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Trent Dilfer’s first television appearance as the head football coach at the University of Alabama at Birmingham was very unique. He barely talked any ball, choosing to focus on his vision for the Blazers off of the field instead.
Dilfer, who won a Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens in 2001, was the No. 6 overall pick in the 1994 NFL Draft out of Fresno State. After an 18-year career with five different teams, he hung up his cleats, moved to an analyst role with ESPN, and later created the Elite 11 quarterback competition.
In 2019, Dilfer accepted the head coaching job at Lipscomb Academy, a private Christian school in Nashville. He led a remarkable turnaround in four seasons and capped his tenure with back-to-back state titles in 2021 and 2022.
Diler’s time at Lipscomb was a great success. So much so that the Mustangs are moving divisions because they were beating teams so badly.
Now he is off to Birmingham.
Can Dilfer win on the collegiate level despite never coaching in college? That is the question.
On Friday, UAB played its first game with Dilfer as head coach. Kind of.
Dilfer was not actually coaching, but he was on the sideline at the Bahamas Bowl while the interim coach finished out his tenure. It was a really strange dynamic that does not usually take place.
Typically, an incoming head coach would watch from the booth or just stay home. Not Dilfer.
The 50-year-old was on the field with his new players before the game. He even gave a few of them a hug.
During the game, Dilfer was schmoozing everybody that walked by. He even flexed all over a Blazers cheerleader by showing off his Super Bowl ring.
Later in the third quarter, Dilfer got to give his first on-air speech as head coach. He spoke about a variety of topics, but very few of them included football.
Dilfer put his emphasis on the student-athletes and how UAB football will focus on serving the players. He said that there is “too much made about what happens between the lines” and talked about how he wants his players to be great husbands, professionals, and members of society.
It was well-intentioned and rooted in strong values. However, his delivery was certainly unique— especially when he pivoted toward the news.
“I don’t know if you’ve turned on the news lately,” Dilfer said. “But it’s really hard to turn on the news and feel like our country’s in a great place.”
He then went on to explain how he wants to help change the world for the better by investing in his guys. Here is Dilfer’s speech in full:
While nothing that Dilfer said was wrong or negative, it was certainly a different way to approach his first interview at UAB. However you take it is up to you, but more importantly— up to the recruits watching.