ANDERSON, Ind. -- I’ve been trying to get to Clyde Christensen for a long time. Friday I finally got to meet him. He’s a charming, friendly guy.
How generally limiting access to him (and his colleagues) allows media and fans to know that is something I can’t figure out.
As a promised follow-up, here are highlights of his talk with a small group of reporters:
Will people notice a change in the offense?
“It’s still more maintenance. There’s going to be tweaking. Every single year we tweak … The system stays the same, and every year you try to make it better.”
How comfortable has the transition been?
“It’s been pretty smooth, just because I’ve been in front of the room. Tom [Moore] had given me so much responsibility the last two, three years, it really was real comfortable. It’s a blessing you’re not putting in a whole new offense with a new group of guys … Tom’s been gone the offseason the last couple years too where I have had it for the whole offseason. So there hasn’t been much change in those meetings, and most of those guys know me.”
How much better of a coach are you since the year in that job in Tampa, and what do you think of when you think back to that?
“It’s nine years ago. But I look back, I went from a college coach to being a coach at Tampa, coached three different positions and ended up as the OC. And we went from being the worst team and sports franchise at that point, to if you don’t win the Super Bowl we’ve got to make a change. So I look at those as great years, positive …
“We turned a bad franchise around to an awful good one. I probably learned a lot in that there are a lot of different ways. We kind of break the mold here on you’ve got to run the ball and you’ve got to stop the run, and that’s the only way you win a football game. Here is unique. We’ve done some things that are probably a little different from Coaching 101.
"So it’s been a great learning thing for me here. Certainly being around Peyton and seeing how he approaches things, you can’t help but get better, and in nine years I would hope people would say I worked at the profession and got better at it just from hard work.”
Are you conscious of having to measure up, or is there less pressure because he helped set the standards?
“I’ve never looked at it that way, I don’t look at the coordinator as more important than the receivers coach. I think you guys do and maybe public perception does. I just look at it as a different role. I did the best I could at receivers, and I’ll do the best I can at this thing, stay within the philosophy of the franchise. I kind of look at it more that way, that’s probably self-serving too. I don’t want to measure myself by Tom Moore’s success for Pete’s sake.”
A few other notes:
Christensen plans to remain on the sideline, in part because handling the play-calling directly to Peyton Manning from there instead of having it relayed from the booth saves five to seven seconds. They plan on Moore remaining on the sideline too. But Christensen said they will use the preseason to test out which assistants will work from the booth, and he reserves the right to change things up until opening day.
He still bounces things off Moore, now senior offensive assistant, a lot. He considers Moore a huge asset, and frequently talks with him after practice over a Coke to compare notes.
He doesn’t have huge aspirations to be a head coach – “I think everyone does a little bit,” he said -- because he loves the people he works for and works with now. Though with grown children it might be more of a possibility in coming years.