Dennison excited for opportunity with Texans

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The opportunity was "too much to pass up on."

That's how Rick Dennison characterized his decision to become the Texans' offensive coordinator, a decision made late Tuesday when he called Gary Kubiak from his home in Colorado.

It wasn't easy for Dennison to leave the Denver Broncos, where he spent 24 seasons and went to five Super Bowls as a player and coach. But he couldn't turn down the chance to reunite with Kubiak, a close friend with whom he played and coached in Denver for 19 of those seasons.

"I'm very excited," Dennison said. "Obviously, I've known Gary for a long time. I enjoyed working with him before, and now that he's the head guy, I really, really look forward to working with him. Given the opportunity that he's presented, I'm excited about that as well."

Dennison spent Monday at Reliant Stadium interviewing with Kubiak, meeting with assistant coaches and general manager Rick Smith and going over the offense.

That is, if you can call it an interview.

"We kind of just sat around and talked football like we always do," Dennison said with a chuckle. "So, it wasn't very much different than any year that I've been with him, whether it be at the combine when he was not in Denver, or when he was in Denver as the offensive coordinator and I was working for him. It was really the same thing."

Dennison and Kubiak's ties run deep. They spent eight seasons together as Broncos players from 1983-90. They coached together in Denver for 11 years, from 1995-2005.

Dennison's ties to the Texans' offense are just as extensive, if not more so.

After Kubiak left Denver to become Texans head coach in 2006, Dennison became the Broncos' offensive coordinator. For the past nine seasons, Dennison worked with the Broncos' offensive line and running game, teaching the same zone blocking scheme that the Broncos had used under Alex Gibbs. The Texans used that scheme under Gibbs in 2007 and 2008.

During his meeting with Kubiak on Monday, Dennison realized just how in tune he was with the Texans' offense.

{QUOTE}"The schemes are something I'm used to," he said. "I mean, for a while there, I could call the plays as they went through each and every play."

That comfort level was a key reason why Kubiak made Dennison his top target in the search to replace Kyle Shanahan, who left the Texans last week to become the Washington Redskins' offensive coordinator.

Dennison also knows many of the Texans' assistant coaches. He worked with tight ends coach Brian Pariani, wide receivers coach Larry Kirksey, defensive coordinator Frank Bush, senior defensive assistant Ray Rhodes and defensive backs coach David Gibbs in Denver. He also knows offensive line coach John Benton through Colorado State ties.

Kubiak wanted a coach who he'd be on the same page with and who wouldn't disrupt the progress that the Texans have made offensively. He got it.

"I think this is the best guy for our football team, for our coaching staff," Kubiak said. "We don't need to miss a beat here. We need to keep going forward, and Rick gives us a chance to go forward real quickly and obviously gives me a comfort zone from my time with him."

The Texans had a top-five offense in both of the past two seasons. They had the league's top passing offense in 2009 and set team records for points scored and yards gained.

Dennison believes that the pieces are in place to improve the Texans' 30th-ranked running game, and he should know. His instruction of the Broncos' offensive line helped the team rank second in the NFL with 135.1 rushing yards per game from 2001-09.

"I just think that we were a consistent team," Dennison said of the Broncos' success. "We went out there and competed every week. There were some ups and downs, certainly, but we sure gave it everything we had every week."

That's the same mentality Dennison will bring to the Texans when he moves to Houston later this month.

Follow Nick Scurfield on Twitter at *twitter.com/NickScurfield or find him on the "I'm A Texan Club" at imatexan.com/profiles/Nick_Scurf/.*

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