Kansas City, Mo. Chan Gailey figures that being a college coach the past six years should be a help instead of a hindrance as he dives back into the NFL.
The former head coach at Dallas and offensive coordinator for Pittsburgh, Denver and Miami, Gailey was hired this week as offensive coordinator for Kansas City and tasked with repairing one of the league's worst attacks.
He was fired after six seasons as head coach at Georgia Tech from 2002-07.
"After I left Tech, or was asked to leave Tech, I went up to the (Atlanta) Falcons and watched two days worth of NFL tape just to see what had changed," he said Friday. "And there were a few things that had changed. But it wasn't drastically different.
"The football game is still played on the same size field, still played with eleven guys. As a matter of fact, I learned a lot in college. There's a lot of stuff going on in college football right now that hopefully will make me better."
Gailey takes over an offense that needs major rebuilding on the offensive line and is unsettled at quarterback and wide receiver. Second-year man quarterback Brodie Croyle started six games - all during a club-record nine-game losing streak - and looked promising but inconsistent. Owner Clark Hunt said this week that one demand he was making in the wake of a disappointing 4-12 record was that the club develop a young quarterback.
Could Croyle be that man? the new offensive coordinator was asked the question while Croyle sat in the back of the room.
"I think he's got a chance to be a very good quarterback," Gailey said. "If we put him in a good position and he continues to work and all those things work together, then I think he's going to be a very good quarterback for us. We'll see."
Head coach Herm Edwards interviewed several candidates but said he went with Gailey because of his experience and his philosophy.
"The more we talked, I felt very comfortable with how he was going to do things," Edwards said. "He said it's not about what you call your system. Your system's the players. The light bulb went off in my mind. I thought, 'Hey, this guy's been coaching a long time. He's been successful. He said the right words. It's about the players."
The Chiefs have been clear that they intend to get younger quickly.
"We're going to have a young football team," Edwards said. "I think it's very, very important when he stands before the players that he has experience, that he brings wisdom to when he talks to players."
Edwards said he'd heard from quite a few players who had been with Gailey.
"A bunch of players have already called me and said, 'Hey, coach, that's a good hire.' That's good to hear."
Gailey said he was eager to get back into game-planning and calling plays.
"The challenge of the chess match is always fun. I like the week as much as I like game day, the preparation during the week, trying to figure out what their tendencies might be, making sure we self-scout and don't have tendencies ourselves and formulating a game plan to allow the players to be successful on the field," he said. "You stay with the game plan 'til they show something different, and then you play the chess match.
"There's an excitement about game day that makes the game what it is. That's why it's such a great game."