(SportsRadio 610) - Former Houston Texans head coach Gary Kubiak may be retired from coaching at the moment, but he’s been paying very close attention to the game since he last roamed the sidelines.
Joining Landry Locker and John Lopez on In The Loop Monday afternoon, Kubiak said he wants to be a resource for the team's new head coach because of what DeMeco Ryans meant to him, the team and overall culture when he was hired by the Texans years ago.
“Absolutely,” Kubiak said. “I mean all these guys that you kind of have a background with, with DeMeco it’s kind of special for me because you know that class that we drafted that year (2006), came through and had a lot to do with turning the program around, and obviously he was a huge piece of that.”
Ryans has been lauded by former teammates, coaches and numerous current players for his leadership and ability to relate to players.
Kubiak recalled that while coaching him, he too saw the tools within Ryans that would one day pave the way to a successful coaching career if he wanted it to.
“I think you run across players as coaches that you sit around the staff room and stuff and say ‘damn he’s gonna be a great coach some day,’ but you never know if that’s something they want to do,” Kubiak said. "I think we all saw that in DeMeco. We felt like he was a coach on the field when he played. ...
“Coaching is a better place because somebody like DeMeco is a part of it.”
While the excitement is still very fresh for a fan base starving for a sustainable winning football team in Houston, Kubiak said it’s easy to feel the weight of a city on your shoulders upon taking your first head coaching job.
One of the biggest mistakes Kubiak says DeMeco needs to guard against is getting in too big of a hurry to round out a coaching staff.
“I always told Bob McNair, when Bob gave me the job, you know everybody that does interviews wants to talk about who’s coming with you, how about your staff,” Kubiak explained. “I remember telling Bob, the most important thing is whether or not I’m the right fit for your organization. We’ll figure that other part out, we’ll take our time, we’ll get good coaches and I think that’s the way to approach it.”
In the meantime, while Ryans and general manager Nick Caserio have hit the ground running, speaking with several prospective coordinators on both sides of the football, talking to as many good football people as possible before making key decisions on the right people to trust is paramount.
“It’s time to just settle in, settle into your routine, know what you want, talk to a lot of people, there’s a lot of people out there and just make sure you find people with the same vision you had,” Kubiak said. “DeMeco has always been very patient in his life and what he wants to do and I’m sure he’ll approach this the same way.”
While sometimes change is a good thing, the Texans decided the best candidate to fill their third vacancy in as many offseasons was to stick with a defensive minded coach. However, while the background may not be different, Ryans' upbringing within the coaching ranks is.
Kubiak made it a point to stress Ryans coaching background and the demands placed upon those working under a Shanahan, lend themselves to a comprehensive way in which the game is viewed, taught and coached.
"If you work for Kyle, it’s like working for his dad and I worked for his dad," Kubiak said. "He makes you study both sides of the ball, he makes you as a defensive coordinator, understand what I’m trying to do to you offensively on the practice field. DeMeco’s knowledge, I mean, we know what it is defensively, but his knowledge of offensive football and how Kyle tries to attack defenses, that has really grown for him as a football coach, too."
While Kubiak wants to be as much help to Ryans as possible, he’s trying not to bother him too much these days. But the veteran coach did leave Ryans with a key piece of advice he said someone once gave him.
“I said remember this, somebody told me this a long time ago - ‘it’ll get done,’ Kubiak said. “At the time I thought what the hell did that mean?”
Kubiak came to understand the meaning of such simple words as time went on.
Once a staff is put together, as the excitement of a new head coach still resonates within the fan base and the people he trusts to help develop the kind of culture envisioned in the locker on and on the field takes shape, everything that consumes you in the early stages of a hire, begins to come together.
It gets done.
You can’t do it all at once.
Having a patient, yet demanding approach to a task, no matter how big or small, is something that has come naturally to the Texans' new head coach.
Observing from the outside, just how tall of a task Ryans has decided to undertake in Houston doesn’t dissuade Kubiak's confidence in his former linebacker.
The qualities Kubiak identified early on in Ryans as a player, and has seen grow as a coach the last six years, are a perfect fit for Ryans’ new challenge.
“The one thing that I would tell the city of Houston, DeMeco’s got the biggest smile and is the nicest guy but let me tell you, DeMeco will get after them players,” Kubiak said. “He knows how to coach them, he knows how to challenge them and that’s why he relates so well to players. Instant respect, because that’s the way he treats people. But he’s gonna be demanding as well and that’s all you can ask for in a coach.
“When you have somebody like that, I think you’re going to attract players free agency wise and all those things and you’re going get the most out of him.”
Shaun Bijani has spent the last 16 years covering the Houston sports scene for SportsRadio 610. Follow him on Twitter @ShaunBijani.
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