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Mike Munchak putting Titans through camp his way
NASHVILLE, TENN. (AP) - Figuring out the differences between new Tennessee coach Mike Munchak and the man he replaced is pretty easy.
Under Munchak, the Titans warm out before practice during training camp to the sounds of Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face,” Bruce Springsteen and even Kool Moe Dee’s “Wild Wild West. The music is turned off once the Titans get down to work, and then the speakers are cranked back up at the end.
Titans receiver Nate Washington jokes he couldn’t stretch out the first time he heard the music because he was so busy dancing.
“He’s shaking it up in the proper way,” Washington said of the new coach. “He’s not whipping us with the whip, but he’s patting us on the back, and a lot of guys are pushing themselves harder to work for him. I appreciate the things he’s done so far in the organization thus far of us being here and the personality that he has.”
Munchak was hired in February to replace Jeff Fisher, who left the Titans in late January after more than 16 full seasons as head coach. With the NFL lockout, Munchak didn’t get to work with his players until last week when the new labor deal finally was reached. So he stayed busy planning, preparing and sprucing up the team’s headquarters.
“I’ve been waiting six months to start coaching,” Munchak said.
Munchak revamped the coaching staff, keeping six assistants from Fisher’s staff. He set up his training camp schedules, which he had to rework last week after seeing the NFL’s new rules that turned the two-a-day sessions he wanted to run into morning walkthroughs and one full practice instead.
In the building, he had drawings of former Houston Oilers reframed and displayed in a repainted lunch room to remind current players of the relocated franchise’s lengthy history. The players’ lounge got new chairs, and he even ripped out seats in the auditorium where the team meets.
The Titans didn’t realize how much Munchak changed until they reported for training camp. That’s when they found out that all players, even veterans, would be spending camp at a nearby hotel instead of sleeping in their own beds as Fisher had allowed.
Safety Michael Griffin hadn’t really ever talked to Munchak until after he was promoted to head coach in February before the lockout. He said Munchak wanted to take his Titans away for training camp, which the lockout prevented.
“Right now it’s almost like being at a real camp somewhere different just all being in the hotel and not being able to go home …,” Griffin said. “That’s one of the main differences and having some organization around here. We have rules and guidelines, and I think that’s part of being a good football team is having the control of your team.”
“Everything he does makes sense. You can see the purpose behind it,” Scott said. “Very rarely is he going to have us do something where you’re like, ‘Why are we doing this?’ Everything he does is with a purpose, and it’s usually pretty easy to see the purpose.”
When the Titans reported for camp Friday, Munchak played a video for the players introducing them to their new coaches. The video included photos of Munchak from his Hall of Fame career with the Oilers along with each coach on the staff. Griffin, who played in college at Texas, said he noticed special teams assistant Alan Lowry once quarterbacked the Longhorns.
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