Q: Why are you the best man for this job?
Cottrell: Why am I the best man...tough question. I don't know if I'm the best man, but I know the 49ers have a process they are going through and I am one of the many guys that they have narrowed it down to. I'm just thankful that I survived the survivor series and I'm in pretty good shape. I'm one of the guys, near the end, that they are talking to.
Q: If you do get the job, what do you bring as a head coach?
Cottrell: One thing I know that I can bring is the ability to get the players to play hard and play together. Wherever I've gone and coached, that is one thing that players have been able to do. I think that is one of my strong suits that I have.
Q: A lot has been made about minority candidates being up for head coaching jobs...do you feel being a minority has helped you in this search or hurt you?
Cottrell: No, I don't think either way right now. Let's get off this thing about the minority issue. I think they are going through and they are going to choose the best coach...regardless of race. You could be white, you could be purple. It doesn't matter. The best coach is going to get this job, who they feel can fit into this organization.
Q: Do you feel the NFL overall is giving minority candidates a look?
Cottrell: Good coaches come in different colors, different shapes, different sizes. I think that commissioner Tagliabue has made it his point to try to make aware that coaches, regardless of race, try to give everybody an equal chance to compete for the jobs. I think that the teams are aware of that and now I think it didn't take some type of report to get this done. I just think people in their heart now are more aware of it and they want to give guys an equal chance to compete for the jobs. That is how I feel about that.
Q: How has this process differed from your other interviews?
Cottrell: I think this one has been very genuine. I had spoke to some guys before and I'm going to make this point very clear also. If a team talks to you it doesn't mean it is an interview. I've had seven talk to me and four of them have been, what I call, legitimate interviews and three of them have been bull-crap sessions. Excuse my language about that, but that is how I feel about it. Three of those teams had just talked to me and there was no way I was a serious candidate and they had a thought in their mind of hiring me. I was just in there to probably fill in a time slot and make them look good. Four have been legitimate and three have been not worth a darn.
Q: What are the legitimate ones?
Cottrell: I'm not going to name any, but this is one of the four that is legit.
Q: What came across in your meeting with Dr. York today?
Cottrell: Today we just talked about our backgrounds and he was telling me a little bit about himself. We didn't talk any football. We just talked about our backgrounds and getting to know each other right now. We're going to go to dinner and talk a little more and probably some tomorrow morning.
Q: Have you evaluated the 49ers defensively?
Cottrell: No, we haven't talked about that yet. I am familiar with some of the players, but I have not done an in-depth study of the team yet.
Q: Some of the high-profile players have criticized the pool of potential coaches. How are you going to deal with player discontent?
Cottrell: You deal with player discontent a lot of times during the year. If you lose a game, you have some discontent. A lot of players go by what they read sometimes too, without really, like anyone, taking their time and evaluate what is happening here. This is a team that has really gone out of their way to try to do a good job with their interview process. Let it run its course. They are going to come up with the best candidate that they feel can lead this team. They have a plan. At least they have a plan and they are sticking to it. So, player discontent would be addressed. I don't think there is going to be a lot of discontent or something that could not be handled. I think the players are just voicing their opinions. At least this team is doing what they are supposed to do and they are doing a great job. I feel they will come up with the best possible coach that they feel will lead this team to victory.
Q: What's the foundation of your defensive philosophy?
Cottrell: I just tell them to play like hell. That's it. Just play hard and play like hell. Try to be a very aggressive defense. Back there (in
Q: Are you worried about a college coach taking the job away?
Cottrell: If he does he does, but I'm here right now. That's the only thing that I can control.