Noah Underhill sat down with the new coach and talked about what brought him to Houston, where the team stands now and where he plans on taking them in the future.
1.) What is your main priority for this season?
My main priority this season is winning. There is no reason this team can't compete at the highest level with the players we have on both sides of the ball. With veteran leadership at quarterback Glenn Haye and a talented group of wide receivers this offense should be able to move the ball consistently. The defense is solid but will need to get much better against the run. We have some very good young talent that we will be working hard to develop. HB is a position where we need a drastic improvement.
2.) How long do you think it will take until you are a playoff contender or do you think you are there already?
We can compete for the playoffs. No doubt in my mind. The talent is there. The coaching staff, most of all myself, just need to figure out how to get the most out of our players each week and develop a solid game plan for developing our young talent. My expectation is that we are in the playoff hunt at the end of this season.
3.) Your Rushing attack is near the bottom of the league. Is that because of your scheme or are you just void of talent.
The run game is an area where we have a lot of opportunity for improvement over the next 3 to 5 seasons. We have 2 young running backs, Ward and now Morton who was just signed from our practice squad, who I think can be star caliber players in this league if coached up properly. Our staff has a "run first" mentality so we are focused on developing those two young men. The other challenge there is the O-line. Let's face it, we have an average to below average starting front 5. We have a long term plan to begin addressing that through free agency and the draft. We are in a good position with our Cap so ideally we can land a veteran or 2 in free agency and draft some young talent that can develop along with Ward and Morton.
4.) What drew you to this job in the first place
The RFL brand. I feel like coaching in this league carries a high degree of prestige. But with that comes high expectations. I set high expectations for myself as a coach and set high expectations for my players. I think that aligns well with what the RFL is all about. I hope to make my mark here and contribute to the growth and popularity of the RFL, the RFL brand and our sport in general.
5.) Will you be trying any quick fix moves now or is this a long term build.
This organization does not believe in quick fixes. I don't believe there are shortcuts to building a successful dynasty. Will there be player acquisitions and trades along the way, sure. But don't put a lot of stock in overpriced, superstar players; they rarely make a significant difference in wins and losses, and almost always break the bank. Cap management is critical and I would prefer to reward players developing in our scheme instead of hiring high dollar player-mercenaries.
6.) Is Preston McGee your starter for the long haul.
Glenn Haye will be here as long as he performs. It's the same for all of our players. Performance and contribution to the success of this team dictates everything; roster position, playing time, salary and legacy. Now, don't get me wrong, Glenn Haye is an incredible talent and I have no doubt that he will end his career here if he chooses to do so. That would make my job a hell of a lot easier over the next 10 years. Glenn is a tough read. He and I are still working on finding our common ground because our personalities are so different. We are both intense but he is more inwardly intense whereas I am outwardly intense. It is a great trait for a quarterback. He is stoic on the outside but I guarantee you his mind is churning and burning at the speed of light. He plays like a wizard back there. Maybe we should start calling him Merlin with that hair of his!