Before training camps kick off, a number of players and some coaches will pay tribute to people who helped them make it to the NFL as part of the AFC South Blog’s summer series “Early Influence.”
Joseph Addai, Colts running back
“In college I had three good running back coaches and I got different things from them. But I’d say Derek Dooley, who’s now at Tennessee was the one who sticks out most. My redshirt sophomore year at LSU through my junior year I had him, then he went to Miami with Nick Saban.
“He was about every time just giving a little bit more. He had a good way of teaching it, it was more the delivery. I mean you can tell somebody anything, but how do they receive it? He knows how to give it to you. So I always think about that. OK, on certain things, this is what I need to get, how would I go about doing it? Not only just doing it, but I am understanding why we’re doing it. So I think a lot of that comes from him …
“When he had to be loud, he had to. But he’s always been a coach that can actually talk you through it. Kind of sit you down and say, ‘Look, this is what we are trying to do.’ I’m not saying my other running back coaches didn’t do that. I just noticed that about him. You have to be a man to play and coach this game, but he shows the love, he shows that he cares. ‘All right look, let’s take a step back, then go forward.’ Even when things weren't going your way, you could always go talk to him, I always respected that. He was always up front and honest.
“He knows he’s important to me, I don’t think he knows now going into my fifth year I still think about his approach. Back then we actually sat and talked about it. But I don’t know if he knows that what he taught me still goes a long way with me now.”