View Full Version : Vikings: Defense's pace set at full speed

04-09-2006, 03:11 PM
Vikings: Defense's pace set at full speed

Enthusiastic new defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin leads through example and attitude.

Judd Zulgad, Star Tribune
Last update: April 09, 2006 – 7:51 AM

Mike Tomlin might be in the initial stages of explaining the Cover-2 defense to his players, but the Vikings new defensive coordinator already has made one thing clear in the first two days of minicamp: He has no off switch.

Rarely standing still, Tomlin hustles between the position groups, sweat soaking through the back of his shirt as he barks out words of encouragement and instruction that reverberate throughout the indoor practice facility at Winter Park.

One minute Tomlin is working with defensive backs, the next he's imploring linebackers to "transfer your body weight simultaneous with your plant foot," and the next he's calling out signals from the quarterback spot while running a drill.

"You hear him out here, he's just constantly going," cornerback Dustin Fox said. "The guy doesn't stop. That is great for us because when we get tired we have someone to look to to keep us going."

And it doesn't stop once Tomlin gets off the field. Vikings owner Zygi Wilf learned this Friday afternoon after the team's first workout. Sitting in on a defensive meeting, Wilf listened as Tomlin went through what could have been a mundane X's and O's session. Tomlin made sure it wasn't.

"I was ready to play after that," Wilf said.

The most impressive thing about Tomlin is that he has such a presence at the age of 34. He celebrated his birthday March 15, making him just more than seven months older than nose tackle Pat Williams.

Tomlin, though, has been preparing for this job since 1995, when he began coaching at Virginia Military Institute after playing wide receiver at William & Mary. He spent the past five seasons learning under longtime Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin as the Buccaneers' secondary coach.

"It's dog years for me, I guess," Tomlin said, explaining his confidence. "I've always approached coaching that way. I prepare in the short term for the things that I need to do that particular day. So when you're preparing, you go over it in your mind a million times. When you actually go through it, it's like you've been through it before."

Brad Childress' confidence in Tomlin's coaching ability has been apparent. The team's new head coach and former Philadelphia offensive coordinator has spent much of his time working with the offense as it begins making the transition to the West Coast scheme.

This has left Tomlin largely in charge of beginning to mold a high-energy defense that will, in his words, "create a frenzy."

"The true measure of mental toughness is consistency," he said, "and it applies to players and coaches. That's going to be us."

Just as important as Tomlin's enthusiasm is that players appear to have confidence in him. "He definitely knows what he's talking about," veteran cornerback Antoine Winfield said. "He's teaching us a lot, and I'm very excited to be working with him."

This comes as no surprise to veteran free safety Darren Sharper, who played college football with Tomlin at William & Mary in 1993 and '94.

"I know how he was in college and how he prepared and how he worked," Sharper said. "I knew he was going to come in here and bring that attitude to this defense. The first thing he told me when I heard he got the job is, 'It's an attitude playing defense.'

"A lot of people say they want to be a top-ranked defense, but you have to put in the effort, you have to put in the time and you have to put in the energy. You see him displaying that. ... Every day he comes in here with a lot of energy, flies around, sweating as much as we're sweating. So that gives us the energy to want to follow his lead."

Vikings: Defense's pace set at full speed (http://www.startribune.com/510/story/359975.html)

04-09-2006, 03:56 PM
I like the comment about the attitude playing defense.

04-09-2006, 04:02 PM
I like Tomlin already.. My brother is a huge Tampa fan, and as soon as we signed Tomlin, he said we are going to be much better then we have been in the last decade on defense. How can you not be a great coach when you learned under Monte Kiffin?

04-09-2006, 04:07 PM
The enthusiasm Tomlin has is going to drive the players to give their best, each & every down.

I'm getting very excited about this season!

04-09-2006, 04:10 PM
Like wilf,

I"m ready to play now after that read, I actually have goose bumps on my arms while typing..

I think our D is going to be really nasty this year.......

04-09-2006, 07:47 PM
Like the rest of you, I because excited just reading that article. I love the "create a frenzy" line. I just can't wait to see this defense in action. I can see opposing QB changing the plays so many times at the line of scrimmage that the clock will run out on them time and time again.