" When you are with a guy for a certain length of time and you see how they coach, how they communicate with players, how they communicate with staff, their work habits, their organization skills, at some point in time you say this guy has it or he doesn't have it. I think it was when we were at Tampa (Bay) together when I first talk to Sly about being an offensive coordinator and being a head coach. I just felt then that someday he would have an opportunity. I'm glad to see him getting that opportunity.
"One of the pluses he has that a lot of coaches don't have is he has worked on both sides of the ball. He knows defense from a defensive standpoint. It is one thing to know defense from an offensive standpoint, but it is totally knowing defense from a defensive standpoint. That gives him a little advantage."
What obstacles will he have to overcome now that he is a head coach and not an assistant coach?
"There are no obstacles. The biggest thing he is going to have to do that he hasn't had to do is make up all the schedules for everybody. The schedule of the day, the schedule of the week, the schedule of the month, of the year. That is the biggest thing that he has to get used to doing. He is used to doing a practice schedule as an offensive coach. He hasn't been a head coach where he does all the coaches assignments, all the practice schedules from a players' standpoint, their off-season program. That is the biggest thing that he is going to have to get used to. However, as far as coaching, coaching football is coaching."
How do you feel he will do as far as recruiting is concerned?
"He will be a great recruiter. He was a good recruiter for us in college. It was like he said earlier, he has to learn the NCAA rules."
As a friend of his, what kind of pride do you take in seeing him accomplish a long-time goal of his?
"I'm just very, very happy for him. I'm happy he is getting this opportunity. And I'm happy for Mississippi State that they get such a quality guy."
Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page, the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports on the internet. The URL for Gene's Page is http://mississippistate.theinsiders.com. You can contact him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.