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  • Farr coaching the enemy

    Kent Somers
    The Arizona Republic
    Aug. 9, 2004 12:00 AM

    Intern Farr serves as example for D-line

    If Cardinals defensive tackles want proof that this defensive scheme can make them stars, all they have to do is look to one of their assistant coaches.

    D'Marco Farr, who's serving a coaching internship in this camp, played the same scheme for the St. Louis Rams when defensive line coach Deek Pollard was an assistant there.

    Farr went from having one sack in 1994 to 11 1/2 the following year playing the "under" tackle.

    "Deek will never let me forget that my salary went up quite a bit in those two years," Farr said. "I went from free-agent status to some pretty big money."

    After he retired, Farr worked in television for a few years but he missed the game.

    "I love football," he said. "I don't want that part of me to die. When guys leave the game, some people say I can never go back, I hate it and I can't watch. I'm exactly the other way. I love it. I want more of it."

    Farr coached the defensive linemen for the Berlin Thunder, which won the NFL Europe title. His internship with the Cardinals ends after the first preseason game, and he's hoping to land a coaching job afterward.

    "I'm becoming attached to these guys," he said.

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  • RamWraith
    Where Are They Now--D Farr
    by RamWraith
    By Nick Wagoner
    Staff Writer

    D’Marco Farr loves rings. No, not the kind of diamond-encrusted rings that women pine for, but the championship kind.

    His love for those precious pieces was his top goal when he played defensive tackle for eight seasons in the NFL. In fact, his championship aspirations dated further to his time with the University of Washington, where he won a national title in 1991.

    After going undrafted, Farr caught on with the Los Angeles Rams in 1994, a year before they moved to St. Louis. He contributed his time and effort to not only making the team, but also becoming a productive player in the league. When his second season started, Farr was entrenched as a starter.

    For the next five years, Farr started every game. He was literally in the middle of everything as the Rams ascended to the NFL’s highest peak. In 1999, his hunger for the game’s top prize was satisfied when St. Louis beat Tennessee to win the world championship. Farr’s jewelry collection got a large addition in the form of that ring.

    “Once we got it right and we won the whole thing, it was the crowning moment,” Farr said. “We had gone through some ups and downs so to finally say here we are, here’s a champion, here’s a trophy was a special moment for not just us, but the whole city.”

    He retired after battling injury problems in 2000 and attempting a comeback with San Francisco in 2003. When his career was said and done, Farr racked up 36.5 sacks. He left the game he loved, but his love of championship bling didn’t go with him.

    It comes as little surprise, then, that Farr is doing his best to become a coach at football’s highest level. He loves the competition of football too much to stay away and even more than the competition, he loves winning.

    Farr participated in the NFL Europe coaching program this past year, teaching the defensive line for the Berlin Thunder. In the meantime, Farr learned many life lessons about some of the culture differences. Farr’s infectious enthusiasm rubbed off on the Thunder as they won the World Bowl, beating the Frankfurt Galaxy 30-24, adding yet another ring to Farr’s rapidly growing collection. Along the way, his defensive line piled up 28 sacks and a pair of touchdowns in 12 games.

    That ring, though, doesn’t quite compare to the Super Bowl ring, the always-affable Farr said.

    “As far as looks, there is no comparison whatsoever,” Farr said. “There’s fugazi and then there is real. The meaning is still the same. It still says champion on there.”

    Perhaps the chance to get another prize piece spurred Farr’s desire to get back in the NFL, but there is little doubt that he wants to get back into the league as soon as possible.

    When he got back from Europe, most of the league’s coaching staffs were already set. So, Farr had to search for other alternatives....
    -10-29-2004, 06:36 AM
  • MauiRam
    Sylvester Croom .. Meet the Coaches ..
    by MauiRam
    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer

    Had Sylvester Croom followed the life plan that he had laid out for himself as a youngster, there’s no doubt he would have had a profound impact on plenty of people.

    Make no mistake, though, the things Croom has done and seen in an alternate career path has opened doors, broken down walls and served as inspiration for more people than he might have ever touched as a school administrator.

    Croom had originally intended to go through school, coach high school football and eventually work his way up to school principal and eventually superintendent of a local school district.

    Instead, Croom became a football coach but what he’s done in a coaching career spanning 32 years has had an impact well beyond what happens on a football field.

