NASHVILLE, Tenn. —Kevin Dyson calls on what he learned during his time as a Titans receiver quite often now as head football coach and athletic director of Independence High School.
The Titans are opening the same practice fields and meeting rooms of Baptist Sports Park where Dyson spent five pro seasons to area high school football coaches for the 11th annual Titans High School Coaching Clinic on Tuesday, June 12. High school coaches will have an opportunity to observe a practice, attend multiple sessions with Titans coaches and shape the afternoon discussions.
The clinic overlaps with one of the Titans' organized team activity practices and continues with breakout sessions at the team's facility. For the second straight year, high school coaches can request specific topics they would like Titans coaches to address. Space to make such requests is on the registration form. The cost is $30, which includes lunch; the payment deadline is June 6.
Dyson, a first-round draft pick by the Titans in 1998, is among several players who have transitioned to coaching high school football. He believes establishing discipline, building trust in the program and efficiently using practice time have been most beneficial to him since he took the helm at Independence in 2009.
"I think it's a combination of two things," Dyson said. "You have to have a disciplined team and be disciplined with what you do. That's true for any good program, any level of any sport. At school, in the community, in the military, discipline is key. The second is the ability to have kids buy what you're selling. They have to trust you are right and believe in it."
Dyson, who recorded 176 catches for 2,310 yards and scored the touchdown during the "Music City Miracle" in five seasons with the Titans, said he continues to learn football as he teaches it. He said the clinic will allow high school coaches to gain information that will be helpful for their players and programs.
Registration will begin at 10 a.m., and will be followed by the practice. Attendees will then eat lunch, which is included in the registration fee. Titans second-year head coach and member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Mike Munchak will officially welcome attendees at 1:45 p.m. Sessions with defensive coordinator Jerry Gray, special teams coach Alan Lowry, strength and conditioning coach Steve Watterson and head athletic trainer Brad Brown will follow.
Offensive coordinator Chris Palmer and offensive line coach Bruce Matthews will conduct sessions in the afternoon, and then assistant coaches will handle breakout sessions. The clinic is scheduled to conclude about 5:20 p.m.
Dyson said offensive line is a "critical position, but even more so at the high school level" and defensive line is also important at the high school level. He said program organization and maximizing every minute of practice is also crucial.
Former Houston and Tennessee Oilers linebacker Lemanski Hall (1994-97) transitioned into coaching high school football after he retired from the NFL in 2003. Hall is now an assistant at Ensworth and said attending coaching clinics helps him stay "on the cutting edge" by gaining the newest information to pass along to his players.
Hall said coaching high school football has brought back memories of the passion he had when he played high school football. Hall said he tries to emphasize effort and attitude in addition to teaching skills.
"You can't coach attitude, you've got to have it every day," Hall said, adding that high school players show their love for the game by working out in the summer and persisting through challenges.
"When I try to coach kids, I remember what I did and didn't like," Hall said. "What I try to do is build confidence and get them to play at a level I want them to play at. I want to be consistent — you can't coach every player the same way because they all have different personalities, so I try to get to know the kids, the players, and get them to perform."
NOTE:The Titans/USA Football Youth Football Coaches Clinic is a separate event that is set for Saturday, June 9, at Baptist Sports Park. Youth coaches are encouraged to register for that clinic at www.usafootball.com and click "camps."