May 12, 2011
Liam Coen begins his first season at Rhode Island and will serve as the quarterbacks coach. Coen arrives in Kingston after overseeing the Ivy League's No. 1 passing game at Brown University.
As a college quarterback at Massachusetts he put together one of the finest careers in school history. He ranks first in passing yards (11,031) passing efficiency (152.92), completion percentage (63.9), touchdown passes (90), completions (830), and attempts (1,303).
Recently the former UMass quarterback took some time to discuss his new post with the University of Rhode Island football program.
You hold nearly every passing record at UMass, what's it going to be like coaching against them?
"I think it will be a great experience to go back to my alma mater and compete against a program that I have a ton of respect for as well as a coaching staff whom I played for and am very close with. It is always a good experience going back to the place that you played."
How has your successful playing career prepared you to coach?
"I am able to see things that players see because I played the game not too long ago at the same level. Sometimes a Quarterback may make a mistake or miss a throw but because of my recent playing experience I can see maybe why they made that mistake or didn't make that throw. I had success because I was coached very well, and I believe that if you are coached on every single play and every single rep then you have no choice but to get better."
You spent last year at Brown and had a lot of success. What were some of the things you learned from that experience?
"I learned how to be a coach at Brown. I knew I understood the game of football and the X and O part of the profession but I learned how to be a teacher during my time at Brown. I also gained a ton of organizational skills when it came to preparing for games and recruiting. Coach (Phil) Estes is one of the best offensive minds around and I was very fortunate to learn from him."
As a coach, what do you expect out of your players?
"I expect the quarterbacks here to be the hardest workers on and off the field. They must be mentally tough and be the leaders of the program. That means being the first one to watch film and the last one to leave the practice field. The guy that everyone looks to during adverse situations and doesn't flinch."
What is one off-the-field thing the Rams need to do well to be successful on Saturdays?
"We need to know our opponents inside and out. If we are so certain of what our opponents are going to do to us on game day then we will have the upper hand. I believe that the most prepared player is the most dangerous. If we can know our opponents and the situations within the game better than anyone else, we will succeed."
Statistics aside, what's the one thing you carry with you about your playing career?
"I was fortunate to play on some great football teams during my time at UMass. Playing on national television and in a national championship game is something that I will remember forever. I don't know what my final stats were at UMass but I remember all the great games that we played in and I am fortunate to have a hand in some of those wins."
What are some things you bring to the offensive game plan that may have not been evident in years past?
"I think my knowledge of what some of the defenses in the conference are doing is something that may be helpful because I played in the conference not too long ago. I also believe we have a tremendous offensive staff and Coach (Roy) Istvan is someone I am very fortunate to work with. I believe we all share a common knowledge of who we want to be offensively."
What would you be doing if you weren't coaching football?
"I would probably be a State Policeman if I were not coaching. It is something that I had looked into prior to coaching. I have a number of close friends who have recently graduated from the academy."
What sparked your interest about joining the URI coaching staff?
"Being able to come back to my hometown and be a part of a program on the rise was an opportunity I could not refuse. I grew up on URI athletics and to have the opportunity to come and help this program succeed was a challenge I felt I was ready to take on. Coach (Joe) Trainer is doing great things with this program and I am psyched to be a part of it."