Monte Kiffin and Rod Marinelli made sure they walked into Valley Ranch the right way -– by soaking it all in.
“You walk through this, I mean, it just reeks with tradition here,” Kiffin said Thursday as he met with reporters at Valley Ranch for the first time since being named the team’s new defensive coordinator, and since bringing along former colleague Rod Marinelli to be defensive line coach.
“And you see all these pictures. And Rod Marinelli came in and we were so – we just went out to the front and walked ... we just pretended we were coming in for the first time,” Kiffin said. “I said, ‘You’ve got to see this, Rod.’ We went outside and walked back in. I said, ‘Look at this.’ ”
Marinelli said he saw plenty of history up close in Chicago, too, as defensive coordinator with the Bears.
"I just love the history of the game of football," he said. "I was in Chicago. The history is there. Then, you come here and wow, the history is fabulous. It’s something as a coach you’ve got to relate back to the players, how fortunate we are to be where we are, and there is a history here. We’ve got to understand that and there are standards we’ve got to match up to."
Kiffin also appreciates NFL history, so he had an idea what it meant to join the Cowboys, one of the most followed teams in the NFL. But he said it was confirmed to him without a doubt when he went to pick up his wife at the airport just a few days after he got into town.
“I’m flipping around the radio stations, and it isn’t just like sports talk, or this or that, it’s the Dallas Cowboys,” he said. “Believe it or not, I hit a button, hit another, and they are still talking Dallas Cowboys. But anyway, you are all fired up down here. It is what it is. That’s why it’s the Dallas Cowboys. That’s why it’s the dream team. I’m just a young pup, or whatever, but you heard about the Dallas Cowboys back in those days.”
-- Carlos Mendez