    “Once I got into coaching, a lot of it had to do at the time there were very few minority coaches, it’s hard to convince yourself you can do something when nobody that looked like you had ever done it,” Croom said. “You know you can but there are a lot of reasons why you can’t do it. But I was raised in a household where you prepare for anything even if the chance is very minor that it could happen.”

    Growing up in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Croom spent most of his spare time around a football field. His father, Sylvester Croom Sr., was an All American player at Alabama A&M and eventually became a high school coach.

    As a kid, Croom would spend any possible free minute around his father and the game with a particular fondness for games on Friday nights. That played a big role in introducing Croom to the game but he first earned his playing chops on the sandlots of Tuscaloosa.

    Football in Alabama is a sort of religion and playing ball on the sandlot fields around town provided kids their first opportunity to experience the competitive aspects of the game.

    “It was always serious, even playing in the sandlot,” Croom said. “We’d break up teams based on where you live and what neighborhood you were in. That’s the way we played. It was all about pride. That’s what has always stuck with me in the game.”

    It wasn’t until the ninth grade that Croom began playing organized football, stepping on to the team at Tuscaloosa High as a linebacker and tight end. It was in that first year of high school when Croom was first involved in the progress of integration. He was a part of one of the first classes to integrate in Alabama and quickly learned the various moving pieces of that time in history.

    Still, as Croom’s career on the field developed and he proved to be one of the better players in the state, he never harbored dreams of doing anything but possibly playing at a traditionally all black college like his father and eventually following his educational pursuits.

    As a senior, Croom rooted for the home state school...
    -07-18-2009, 02:50 PM
  • MauiRam
    Meet the Coaches: Steve Loney ..
    by MauiRam
    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer

    There’s a lot of uncertainty that is inherent in being a football coach. At any level, job security is only as safe as the number of tallies your team puts in the wins column.

    And so it was that Rams offensive line coach Steve Loney found himself in the state of flux that is almost a ritual for professional football coaches in January.

    Upon the dismissal of the previous staff and the addition of new coach Steve Spagnuolo, Loney was part of a coaching staff left to wonder about its future. More often than not, the bulk of the previous staff is let go when a new coach comes in, that’s just part of the deal.

    But a few guys get to stay based on merit or previous relationships with the incoming staff. While it can be a head spinning time waiting for word to come on your professional future, Loney took it in stride.

    After all, he’d been through it before.

    “In my younger years it would have been a very anxious time,” Loney said. “If you are a person of faith, you know that there’s a perfect plan out there for you. You are not always sure what that is. I didn’t know if it would be in St. Louis or some other place but it gets to be more anxious because everybody is coming up and asking you about it. During all of those times where you are still under contract with a particular team, you can’t go out and see about other jobs. The only thing you really hope for is a quick resolution to things so you can get on with your life.”

    Like the rest of the previous coaching staff, Loney set out for Mobile, Alabama and the Senior Bowl. That entire week is one of the first real job fairs for players heading to the NFL but it doubles as an opportunity for coaches to network and land new gigs.

    In fact, Spagnuolo spent his entire week holed up in his hotel room interviewing potential staff members.

    Spagnuolo asked the remaining staff to be patient as he wanted to give each of them an opportunity to interview for their jobs and then come to a decision on each person.

    Loney did what anyone going on a job interview would do; he prepared to sell himself to Spagnuolo by highlighting the positive steps the offensive line had made in his one season as the man in charge of that group and pointed out the benefits that go with having some continuity not only among the players but in the relationship the line coach has with them.

    “I had tried to present things that we had accomplished as an offensive line and show that I had a plan for those guys, the progress they made during the year and I think most of the credit goes to those individuals but you hope you had some impact that allows people to improve during the year and I think they did that,” Loney said. “You try to do some things to exhibit those things to him. I spent a lot of my limbo time studying other people’s offenses...
    -07-07-2009, 10:21 AM
  • MauiRam
    Tim Sandige ...
    by MauiRam
    By Bill Coats

    Had defensive tackle Tim Sandidge spent much more time in Germany, he might be seeking a roster spot with the Rams at a different position.

    "I really missed the (American) food," Sandidge said. "They have what's called schnitzel. It's pretty good, but ... you don't want to have it all the time. I lost about 10 or 15 pounds over there."

