A familiar face
Nate Griffin: Former Oiler Dishman to coach in the NFLPA collegiate bowl
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.