Tim DeRuyter took the job as Mike Sherman's defensive coordinator in January, replacing Joe Kines, who retired after two seasons at Texas A&M. DeRuyter left a job as defensive coordinator at Air Force, his alma mater, to take on the task of shaping up the Big 12's worst defense in 2009.
Here's part one of what he had to say.
David Ubben: We’ll start simple. It’s De-ROOT-er, right?
Tim DeRuyter: Correct. DeRuyter, like “The Rooter.”
DU: Plenty of name butcherings since you got to College Station?
TD: Oh, yeah. It’s one of the hazards of having a name like mine, but I guess you get used to it.
DU: How much of a sense do you have about the fan excitement surrounding your arrival?
TD: Well, we’re undefeated and haven’t been scored on since I got here, so I guess everyone’s happy. People here have been awesome. I’d heard the reputation of the Aggie fans, and they’ve exceeded it. It’s really been something. It’s kind of hard for me to believe how over the top these guys are.
DU: Had any memorable run-ins with the Aggie fans since you got there?
TD: Not really, because I usually just go from the hotel to work and back. But when I first got here, I didn’t even know anyone knew I was coming out here to interview and on the way to a basketball game, some of the fans were like, ‘Hey, Coach, we want you to come here,’ and I didn’t think anybody even knew who I was. But I guess they did, and just the fact that they know about you is kind of impressive. They really over-the-top you.
DU: So your family hasn’t been able to follow you to College Station yet?
TD: No, actually they have. We’re still looking to get a place to stay. College Station’s not a real big town, but we wanted to get our kids into school, so we brought them right away and we’re looking for a temporary house fairly quickly.
DU: Care to give a shoutout to the hotel chain putting you up?
TD: Sure, the Hilton in College Station has been awesome. That’s where our team stays and they’ve really been super for us.
DU: What was your relationship with Mike Sherman before you came?
TD: To be honest with you, I didn’t have one. I didn’t know Coach Sherman at all, and through a third party, Coach [Troy] Calhoun, the head coach at Air Force, had worked with Coach Sherman with the [NFL’s Houston] Texans, but I’d never met him. After our bowl game, he called and asked if I’d be interested in interviewing for a position. And to be honest with you, my first reaction was, well, I’m extremely happy where I’m at, the Air Force Academy. I’m a grad from there and we had some success and I thought everything was great, and I still do; it was one of the greatest jobs I’ve ever had. But the tradition of A&M and the possibilities of what you can do here kind of intrigued me, so I talked to Coach Calhoun about it and he said, ‘Well, go on out and talk to them and see what you think.’ When I got here and talked with Coach Sherman I was extremely impressed and he sold me.
DU: Last year, Air Force threw 153 passes and ran an option scheme. Texas A&M threw the ball 509 times. How much does that change your approach?
TD: Well, what it does is it gives you more of a chance in practice to see it every day. The fact that we’re going to go against each other gives you a chance to see your reaction to it a little bit quicker and better. But the flip of that is we run up tempo here, and we ran some up tempo at Air Force, but we might have a few more snaps on defense than we had at Air Force. So we’ve got to be in great shape and be ready to compete. But what it does is gets you ready for the Big 12 because there are so many teams that run that up tempo, throw-it-all-the-time type of style, like Houston, who we played in a bowl game.
DU: How much of the new players have you been able to see so far?
TD: We’re in the middle of morning workouts right now, so I see them in the weight room and we’re going through right now what we call the junket, which is our conditioning program prior to spring ball and what it does is gives you a chance to see who can move around and maybe more importantly, gives you a chance to see who really, when things are going tough and we’re trying to gut ‘em out a little bit, who’s going to stay in there and fight. And we’ve got a really good group in here who are willing to lay it on the line, and I’m excited to get a chance to coach these guys.
In part two later this morning, DeRuyter talks about which player has impressed him in early workouts, and where Von Miller fits in his defense.