*(Editor's Note: Since Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells has hired three new assistant coaches and upgraded the responsibilities of four others, DallasCowboys.com will take a look at their duties in a seven-part series. Today's focus will be on inside linebackers coach Vincent Brown. *
IRVING, Texas - Coaching the Meadowcreek High School Mustangs is a lot different from coaching the Dallas Cowboys, new linebackers coach Vincent Brown admits, but he isn't balking at the challenging jump.
Before being named Cowboys inside linebackers coach on Feb. 15, Brown had served as an assistant coach at the Norcross, Ga., school for four years. Last year he was Meadowcreek's athletic director. But that's it, the extent of his coaching resume.
"It is a huge difference," Brown said of the jump from high school to the NFL. "In terms of just the preparation and the detail, and now it's 100 percent football; there are no outside distractions, no classes to teach, none of that stuff.
"It's just all football."
That's probably quite all right with Brown, a quintessential "football guy" as Dallas head coach Bill Parcells likes to call them. A Division I-AA All-American at Mississippi Valley State and an eight-year NFL veteran with New England, Brown played for Parcells his final three years with the Patriots before retiring in 1995.
Parcells didn't forget him.
"Coach Parcells has been great, he's been very supportive," said Brown, one of the three new assistants Parcells added to his Cowboys staff this year. "He has high hopes for his coaches, more than he does for his players. The expectation level is extremely high, and if your players aren't doing what they're supposed to be doing, you're ultimately going to be held accountable."
Brown spent the 2005 Cowboys training camp in Oxnard, Calif., working with the middle linebackers as part of the club's minority coaching internship program, and says playing in the 3-4 defensive scheme his entire career makes coaching easier because he understands what guys like Bradie James and Akin Ayodele are going through learning the system.
And is there a better person to learn from?
Name: Vincent Brown
Position: Inside Linebackers
Coaching Experience: 4 years
NFL Experience: First year
Meadowcreek (Ga.) High School (2002-05)
After being selected in the second round in 1988, Brown would start 103 of 123 career games for the Patriots, logging 811 tackles, 16½ sacks and 10 interceptions. With such a good rap sheet, Brown seems to be the perfect man for the job.
Brown said his main duty with the Cowboys last summer was "just teaching the nuances of playing in this 3-4 defense.
"A lot of things aren't textbook, you can't always teach a guy exactly how to fit or how to defeat a block; you've got to have some experience, and that's where I think I can help these guys - to show them how to handle some of the situations in this defense."
Also, it probably can't hurt the guy teaching the middle linebackers looks like he could still play, even 11 years after retirement. Maybe the team was on to something when it moved Paul Pasqualoni, formerly the tight ends coach, to oversee the the entire linebacking corps: just in case the Cowboys need the still-muscular Brown on the field, somebody has to coach the other guys.
While that's probably not the case, Brown likes having a coaching mentor in Pasqualoni, who with 30 years of coaching experience can adequately oversee Brown's first year of work in the NFL.
"Paul is a fantastic teacher," Brown said. "He's the most meticulous, detail-oriented coach I've seen in a long time. He's been a great coach to work with and learn from, and he's taught me so much in the last few months it's unbelievable."
It's all about football for Brown right now. No classes to teach, no grades to record. He's a long way from Meadowcreek High, and now he need only concern himself with football, on the biggest stage in the world.
And for Brown, that surely makes it easier.
"These guys are so much more mature (than high-schoolers)," Brown said. "We have a great group here, they're all attentive, they want to learn and they want to do well."
(Next: A look at tight ends coach Freddie Kitchens.)