Following are remarks from Dell East-West Shrine coaches Don Shula and Dan Reeves.
**West Head Coach Dan Reeves and East Head Coach Don Shula
(on what they have enjoyed about the week before the game)
**Coach Shula: "What I have really enjoyed about this week is that I've had a chance to bring my old coaching staff back together. We share a lot of memories. They have spent a lot of time with me. We've put a lot of work in trying to get back on the same page. But it's been enjoyable work. I've the opportunity to coach against Dan (Reeves) before, we coached against each other over in
and played a preseason game over there and had a good time that week working against each other, similar to what we're going to do.
"This has been a real joy for me. I have been very happy about the experience and look forward to the game and putting on a good show for the fans. And our players have really responded; they are eager and wide-eyed and they are willing to listen and willing to work. It's been a good experience for them. Our whole objective has been to put them in a position where they can showcase their abilities and help them as far as their draft status goes and moving on to the next level. They have been eager to do whatever we have asked them to do. From that standpoint it's been an enjoyable experience."
Coach Reeves: "I think, to talk about what Coach (Shula) said, first of all it's been really enjoyable to work. I've got some of my ex-coaches there, but also we brought in a lot of coaches that are young coaches in the National Football League, that are with teams that aren't in the playoffs. Its been really fun for me to work with Mike Singletary and Mike Dumas and John Benton, guys that came from the league that I had never coached with, so its been very enjoyable to work with those guys. To be with some of my old coaches, George Sefcik, Charlie Waters and (Billy) "white shoes" Johnson, who never coached with me, but always wanted to come in and return punts when I was coaching, especially after his record got broken. That's been an enjoyable experience.
"But I think from the players standpoint, it is difficult to get a game plan together, but I think Don and I have worked together hopefully to make it an easier situation, to where we limited what we can do, sort of like the Pro Bowl and the Senior Bowl do, that they limit what you can play defensively, what you can use formation-wise offensively and try to get it to where its easy for these guys so that assignment-wise they should be able to go out and execute. To get your snap count and cadence down and not worry about fumbles and get your timing in your passing game, it's a very short period of time, but the thing that I've been amazed is what Coach Shula said, is that these guys have been so attentive and worked so hard. They're excited. This is an opportunity for them, with all these scouts around and be out there for every single practice, that they are being evaluated in everything they do. They have really worked hard and its been fun.
"Don and I have talked about it, we're concerned about today and that we need to tone these guys down. Our practices have been super. We have had two fantastic practices as far as tempo goes and still had some collisions that we would like to eliminate. These guys are going to be evaluated on not only how they practice, but how do you control your emotions, how do you control your temper? There are going to be some times when it happens in games and they're going to be judged on that and they have to show that they can handle that part of the situation too. It's been a great experience."
(on the Shriners and what they have shown him)
Coach Reeves: "I would like to say that for me, I knew about the Shriners and what they did, but I had no idea how great a job they do for these kids that are burned or in orthopedic and now they are moving into other areas and how much money. No government money whatsoever, they do it on their own and I've been amazed and it's been a great experience from that standpoint to learn a little more about the Shriners and what they do."
(on his son Mike Shula being interviewed for the Miami Dolphins job)
Coach Shula: "The Dolphins have to make a decision as to what direction they go. They asked me to come in a couple weeks ago to sit in on a meeting and go over a list of candidates they have had an opportunity to talk to. Mike was on that list, and since I've been out here I know Mike was called back in for a second interview, and I can only tell you what I know about Mike. He's got a good background and he's been a head coach in college football and he's been an assistant coach in the National Football League for a number of years with some winning organizations. A year ago at this time, he was the head coach at
and they had just won the Cotton Bowl and had a 10-2 record. He was pretty proud at that time and got a new contract extension and more money and now a year later he's out looking for a job. I think he's a worthy candidate for the head coaching job and I think he's ready for it. The Dolphins are just going to have to evaluate him along with the other two or three or four finalists that they have to make the decision"
(on having him follow in his footsteps)
Coach Shula: "I would be very proud of him, certainly, and it's something that he will have earned; not the fact that he is my son, the fact that he has worked hard to get to where he is. Being an assistant at the Pro Bowl for a number of years and also the head coach at
for four years. He's not being interviewed because he's my son; he's being interviewed because he is a legit candidate for the job."
(on being competitive with one another this week)
Coach Shula: "I think we are both pretty competitive. We've gotten to know each other over the years and I've got a great deal of respect for Dan and the way competes and the way that his teams have competed. I know he's going to have his football team ready, so it's my competitive nature to make sure we have our team ready. We have worked hard. Our assistant coaches have worked hard. And getting those guys back and working has been fun for me. The game is a game that I'm sure both squads are going to work hard to put on the best show that they can."
