Anderson to return

1-9-02, 12:10 a.m.

BY GEOFF HOBSON

Bengals running backs coach Jim Anderson has been informed he didn't get the head coaching job at Stanford and plans to return to Cincinnati for a 19th season.

"It was a great experience to go through," said Anderson from Palo Alto, Calif., Tuesday night. "But life goes on and right now I'm thinking about helping us get to the playoffs next season."

Anderson planned to be back in his Bengals' office Thursday, the day after University of Florida passing game coordinator Buddy Teevens got the job.

Anderson, 53, an assistant at Stanford under Paul Wiggin for four seasons before joining Sam Wyche's first Bengals' staff in 1984, had dinner Monday night and breakfast Tuesday morning with Cardinal athletic director Ted Leland. Leland hired Teevens away from the University of Maine to Dartmouth in 1987.

Anderson also met with representatives from the student body, faculty, and the team in their search to replace new Notre Dame head coach Tyrone Willingham.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported Tuesday that Anderson had done "exceedingly well," in his interviews. The San Jose Mercury News said that contrary to reports,

former Redskins head coach Norv Turner didn't interview for the job.

"It's tough to know what is going to push the buttons," Anderson said earlier Tuesday. "I emphasized my experience in both the pros and in college and just tried to be myself."

Anderson had some things going for him at Stanford. Former Cardinal running back Darrin Nelson, now an associate athletic director at the school, played for Anderson. Former Stanford head coach Dennis Green, recently fired after nine winning seasons with the Vikings, went to high school with Anderson in Harrisburg, Pa.

But Anderson is returning to a nice situation. Corey Dillon's 1,315-yard season is the fifth of his career and 10th for the Bengals' backfield under Anderson. Plus, fullback Lorenzo Neal had what some in the locker room and on the coaching staff thought was a Pro Bowl season.

He also likes the versatility of fullback Nick Williams, a player looking more and more like an H-back.

There's also the potential of the last two fourth-round picks in Curtis Keaton and Rudi Johnson. An indication the Bengals have a full cupboard at running back is that Anderson isn't sticking around Palo Alto this week to scout the East-West Shrine college all-star game.

"He's one of the finest men and coaches I've been around," said offensive line coach Paul Alexander when he heard Anderson was interviewing for the job. "He's passionate and knowledgeable and Stanford would be making an excellent choice."

On Tuesday night, Anderson was philosophical.

"It was nice to be asked and called," he said.

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