Trent Dilfer’s tenure as the UAB football head coach begins at some point on Thursday. To be exact, it begins when the final horn signifies the end of Lipscomb Academy’s third consecutive trip to the Tennessee high school state championship.
For approximately two weeks, though, he’ll take a bit of a supporting role as UAB prepares to conclude the 2022 season with a trip to the Bahamas Bowl to play Miami of Ohio on December 16.
“I’m going to get here, I’m going to get my hands dirty, I’m going to meet people, I’m going to love people,” Dilfer said. “I’m going to serve this coaching staff, until they’re gone, and I mean that. I told Coach Vincent today, ‘You have a project, put me on it. You got something you need me to do to help you guys win this bowl game, I’m in.’ I’m here to support them.”
No job, Dilfer insists, is too big or too small.
“I am going to be in the Bahamas for the bowl game,” Dilfer said. “I plan on serving Coach Vincent and this staff any way I can. I mean that. He is the head coach. I’m here to support him in the transition, to serve these young men, to serve this staff. I’m not joking, if they send me on coffee runs, I’ll go on coffee runs.”
Dilfer impressed UAB athletic director Mark Ingram and members of the search committee with his knowledge of the Blazers’ personnel and schemes during the interview. Dilfer estimated that he watched 600 to 700 plays on tape while preparing for his interview.
“I never cheated Lipscomb one second, I did this after hours,” Dilfer said. “I did this from 7:30 [p.m.] to 2:30 in the morning or 4 o’clock in the morning. I wanted to get a feel. [For example], Fish McWilliams is an incredible football player. There is a lot there.”
He was also evaluating coaches. Dilfer certainly comes in with some coaching spots filled, but there are spots available. He said he plans on interviewing each of the coaches on the staff, if they want an interview.
“Listen, there’s a lot of good coaches here, so why wouldn’t I?” Dilfer said. “It’s like, why wouldn’t I [seek advice from] Bill Clark? Why wouldn’t I interview the defensive line coach here, who has developed a really good defensive line unit? Hindley Brigham has developed, what, three NFL backs? I’d be crazy not to talk to him about running back play. Those are things that will happen when it’s comfortable for them. I want to be respectful of them preparing for this game. I would think in the next 10 days or so, I would talk to all of them.”
On Wednesday, Dilfer met with the team for the first time.
“They’re losing a man that they truly, truly believe in,” Dilfer said. “Talking to those players, today, you can see it in their eyes. They love Coach Vincent, they love that staff. I said I want to honor that. I want to help them finish strong. I also hope to earn their trust as we go through this together, because great things are coming.”
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