Transcript: Dick LeBeau accepts the job

Dick LeBeau was hired as the Steelers' defensive coordinator in a move that brings back to Pittsburgh the man who first schemed the zone blitz<br><br> LeBeau, 66, was the team's defensive coordinator in 1995 when the Steelers last went to the Super Bowl. Here's what he had to say to reporters in a conference call Friday from his home in Cincinnati:

Q: Why did you pick Pittsburgh over Buffalo?
A: Well, it was a situation where it was a good-good for me. There were not any bad choices there. I was fortunate, but as I alluded in my earlier visit, Pittsburgh is like going home. I must say I went to the University of Pittsburgh basketball game the night before I talked with Coach Bill (Cowher) and about 25 people said 'good luck tomorrow coach, come on back.' I was thinking that this is pretty neat. I haven't been in this city for seven years and there are not very many towns in the country that would recognize me and be so supportive. That did make the whole thing feel like going back to a place where I had been before. I have always admired the way they play defense. I think the current group of athletes plays hard. I think it is a good situation for any coach. I am happy to be a part of it.

Q: How did you win over Coach Bill?
A: You would have to talk to Coach Bill about that. I was flattered that he would consider me and I am thrilled as I can be that he actually chose me.

Q: What do you think of this defense and what does it need?
A: I think they are a good defense. They continue to be a top-10 defense, and that is not easy to do in the National Football League. I watched what I could of them because so many of the players there for a long time were players that I have worked with and lived with. There are not very many of those guys left, but I still watched their defense on occasion. I think they play well. I think they have gone third in the league, seventh in the league and ninth in the league in the last three years. I may be a little off on those numbers, but I think I am close. What we would like to do is get that three, seven, nine going back to nine, seven, three.

Q: Is one of your goals to make them more aggressive?
A: One of the attractions to me being in Pittsburgh was the fact that philosophically Coach Bill and I have always been on the same page, and that is attack. We will be a pressure defense and I know the head coach feels that way too.

Q: Would you have had more autonomy in Buffalo?
A: I don't know the answer to that. I have never worked with Mike Mularkey other than being on the same staff with him. I have worked with Bill and I know that Bill is involved in the defense and I will say this about him: Any coach who would not want Coach Cowher's input, with the background and success that he has had on defense, I think would be cutting his own nose off in spite of his face. He is an excellent defensive coach. We have been together before and we have always worked together. I welcome his input.

Q: Do you have the secondary that allows you to attack quarterbacks?
A: Yes I do. I think obviously everybody wants to improve. It's not like the defense has not been productive in some areas. Obviously, if everything was where we all wanted it in Pittsburgh than we would be number one in the league and we would still be playing. We think we have work to do. We are not going to kid ourselves about that, but we think it's a very do-able enterprise and we think the athletes there play hard and many times play very well.

Q: Has the zone blitz become less effective?
A: I think in the earlier days sometimes we would just completely dominate the game with it because people were not familiar with it. I don't think those situations evolve too often anymore, but you can't put on a video, be it college, high school or professional and not see the zone blitz being evoked. The defense is very popular because it is productive and it is sound and it is a safer way to pressure. The offenses are more familiar with it and they have some answers. Of course, our objective is to make those answers the wrong answers.

Q: You said you watched some of the guys in Pittsburgh last season. What do you know about some of the younger guys on defense?
A: Obviously, I'll have to acquaint myself with the personnel over there and I would not be honest if I said I had a thorough knowledge of the players there. I have to get over there, get in the film room and get on video. I have watched their defense play and they play hard and as I said there were many games that they played very well.

Q: Is part of attacking more using the linebackers as opposed to all the covering they've been doing?
A: Well, I'm not familiar with the scheme as such over there. We will employ all 11 people to blitz. That is basic to the concept of zone pressure. You try to hold them by the nose and come around the back door. We are going to rush everybody.

Q: Will you be going to the Senior Bowl?
A: I have not finalized my assignments in the upcoming days with Coach Bill. That will be up to him and I will have to talk with him about all those types of things.

Q: When will you be coming here permanently?
A: I just really got the job today, so I will have to talk with Coach Bill about all those types of things. We will start to work pretty quickly and hopefully start wheeling toward where we want to get.

Q: Do you feel good about your defensive staff?
A: Yes I do. A bulk of them I have worked with before. Coach Darren Perry, I have both coached and worked with. Lou Spanos and John Mitchell were both there when I was there before and, of course, Keith Butler I do not know personally but I have a tremendous amount of respect for what he accomplished as a player and I've heard nothing but good things about his coaching ability. I am looking forward to working with these men and apparently we are going to have to add some staff member or members. That is up to Coach Bill, but I am anxious to get in there and get that done, too.

Q: Will there be two secondary coaches?
A: That will be up to Coach Bill. I foresee the staff being very similar to how it was aligned.

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