The second part from the quarterback position is just accuracy. Just the ability to place the football where you want it to be. The last piece is escapability. I think when you go across the National Football League and across college football, the sizes and shapes of quarterbacks and the skill-sets are different, but when you really put those three things together – winning, accuracy and escapability – I think you can put a really quality product on the field. So when we’re evaluating and developing quarterbacks those are the things we try to focus on.
Coach Sheridan on which coaches have had the biggest impact on him as a coach:
Certainly my Dad is a football coach and I’ve leaned on him in all walks of life. I’ve been very blessed and fortunate to have a great relationship with my father. So above anyone else, certainly from a coaching standpoint, I’ve leaned on him and his experiences, like I said, in all walks of life. One of my college coaches is a guy named Lloyd Carr, I’m sure you’re familiar with him. He said the knowledge is out there, you’ve just got to go get it and go ask for it. So that is something that always stuck with me. I try on a yearly basis to reach out to people who are doing it well, and I try to find out how they’re doing it. I’ve been fortunate and blessed to work for and with a lot of great coaches, and I’m appreciative of all the things they have taught me, and have continued to teach me. I try to go out and seek the knowledge. I find out who is doing it the best and I try to ask them questions to try and help our players, because ultimately that is our job as coaches, to try to best prepare the players to play well. There have been a lot of coaches that I’m very thankful for and they know who they are, and I’m appreciative to them.
Coach Sheridan on his initial meeting with the quarterbacks:
I’ve met with all the quarterbacks and it’s exciting. They’re getting to know me and I’m getting to know them. They all want to do well and I think that’s certainly a foundation for improvement. That’s the message I’ve sent to them, we’re just looking to get better each and every day in whatever aspect that might be, fundamentally, from a leadership standpoint, from a knowledge of the game, whatever it might be, we’re just looking to improve, and we want to be a group that continues to improve each and every day. The attitude has been great. I don’t know them that well. I met with them. My wife was in town this weekend and we drove around and said hello to each and every one of them. We’re trying to catch up the best we can and develop a relationship with the kids. That’s the most exciting part, I enjoy people and I enjoy getting to know people’s stories and that’s been a lot of fun for me.
Coach Sheridan on taking care of the ball at the QB position:
It’s the most important piece of playing football, and at the quarterback position we’re the caretaker of the ball for the entire team and the entire university and the entire state, so it is something we emphasize each and every day. I think there are some things you can do schematically to help the kid out to put him in some better situations to where he has outlets to get rid of the football to where he doesn’t feel like he’s forcing the football down the field. But that is the number one deciding factor in winning and losing, and that has never changed and never will. So certainly from a staff standpoint that will definitely be enforced and emphasized, particularly with our position as it will be for all positions.
Coach Hiller on being at Indiana:
I am very excited to be in Bloomington, and to be around this staff and have the opportunity to work for Coach Allen. Coach Allen and I have been friends for a long time, and when he called me and talked to me about coming to Bloomington it didn’t take a whole lot of convincing. I had the opportunity to talk to Coach DeBord on the phone and we had a great talk. I called some people in the business that I trust and rely on and some conversations and it was a no brainer. I’m just excited to be here and I can’t wait to get my family, my wife and three children, moved here right after spring break in mid-March and hit the ground running and get this thing rocking and rolling.
Coach Hiller on whether or not he had a previous relationship with any of the IU linemen:
Yeah, it’s actually funny, I’ve met several of the offensive linemen, not quite all of them yet. As a lot of them have come up and I’ve seen their face and they saw my face and we talked. But yeah, there are several guys on the roster right now that I have relationships with, some more than others. I went through the offensive linemen that are here there is eight of them of the 14 that are here right now that I have some sort of pervious relationship with, whether it be me recruiting them, or them being committed to the schools that I was going in and out of or something like that. So it’s going to be fun.
Coach Hiller on what he looks for in an offensive lineman:
Number one we’ve got to have a group of guys the will come together and play as a unit and play together. I’m going to be under the deal with the offensive line that we’re the engine of the car. Nick talked about the quarterbacks, and we can talk about the quarterbacks and receivers and running backs and tight ends, but the car is not going to move without the engine, and the offensive line has got to be the engine. Some nastiness and some physicality in that group has got to be important, the utmost importance. And then athletic ability, some guys that can get out and do some things in space and that can bend.
Coach Hiller on the culture and the legacy that Jason Spriggs and Dan Feeney have established at IU, and the example it sets for the younger linemen:
That is always important. In every football program that I’ve ever coached in the young offensive linemen always learn a lot from the older guys. So having those two guys from the last couple of years here set the example. I don’t know those guys but I would imagine they set the example probably starting in the weight room and then they took it to the field. I don’t know what their vocal leadership skills were and those things, but it’s always good when young guys can see guys do it at a high level. Those guys have obviously proven themselves and done it at a high level so I think that is paramount to success.