A familiar face

Nate Griffin: Former Oiler Dishman to coach in the NFLPA collegiate bowl

Former Oiler Cris Dishman is working on a coaching career. NYdailynews.com

He was a heck of a player and now he wants to prove he can be a heck of a coach with a heart for people. Former two-time Pro-Bowl defensive back Cris Dishman -- “Dish” as he is affectionately called -- will get his chance to work as Defensive Coordinator for the American Team in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl.

Dishman played with four teams while in the NFL, including eight seasons with the Houston Oilers. The other three teams he played for were the Washington Redskins, Kansas City Chiefs, and Minnesota Vikings. Yes, Dishman was part of the 1993 Houston Oilers team that suffered the greatest comeback in the history of the NFL by the Buffalo Bills.

The game is Saturday at 3 p.m. central at the Los Angeles Coliseum. NFL Hall of Famer Darrell Green makes his debut as the head coach of the American Team while former St. Louis Rams Head Coach Mike Martz will lead the National Team for a fourth straight year. Dishman understands this is a huge opportunity.

“I was called. They called and asked me did I want to do it,” he said. “I said yes I’d do it because I didn’t have (anything) really going on. I could never turn down (anything) football related. So, I decided to come out here and do it.”   

This game will feature a load of talented draft-eligible and now former collegiate players, including TCU quarterback Kenny Hill, Texas wide receiver Armanti Foreman, East Carolina wide receiver Davon Grayson and Arizona State linebacker D.J. Calhoun.

Dishman worked as a coach with the Miami Dolphins in 2006. That same season, he became the defensive backs coach for Menlo College and eventually was named their defensive coordinator. January, 2009, Dishman was hired by the San Diego Chargers as an assistant defensive backs coach. He joined the staff of the Baylor Bears in 2015 as defensive backs coach. He sees himself in some of these players and says he’s ready to embrace this experience.

“It’s basically getting the scripts together, setting up practice plans, put in the whole defense, talk about the whole defense, knowing where the defensive line, the linebackers, secondary and everybody have to fit...not only in the run game but also in the pass game; and just be able to discuss it with the guys and get them all playing on the same level one play at a time.

“As a position coach, you have to worry about your position and your position only. As a coordinator, I have to worry about everybody’s position. I have to do what’s best for the team. I have to make the tough decisions and do what’s best for the team, not only for the d-line, but the linebackers and the defensive backs. So, I’ve got to take everybody’s point into consideration, decipher through it, and do what’s best for the team and not just for the group.”

The players know little about each other and have only had a week of practice together. It’s up to the coaches to turn these players into a single force by game day.

“Now we’ve got to get those guys who’ve always been arch rivals against each other to be a team,” he said. “We’ve got to remind them that their college days are over. This is your teammate now. No matter what your helmet says, you’re going to be (a member of) the American team.”

Dishman admits that with just a week of practice that started last Sunday, getting these players ready for Saturday has been a chore. So, he’s had to make a few adjustments.

“I have changed some of my terminology all because some of the kids have come up to me and said ‘Coach…we say it this way in college.’ So, I changed to adapt to them because we only have a week,” he said. “I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel in a week…not trying to reinvent football.

“The only thing I’m trying to be is the most efficient person within this week. I want those guys to play on Saturday and show their natural God-given talent and possibly get on an NFL and have a long illustrious career.”

Dishman says he would like to continue coaching after Saturday’s game. He says he knows that he can get the best out of his players.

“You have to be able to come early and stay late and you have to be a student of the game.”

We will see what the players learned on Saturday.    

 

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Kyle Tucker had a big day at the plate on Sunday. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

After splitting the first two games of the series, with one team or the other putting on a solid offensive performance in each, the Astros tried to win their fourth series in their last five by taking the rubber game on Sunday against the Blue Jays. Thanks in part to a big day from Kyle Tucker, who played a significant role in the early offense they used to power to the win, they would accomplish their mission.

Final Score: Astros 7, Blue Jays 4

Astros' Record: 18-16, second in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Bryan Abreu (2-1)

Losing Pitcher: Nate Pearson (0-1)

Kyle Tucker helps lead the offense to seven unanswered runs

Houston did not go easy on Nate Pearson in his 2021 debut. After a scoreless first, the Astros loaded the bases on two walks and a single, then brought the first run of the day home on an RBI walk by Michael Brantley. Another walk opened the door in the bottom of the third, and Kyle Tucker capitalized with an RBI triple to make it 2-0, followed by an RBI single by Robel Garcia to make it a three-run lead, ending Pearson's day one out into the bottom of the third.

Things didn't get easier for Toronto's pitching in the next inning, as Jose Altuve would lead off the bottom of the fourth with a solo homer. A single and a walk then set up another big hit for Kyle Tucker, a three-run dinger to make it seven unanswered runs and giving Tucker four RBI on the day.

Blue Jays pound Greinke in the fifth

After four shutout innings to start his day on the mound, working around a few hits along the way, Zack Greinke tried to cash in on his team's offense to get another win on his record. He wouldn't be able to get it done, though, as Toronto would get after him in the top of the fifth. They would score four times amongst five batters that came to the plate, with a solo homer by Rowdy Tellez, a two-RBI double by Bo Bichette, and an RBI single by Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

That made it a 7-4 game, and with Greinke still not having recorded an out in the frame, Dusty Baker would lift him at 88 pitches in favor of Bryan Abreu, who would get a pop out and a double play to end the inning and keep the lead at three runs. Greinke's final line: 4.0 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 88 P.

Houston takes the series

No more runs would come on either side the rest of the way, with Kent Emanuel working around a single for a scoreless sixth, Ryne Stanek getting a 1-2-3 seventh, and Andre Scrubb doing the same in the eighth to set up Ryan Pressly for the save. Pressly would get the job done, sending the Blue Jays down in order, including two strikeouts to wrap up the win and giving Houston the series victory.

Up Next: The Astros will stay at home to continue this homestand, welcoming in the Angels for three games starting Monday at 7:10 PM Central. The opener will feature a pitching matchup of Alex Cobb (1-2, 5.48 ERA) for Los Angeles and Luis Garcia (0-3, 3.28 ERA) for Houston.

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