Coach Chiaverini has one of those resumes that should make you jealous.
Four year letterman at the University of Colorado? Check.
Former NFL Wide Receiver? Check.
Rookie receiving record with the Cleveland Browns? Check.
Appeared in a movie with Adam Sandler? Check.
Led some of the top special teams units in Southern California for the past several years? Check.
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"I am very excited about adding Darrin Chiaverini to our staff," Kingsbury said. "His experience as an elite collegiate and NFL player will be a tremendous asset to this program. Darrin fits in well with our staff and is a great recruiter. I am looking forward to him bringing passion and enthusiasm to our team."
So we were thrilled when he agreed to answer some questions for Viva The Matadors.
Travis: First, welcome to Texas Tech and thanks so much for answering a few questions for us. You had tremendous success in Southern California coaching Special Teams at a few different schools. Can you talk a little about your philosophy on special teams and how you get such great results?
Coach Chiaverini: I am a big believer that greatness is in the details. The philosophy that I preach is that we are going preach fundamentals and discipline consistently in the meeting room and on the practice field. At any level of football, whether it is high school, college or the NFL the way you approach practice and develop your skill set is going to be a determining factor of how well you play on Saturday. Positive results will come if you have a solid foundation of technique and fundamentals.
Travis: Now it's really ironic that I'm asking you these questions because I have a theory about certain aspects of Special Teams that is a little bit outside the box. I'd be the happiest man in America if you told me your philosophy is to never kick a field goal or punt. What is the likelihood of that happening next year? I mean, I'm talking 4th and 20 from the 5, let's run 4 verts Coach. 4th and goal from the 30, no way we're kicking a field goal. Is that doable?
Coach Chiaverini: Obviously that would be a question for Coach Kingsbury. What I do believe is that football games are dictated by momentum swings and turnovers. If we can be sound in the kicking game and gain a competitive edge by how we cover kicks and flip the field in the return game we will have a higher percentage on winning the game.
Travis: Ok, I'll run that by him on Twitter. Let's talk recruiting. Your impact there was huge in a short period of time. You brought in Dominique Robertson and Shaquille Davis which were huge pickups on the offensive line. Do you see that pipeline to Southern California staying open where we can get some big time players every year?
Coach Chiaverini: I grew up in Southern California and have made a lot of good friends that are head coaches and assistants at California high schools and junior colleges. Recruiting is about building relationships with the individuals and their families. I feel strongly that if there is a need on our roster and we cannot fill that need within the state of Texas we can recruit the top players from California. Dominique Robertson and Shaq Davis I believe are two of the top Junior College Offensive Lineman and by them signing with us we have upgraded our roster.
Travis: We're really excited about guys like Rika Levi, Nigel Bethel and Payton Hendrix on the defensive side and of course Ian Sadler and Patrick Mahomes on offense (not to mention the OL guys you recruited). Any other guys we should watch out for that might step in and contribute early?
Coach Chiaverini: I have only been here two weeks so I am still getting familiar with the roster. That would be a question I could answer after Spring Football.
Travis: We'll definitely follow up with you on that. So let's get serious. Varsity Blues or Friday Night Lights?
Coach Chiaverini: Definitely Varsity Blues. Wish I played at West Canaan with Lance Harbor. We would have been unstoppable if Lance didn't get hurt. Tweeter would have been the number 2 receiver.
Travis: Coach Kingsbury picked Varsity Blues too, but he also caused a buzz when we interviewed him because we asked him to list his "History of Rap Top 5." He included Ice Ice Baby and Forever by Drake. I'm not sure what your interest in music is, but isn't that just wrong?
Coach Chiaverini: Coach Kingsbury and I actually share the same interest in music and I liked his top 5! I would probably add 2pac and Snoop's video "2 of America's Most Wanted" to the top of that list.
Travis: We have a weird habit of giving nicknames to coaches and even some of the players at Viva The Matadors, and for some reason the nickname often includes "Carlos." The idea is to make it as random as possible while holding onto a thread of an identifiable characteristic. There was a debate a few weeks ago when you were hired about your nickname and it was settled on some sort of hybrid between "Hollywood" and" Cabrito." I know, it makes no sense, but it's a democracy over there. Is there a better nickname for you that we should know about?
Coach Chiaverini: I've actually been called Hollywood before so that is funny that you guys were talking about that. All my friends call me Chev or DChev. One of my old teammates Ty Detmer used to always call me "Big Money" because I would make clutch catches for him when we played for the Browns. I actually played with his brother Koy at Colorado.
Travis: Alright, Big Money it is! So here's a hypothetical: You, Elf, and Trey get a chance to play next year in Coach Kingsbury's system. Who has more yards at year end? Also, you have a fade route in the corner of the end zone against Coach Curtis. Do you dominate him?
Big Money: Haha, that would be a pretty good receiving core. I'm sure we would all be telling Coach Kingsbury to throw us the ball because we were open. As far as Coach Curtis maybe we can create that scenario in Spring practice.
Travis: We want to see video of that! I read that you taught Adam Sandler how to catch a football when you were filming The Longest Yard. Was that the toughest coaching job you ever had? I imagine for the first few days he was just flailing around and batting the ball down because he was scared, probably even crying. Is that how it went?
Big Money: Actually Adam is a pretty decent athlete and I was just working him out by running routes for him. Adam played Burt Reynolds role in the remake of The Longest Yard so he was playing Quarterback. He actually threw the ball well in the workout but I do not think he will making an appearance in the NFL anytime soon. I'm sure Adam does not need the job.
Travis: I understand you and your wife have 2 children and Lubbock is such a great place to raise a family. What is your favorite thing about the community so far? Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of football, or is coaching basically a 12 month, round the clock focus for you?
Big Money: The people in Lubbock have been very inviting to me since I have arrived. My family is still in California until June when my kids get out of school so I am looking forward to them getting here in the summer. I enjoy golfing in the offseason but football is my passion and I get a lot of enjoyment out of teaching the game of football at a high level and teaching young men life lessons that they can carry on well after their playing career has ended.
Travis: Thanks again for your time, and we're really looking forward to the Spring Game and getting things rolling again in the fall. Any last thoughts or messages for all the Red Raiders reading this? Again, best of luck to you and welcome to Texas Tech. We're so glad to have you.
Big Money: I am really excited to be part of a great staff and University in Texas Tech and look forward to bringing an aggressive style of play and attitude to the Special Teams Units this Fall. Guns Up!!
Again, huge thanks to Coach "Big Money" Chiaverini for spending some time with us. I think we'll see some great things from our special teams and SoCal recruiting for years to come.
As I was putting this together I realized that the best answer he gave wasn't an answer at all. When I asked who some of the guys we should watch out for in this class he didn't know.
He didn't know because from the moment he was hired by Coach Kingsbury he had a single minded focus to bring in Dominique and Shaq, and he did it. That attention to detail should bode well for the future of our football team.
Greatness is in the details.
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