Lou Anarumo, whose run began as the volunteer junior varsity head coach at Wagner High School in his hometown of Staten Island, N.Y., is in his first season as an NFL defensive coordinator. And as he describes in the latest Hobson’s Choice Podcast, he’s taking counsel from all phases of his coaching career and that includes a time-out chat with a JV quarterback so long ago.
“Division III. Division 1-AA. Major college football then to the NFL,” Anarumo says of three decades that have taken him from Syracuse to South Beach. “You learn what to do and learn what not to do as well.”
His new players have praised his bluntness (“Like Zim,” says Carlos Dunlap of former Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer) and his quest to simplify the scheme. He thinks back to Brent Grimes, the cornerback that went to three straight Pro Bowls when Anarumo was the secondary coach in Miami.
“One of the best players I’ve ever coached,” Anarumo says. “I’d ask him, ‘Brent, what do you have on this play?’ ‘Cover the guy in front of me.’ Exactly. ‘Brent, what can the offense do to you on this particular play?’ ‘It’s either a run or pass.’ Exactly. He was joking obviously. But don’t make the game hard for players. Get them playing fast, physical and smart and that’s what’s important.”
Other podcast highlights include:
- 0:23 - The two things Anarumo wants to do with the players understanding the new defense.
- 1:36 - Discussion about how Anarumo adjusts the defense to play fast.
- 5:44 - Talk about the talent on the roster and creating depth at various positions.
- 8:08 - Insight on rookie defensive tackle Renell Wren and his development.
- 10:32 - How Anarumo revived the career cornerback of B.W. Webb.
- 12:57 - Discussion about the duo of defensive end Carlos Dunlap and defensive tackle Geno Atkins.
- 14:22 - Building the coaching staff with a mix of veterans and newcomers.
- 18:22 - Looking back at those who influenced Anarumo as he moved up the coaching ranks.