With his trusty cowboy hat on to protect him from the sun, former Oilers head coach Bum Phillips stayed cool on Wednesday while he watched the Texans work. Phillips, his wife Debbie and an assorted group of a dozen or so family and friends took in the team's morning practice at the Methodist Training Center.
As he's done every time after checking out the Texans, Phillips spoke with the media. The questions centered mainly on his thoughts about the current defense, the job his son Wade is doing as a coordinator, and the genesis of the 3-4 scheme he helped invent. Ultimately, however, the Luv Ya Blue boss was just happy to see something other than the festivities currently taking place in London.
"I want to watch football," Phillips said. I'm tired of that track and field. I want to see them hit somebody."
With the team in full pads, Phillips was able to see some hitting, and he's optimistic about the 2012 outlook for the Bulls on Parade defense, explaining that he thinks they'll "improve" from what they accomplished in 2011.
Seeing his father and family at work, meanwhile, was a treat for the Texans' defensive coordinator, who played his high school ball at Port Neches-Groves and collegiately at the University of Houston.
"It's great," Phillips said. "I'm so pleased to have them around and support me and our team."
Both Phillips were asked about the 3-4 scheme, which Bum helped to concoct, and Wade helped to perfect.
"I've learned about everything I know from my dad as a person, certainly, and football-wise he started me out," Phillips said. "I was with him for 10 years. It rubbed off on me, I think."
The elder Phillips coached the Oilers from 1975 to 1980, with Wade serving as his linebackers coach for the final five of those seasons. The son described why the 3-4 is their defense of choice.
"When you have four linebackers, you have more active people on the field," Wade Phillips said. "They can run to the ball a little bit better, we can give people problems as far as pass protection. Simply speaking, if you've got four guys down in a 4-3, those four guys are rushing. When you've only got three of them down, you don't know where the other one is coming from."
Even though his father's been retired as a head coach since 1985 when he finished up with the New Orleans Saints, the Texans' defensive coordinator said he still gets unsolicited input from the coaching legend.
"After every game he tells me something we should have done," Phillps joked. "I call him a fan."