(on getting back into coaching)
Coach Shula: Last January 4th I turned 77. I'm not thinking about getting back in on a full-time basis. I coached for 33 years in the National Football League as a head coach and I played for seven. I was an assistant coach for three, so I've got 43 years experience in the National Football League. That totally consumes you and takes over your life when you're the head coach. I was consumed for 33 years and I'm enjoying my freedom right now."
Coach Reeves: "I was involved as a head coach for 23 years. I think there is no question that the first 12 were totally different I think than the last 11. It's much more time-consuming now. At the time that I was fired in
, I needed a break. 23 straight years as a head coach is very difficult. But as soon as I got enough golf played and started doing all those honey do's, I knew I was ready to get back in it. Now whether I would get another chance or not was a different situation. Don turned 77, and I hope I look as good at 77. I'll turn 63 in two days. It's still in my blood. I think I can still coach. They don't give you a transfusion to get it out of your blood. As Don said, as you grow older, there is no question that you have more difficulty going 20 straight weeks; but I could handle it when I was 60 and 61, so I think I can still do it now. If it happens, it's great, but if it doesn't, it's not going to bother me."
(on having a scrimmage at the mixed team practice)
Coach Reeves: "Lets not call it a scrimmage; I hope it's going to be a practice where we get the same type of tempo that we have had against ourselves. We're not going to tackle, and that is a big difference. That is what they have to learn is that with the rosters they have going into the National Football League now, even in training camp, you do very little full speed, all-out tackling, because you can't afford to get anybody hurt. We don't want to get anybody hurt here. We want to wait and get them ready for the game.
"Don and I have to do a good job, we feel like. We worked together in Germany and (former Dallas Cowboys) Coach (Tom) Landry to me, I have spent 16 years with Coach Landry, and I thought the things that I learned from him is that he's very well-organized and wanted to make sure things ran smoothly. You have to prepare to do that. That is exactly what I found out when I was over against Coach Shula. He was extremely organized and I think that is what we have tried to do this week with our coaches is try to be organized and make sure guys are going in the right place. It takes time to do that, so we have to be really organized today when you go in and we've got two football teams and we've got a full stadium out there at practice, we have to really be organized today to try and get this thing running smoothly. We want to make sure our guys practice the way we've been practicing and hopefully eliminate any taking guys down to the ground. You're going to think it's full speed. They have learned to do this blocking and resisting blocks and moving and thumping and hitting guys. It's going to be a heck of a show."
(on what Coach Reeves told the Texans while a consultant about possibly drafting
Coach Reeves: "Well, let me say first of all that you never know about a draft after one year. Okay? It's two to three years, at least three years in my opinion, before you know how good of a draft you have had. When I came here, we looked at Vince Young because I felt like, having watched him, that we needed to look at him. Whether you had a David Carr or not, you had to evaluate the young man and see if this does fit in your picture. And basically what it came down to is I liked what I saw, and I also liked what I saw in David Carr. But then it was, in my opinion, who ever came here as a head coach, for him to sit down, look at David Carr and evaluate him and say, you know, is this the guy I want? And that's exactly what they did. Gary Kubiak came in and felt comfortable with David Carr so then it eliminated the possibility of taking Vince Young. And I don't disagree with that at all. To me it's up to who you bring in as a head coach to make that evaluation. Now, as far a Reggie Bush, I looked at Reggie Bush, and I felt like if you're not going to take Vince Young, my opinion, Reggie Bush would be the guy. Now, I never looked at Mario Williams. That never was part of the equation when I was here. I did not even know about Mario Williams until right before the draft. You know (when) people started talking about him. And I did look at some film on him, you know, on my own. But that was not part of the equation when I was here."
(on whether they find anything surprising about the game since he left coaching)
Coach Shula: "You know, I haven't noticed any difference. I see players that are eager to learn, willing to work, and want to be taught to do the right things. I think they respect the fact that I've got 33 years experience in the National Football League and won a lot of games, and my coaching staff was with me during most of those years. So I think they respect the fact that they are being taught things that are going to help them get to the next level."
Coach Reeves: "You know, let me just add to that. I don't know how many years ago, but I came down to
for a fund raiser for Dorothy, Don's wife who passed away with breast cancer. Marty Schottenheimer and Bill Cowher and I and our wives were in a limo and we were headed to the function, and we got to talking. And you know, we were all talking about where we were and I had the most wins of the three of us. We said, look if we average ten wins a year, which is a pretty good year if you can come up with ten wins a year, how long would it take for you, me, Dan to coach to get to (Don Shula's total of) 347 wins?
We figured if I averaged 10 wins, I would be 83 (years old). Marty was going to be in his high 70's, and Bill Cowher had his best chance, he would be in his early 70's. So in my opinion, that's a record that won't ever be broken. Nobody will ever get to 347 wins. Now, Bill Cowher has the best chance and what happens? He coached for what, 15 years, and he's ready for a sabbatical. Now, he'll come back and coach, but he's sitting there at 150 or so wins, he's got 150-some plus, what, 190 something wins (to go). So only 19 more years for Cowher."
