Cohen Contemplates His First Season Coaching the Pride
By: Leonard Skoros
Dave Cohen became Hofstra's seventh head football coach in the 65-year history of the program on December 13, 2005. Cohen joined the Pride from the University of Delaware where he was the defensive coordinator. He previously served as an assistant coach at Fordham, Lafayette and Albany. As he enters his first season on the Pride sideline, Cohen sat down with Hofstra Director of Athletic Publications Len Skoros to discuss the beginning of his tenure at Hofstra, his coaching philosophy and his thoughts on the 2006 season.
You came on board in December, right in the middle of a heavy recruiting period, and then after that had to get ready for spring practice. So you really have been on the go since arriving. No that you have a little "down time" what are your thoughts of Hofstra and of being a first time head coach?
Dave Cohen: I am extremely excited about being here and my enthusiasm has only grown since arriving on campus. The transition to becoming a head coach has been a learning and growing process.
What attracted you to the Hofstra job?
D.C.: Well, first, the location of the school. Anything a high school recruit is looking for we can show them - great facilities, great academics, small classes, the ability to get into New York City, whether it's for an internship or to see a show. On top of that the campus is beautiful. The ability to win was also attractive to me. As everyone has witnessed Coach Gardi, Coach Pecora, Coach Danowski, Coach Ryan, Coach Edwards have all had tremendous success with their programs and I want to continue that.
You have obviously been part of a successful program at Delaware, which won the 2003 National Championship and due in large part to its great defense. Is building a top-notch defense one of your priorities at Hofstra?
D.C.: Well, we are hoping to build a great program and part of that includes having a great defense. I believe having an offensive system that runs the football and runs more traditional sets and formations prepares the defense for what they will see during the course of the season. Plus defending the run in practice will also make us a more physical and prepared defense.
What is your philosophy on offense and defense?
D.C.: The offensive philosophy is to put the opposing defense in a bind, the run-pass dilemma. That is, never allowing them to focus in on the run more than the pass and just being balanced. I say all the time to the offense that any offensive coordinator can call a play on second-and-four, and to the defense that any defensive coordinator can call a play on second-and-11. So we want to keep opposing defenses off balance by having the ability to run the football as well as throw it off of run action.
Defensively, it is about out-hustling, being more physical and more emotional than our opponent. Our defense will be simple enough that we will spend more time defending the other team's offense than learning our own defense. It is a system that will allow the players to play as hard as they possibly can without over analyzing things, or as we say "We won't have paralysis by analysis."