    Though he might not have been well fed, Sandidge considers his time in NFL Europe well spent. "We had a good team, and our D-line coach was pretty good," he said. "So I feel like being over there really helped me. I played a lot, got a lot of experience, and I feel like I got better."

    Sandidge was one of four Rams players allocated to NFL Europe for the 10-game season. Sandidge and tackle Jeremy Parquet played for the Hamburg Sea Devils, cornerback Josh Lay for the Berlin Thunder, and running back John David Washington for the Rhein Fire.

    Hamburg and the Frankfurt Galaxy will meet Saturday in the World Bowl, which wraps up the NFL Europe season. Sandidge will be watching from afar, though; a sprained knee ended his season early.

    "No tear, so that's the good part," he said. "I played in about six or seven games. I felt like I went out there and did what I needed to do. I think I opened up a lot of eyes."

    The folks at Rams Park are impressed enough with Sandidge (6 feet 1, 300 pounds) to consider him among the contenders for a backup spot on the defensive line. The recent trade of tackle Jimmy Kennedy to Denver provided enhanced hope for Sandidge, as well as recent draftees Clifton Ryan and Keith Jackson.

    "I just think it's an opportunity for them ... to get in there and make a name for themselves," coach Scott Linehan. The competition will begin in earnest July 27, when training camp opens at Rams Park.

    "I feel real good about my chances," Sandidge said. "I feel like last year I was just getting into the league, trying to find my way through. Going to Europe, I think I've matured as a player, and I think I've gotten better as a player."

    Sandidge was a "three-technique" tackle at Virginia Tech, but the Rams also worked him at nose tackle. "I liked that," he said. "I think I'm versatile enough to play either."
    An undrafted rookie, Sandidge spent most of last season on the Rams' practice squad. Kansas City signed him to its active roster Dec. 5, but he didn't play in any games and re-signed with the Rams after the season.

    A native of Amherst, Va., Sandidge never had been outside of the United States before heading for Hamburg in the spring.

    "It was a good experience," said Sandidge, 24. "I had a great time; I...
    -06-22-2007, 01:37 AM
  • RamsFan16
    Ferentz: Attitude and Effort (What the Rams done have)
    by RamsFan16

    A standing room only crowd huddled in the ballroom of the Sheraton in Downtown Iowa City Sunday morning to hear the keynote address for FanFest 2006 - a presentation by the head coach of the nationally ranked University of Iowa football program, Kirk Ferentz.

    And, after the standing ovation and a few thank you's to the organizers of the three-day event, Ferentz did what he hopes his student-athletes would do when, as Hayden Fry used to say, the bullets are flying: Act on the directions from those in charge.

    "Matt (Engelbert) counseled me a little bit during the week to consider going away from the I-Club speech to something else," Ferentz confided before delving deep into the philosophy of the Iowa football program in terms of coaching and how that dovetails into recruiting.

    Make no mistake, however, he did mention how proud he was of the accomplishments of the 2005 Hawkeyes and how much he is going to miss the Hinkel's, Hodge's and Greenway's of this year's graduating class. But, FanFest is intended to be an inside look at one of the nation's most successful college football programs, and Ferentz shared some of the very basic nuts and bolts.

    "First of all, we know that coaches coach positions. D-line coaches coach d-linemen. Quarterback coaches coach quarterbacks," Ferentz said. "However, more importantly, we believe coaches coach people."

    Ferentz talked about how it's important that coaches understand that simple fact.

    "To us, it's pretty basic. We want to do what we can to make certain our student-athletes, number one, graduate. Number two, conduct themselves appropriately socially. And, number three, play championship caliber football."

    Kirk Ferentz

    "To us, it's pretty basic. We want to do what we can to make certain our student-athletes, number one, graduate. Number two, conduct themselves appropriately socially. And, number three, play championship caliber football," said Ferentz.

    The key to accomplishing that is to know your audience. Ferentz told the story about a television commercial where a coach delivered a brilliant, inspirational speech to a group of football players that appeared have an average age of eight.

    "After the coach was done, one of the players raised his hand and asked "Coach, when do we get to go to McDonald's?' " Ferentz chuckled. "Well, there's a pretty good example of a coach needing to know his audience."

    Ferentz said at Iowa the coaching staff realizes it's important to teach technique and fundamentals and, importantly, that teaching doesn't end at the start of the season or at the end of the season. It continues year-round.

    -02-25-2006, 11:01 AM