(on whether Coach Reeves ever thought his player Gary Kubiak would be a coach) Coach Reeves: "Well, I felt like he was going to be a coach because he was so mentally into every game. One of the most difficult positions, in my opinion, for your offense is to have a second-string quarterback prepared and ready to play because he's one play away from being your starter. Gary Kubiak was ready every single time.
"He played, got a call one time the night before the game, and said John Elway's sick, so you're going to have to play; he's not going to be able to play. He played an unbelievable game. We go up to Washington to play our Monday night game; John (Elway) and I and a couple other people in that organization went to the White House, and they got John sick with food poisoning. I think they did it intentionally. But anyways, John all of a sudden gets food poisoning, and he can't play tonight. We're playing the Redskins and they are favored. And Gary Kubiak led us to a victory. So that's a difficult position.
"I always felt like he had the ability to coach and it was always just strictly if he wanted to. I offered him a position there, but he would be coaching John (Elway), who was his roommate. And he felt like he needed to get some experience and came down to Texas A&M and started coaching. And I think he's done a heck of job of preparing himself for where he is right now. And there's no question in my mind that he'll be extremely successful here."
(on whether Coach Reeves thinks Coach Kubiak could get to Coach Shula's win total of 347) Coach Reeves: "Nope. He didn't start; he didn't get an early enough start. (To Coach Shula:) How early were you when you started?"
*Coach Shula: *"I was 33 years old when I got the head coaching job with the Baltimore Colts. I was an assistant for three years with the Detroit Lions before that. And at that time we had two defensive coaches with the Lions, Les Bingaman and I were the defensive coaches. And I think we had five assistant coaches on the staff. This past year (Dolphins Head Coach Nick) Saban had, what, 26 assistant coaches? He left 23 of them there."
Coach Reeves: "You started at 33, and so your last year you were…"
Coach Shula: "'95 was my last year, so I was born in…so (I) was 65 my last year."
Coach Reeves: "So you had 32 years and you get 347 victories, so he cheated somewhere. Somewhere he added some points."
Coach Shula: "The secret is you've got to win early and often to keep the job."
Coach Reeves: "But you didn't eve have 16 games (a season) when you started."
Coach Shula: "No, it was 14 games."
(on what is means to be selected with each other to coach the East West Shrine Game) Coach Shula: "This is one of the attractive things about this game is you can come out and work and respect the guy on the other side of the field. And Dan and I have always had this good relationship going back to our week together in Germany with our wives over there. And spending time together and getting our teams ready and respecting each other and playing a good football game. That's what made this game here attractive to me."
Coach Reeves: "You know we both came in and Don had Dan Marino and I had John Elway, and through those years those two quarterbacks were the elite guys coming out that particular year, so we had a little bit of competition between our quarterbacks at that time. But the attraction to me was I never beat him when he was an NFL coach, so maybe I'll get a chance to beat him in a bowl game. So this is a bowl game as far as I'm concerned. Also he showed up to the press conference and he took the side he wanted first. So he always gets the first choice."
Coach Shula: "It comes with age."
Coach Reeves: "It's been great. It was a big attraction for me that the league was thinking about doing this and they were going to have Don Shula (and) I was going to be the other coach. It's a tremendous honor for me to even be talked about in the same vein as you talk about Don Shula."
Coach Shula: "This guy should be a future Hall of Fame coach. You look at his numbers and put them down in comparison with some of the coaches that are in the Hall of Fame. Dan's numbers are as good or better than some of the coaches that are already in, so it's just a question of time. And I'm going to campaign for you, Dan."
Coach Reeves: "I appreciate that."
(on how importing the Hall of Fame is to Coach Reeves)
Coach Reeves: "It really doesn't… If it happens…"
Coach Shula: "Tell the truth, Dan."
Coach Reeves: "There's no question, that's an unbelievable honor. When you look at it that
I was a free agent coming into the league, wasn't drafted and ended up a player/coach
for three years, and spend 16…I've spend 39 years in the National Football League
as a player, a player/coach, assistant coach, head coach. And to go into the
Hall of Fame, aww gosh, that would be an unbelievable honor. I've been very fortunate;
I've been around a lot of good football teams. Five Super Bowls with the Dallas
Cowboys, you know, three unfortunately that we didn't win in
that we didn't win. People put a lot credibility as a player and as a coach whether you win the Super Bowl or not."
Coach Shula: "And it shouldn't be political. It shouldn't be who has the best press agent.
It should be just sitting down and taking the record of a coach through the years
and comparing them to the coaches that have already been recognized that are in
the Hall of Fame. And if you're as good or better than those coaches there isn't
any reason why you shouldn't be put in. it shouldn't be who has the best press
agent or who does the best job lobbying in the meetings when they make the selection.
I mean the selection thing should just be based on performance, players and coaches."