Tim Walton Q&A

Tim Walton, 32, has been named the defensive backs coach for the Hurricanes after a successful season as defensive backs coach at LSU, helping the Tigers to the 2003 BCS National Championship and the SEC title. Walton played under current Miami head coach Larry Coker at Ohio State.

Coker and Walton have kept in touch over the years and when the coaching vacancy opened at Miami, the two were happy to reunite.

What are your feelings on joining the staff at Miami?

I feel very excited to come work for a guy that I played for, to come to a national power of a football team. The history and tradition at Miami speaks for itself. I am going to get a chance some of the best talent in the country and some great kids, great living conditions and a great environment to play football. Miami is well known all around the country playing down here in the Orange Bowl. I am excited about the opportunity.

What do you remember about coach Coker when you were a player?

He was a fair guy. He treats you great as a person and he makes you want to bust your butt for him. Coach likes to surround himself with good people, quality players with good character. Guys appreciate the kind of guy coach Coker is and they go out and do a little extra. That's how you win national championships. When you have your coaching staff wanting to go the extra mile so they don't disappoint the coach. And when you have the players wanting to go the extra mile so they don't disappoint the coach. When you have those things going on that is a true sign of a national championship caliber team. I think they have that here. Coach's record speaks for itself over the past three years. Since then they have won a national championship, played for another and were really only one or two games from being in it again this year, but they were in a BCS bowl. You are talking about three years in a row in a BCS game with a total of just four losses that speaks for itself. Hopefully we can get back to the championship game this year.

How much have you and coach Coker kept in contact over the years?

Coach and I have kept in contact ever since my playing days at Ohio State. I have talked to coach every year since then. I talked to him when I was at Bowling Green for four years, Memphis for seven years, at Syracuse and even last year when I was at LSU. And now its three years later after Coker got the job and there was an opening. We have had a great relationship and I have respected coach a lot. I loved playing for him and I worked hard for him. And now to get the opportunity to work for him, I couldn't pass on working for a guy that I know what type of person he is, the type of leader he is and to have a chance to do it at one of the top programs in the country it is a win-win situation. Coach surrounds himself with good people and the staff here is a bunch of great guys. They have a great staff here and getting to know some of the guys already have been great. They have showed me around and the hospitality they have shown already makes it a great place to come to work every day.

Have you gotten to know some of the coaches before, besides Coker?

I have met some of the guys before. I have met Vernon Hargreaves when I was up at Syracuse a few years ago. I got the chance to meet him and talk with him a little bit. I met coach Shannon right after the Sugar Bowl at a convention. I have heard a lot of great things about him. I did not know him personally, but we know a lot of the same people from when he worked with the Miami Dolphins. Curtis Johnson and I have met before because he recruits the Memphis/Tennessee area. I have heard a lot great things about him. Those are the guys that have met. I know a lot of guys that have coached here before. I know Greg Schiano and Chuck Amato. I know all of those guys that were here and I talk to them on a regular basis. They have given me a lot of insight on how it was.

How have you grown as a football coach over the years?

I just have learned a lot. I have really been under a lot of defensive-minded guys so that helps you as a young coach. When I was at Bowling Green I was under coach Gary Blackney who is now the defensive coordinator at Maryland. Tommy West, who is the head coach at Memphis, has defensive ties from being apart of Clemson who had a lot of good defenses in the 80s. I was under Paul Pasqualoni at Syracuse who is a defensive guy. And then at LSU under Nick Saban. I have been under four defensive head coaches who have really helped my knowledge. Out of that, coach Blackney and coach Saban are secondary guys. To start off with a secondary and end up with a secondary guy, it really has helped me learn the position. Then I was able to do some internships with a couple NFL teams. Coach Schiano who was the defensive coordinator here, I studied under him with the Chicago Bears. So I have been fortunate to work under defensive-minded head coaches over the years.

What do you know about the current Miami secondary?

Not a whole lot right now. Antrel Rolle will be a real good player for us this year and hopefully one of the leaders. Antrel has the chance to go down as one of the big-time corners that has played here. Kelly Jennings is a good player as well. Those are the guys that I have talked to since I have been here. I know that they have a lot of young talented players here that will be good players for us next year. Marcus Maxey, Willie Cooper and hopefully Glenn Sharpe can recover from his injury because he can be a great addition to our team. He was really playing well before he got hurt so hopefully he can bounce back. If we can put all that together, I think we have a good shot at a championship.

What was your experience at LSU like this year winning that national title?

It was a great experience. Any time you can win a national championship and play great on defense, it's fun. Also to go win the games in our conference was tough too. To go through the adversity with playing in a tough conference and to end up in the title game, it was exciting to get the opportunity to do that and that we played well on defense. In the title game Oklahoma came into the game as the nation's top scoring offense. We held them to 154 total yards on offense, which is less than half of what they were used to doing. A guy that won the Heisman Trophy was held to 102 passing yards was a great sign of a defense that helped solidify are already good defense.

What are some things that you will miss about LSU?

You will always miss the players. I had a great relationship with the players. That is one thing that I always try to do as a coach is to develop relationships with the players you coach. It is about them growing up as young men and caring about them on and off the field. You want to see them succeed in life and I saw a lot of guys mature and grow in one year's time. Three of the four starters are back. So there are guys off of a championship secondary and led the nation in total defense and scoring defense. They will be returning two corners and a safety who as a freshman led the team in tackles and they are all great guys. But that's the thing about coaching, you are walking into a situation with great guys like Antrel Rolle and Kelly Jennings, guys that are also great players and great guys.

What will be your role in recruiting over the next two weeks?

My job this weekend is to just help solidify some of the guys coming in to make them feel at home. I will probably see some of the guys that have already committed to us and let them meet their coach because that is important. I'll probably take some time to meet the parents of the players and introduce myself to let them get to know me a little bit.

Christopher Stock is a Staff Columnist for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at stock@grassy.com.

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