Tell us about life with the twins.
"I would not trade jobs with my wife (Joy) if someone held me at gunpoint. She's fantastic with them. I knew I married the right woman before we had children, and I'm more convinced of it every day. That's what saves me."
What was that day like when the doctor said, "Wait, there's two of them"?
"The funny thing is that her doctor had already kind of cursed us with it. He said you are older and you are both tall, so your chances of having twins goes up."
I didn't know that.
"Well, we didn't either. My wife is the only child of two only children, so you could hold her family reunion in my office. We were like, yeah, whatever. But when they did the ultrasound, it was like, 'Where did all the oxygen go?' People ask me how hard it is, but I'm just like every Citadel cadet. You don't talk about the easy times, you tell the horror stories that make you look tougher. There's a lot about those first two months that I can't remember a thing."
You will be coaching the offensive line as well as calling the plays for the Bulldogs this year. What are the challenges in doing both jobs?
"It is a challenge. You are going to watch film and know what for the most part what you are getting from the defense. And if you don't see it exactly, that's what our coaches up in the box we'll be doing. And we've restructured our staff a little bit to help with that. We have (former Citadel player) Raleigh Jackson now to coach the tight ends, and he will be an assistant offensive line coach as well. He will have an awful lot to do with our tackles, and that will allow me to concentrate more on the plays and what they are giving us. In the triple-option offense, you can get a feel for how the defensive secondary is moving by who makes the play. But really, you need to see how they are playing the quarterback and fullback to make your calls. The biggest part of the information I will need from the box is the secondary rotation and make sure we take advantage of play-action opportunities when they are there."
You have practically a whole new coaching staff on offense. Has this summer been important to mesh the new coaches and make sure everyone is on the same page?
"It has, and we really did it with the whole staff. One thing we really needed to work on this year, and not just because we have some new guys, is to make sure everybody knew what every position did. That's what I've really tried to work on this summer, so that everybody has a real understanding of the triple option, and not just their one little position-specific world. Our new quarterbacks coach, Craig Candeto, learned from (Georgia Tech coach) Paul Johnson, just like I did, so it was really an instant connection as far as that goes. It's not necessarily getting on the same page, but communicating all those things to all the guys on the staff, that's been really good."
Last year was a difficult one for The Citadel's offense (averaging 14.9 points and 258 yards per game, both last in the Southern Conference). What's the one thing that encourages you the most about this year's offense?
"My friends joke with me and say, 'Well, you can't get any worse.' But that's not what encourages me. What encourages me is the work ethic of the players, and I think we've got a really good staff with experience in the option, and with the option at a military school. But with the players themselves, the difference between last year and this year is huge. As you leave the office in the summer, guys are coming in and asking to watch film on their own. Last year, those instances were few and far between. I think there's a huge buy-in this year, and not just with the young kids, but the older kids, too. I think the buy-in of the players and the staff are the two most encouraging things."
Last year, quarterbacks Ben Dupree and Matt Thompson struggled as freshmen. Do you expect major improvement from them this season?
"Yes, for two reasons. One is having Coach Candeto on board. The fact that he played quarterback in this system and it's the same exact way that we all have talked about it. Last year, it was slightly different and maybe there was a little bit of a disconnect there. And he can relate with those guys so well, being new guys thrown into the fire. His first year at Navy was when they went 1-10, so that's huge. And just the sheer amount of reps they've gotten over the spring and summer, that's going to help them so much."