Dave DeGugliemo isn’t here to make friends or protect your feelings. And he’s accomplished, with Giants and Patriots Super Bowl rings
TAMPA — Dave DeGuglielmo is going to call you out when you’re doing it wrong, whether it’s in full view of teammates, media or fans.
DeGuglielmo is going to be loud and direct and if your feelings are hurt, so be it. Then, the next drill, or perhaps the next day, he’s going to show you love and lift you up.
Such is life now for the Miami Dolphins’ offensive linemen.
"If you can’t take the coaching, you’re not going to really make it in the NFL," Dolphins tackle Jesse Davis said.
Dolphins coach Brian Flores promoted DeGuglielmo because he didn’t like what he was seeing and hearing from his predecessor, Pat Flaherty.
Flores could not have been surprised to see or hear DeGuglielmo, on Tuesday, loudly sending rookie offensive tackle Isaiah Prince out of a drill.
DeGuglielmo told Prince, emphatically, that he didn’t deserve to participate because he was repeatedly not following instruction. Prince, a rookie from Ohio State, is a big man, at 6-foot-7, 305 pounds.
But it seemed at that moment as if Price would prefer to disappear underneath the artificial turf at the Bucs practice facility. On Wednesday, DeGuglielmo (pronounced day-GHOUL-yell-mo) could be seen encouraging Prince after a positive practice rep.
On Wednesday, it was undrafted rookie free agent guard Shaq Calhoun, currently Miami’s starter at right guard, who drew some of the ire of DeGugliemo, who, it shall be noted, is a large man himself.
"He's very energetic," Calhoun said. "He gets on us in the meeting room. But at the end of the day, he knows what he's talking about. At first, when he came in, I was nervous. I didn't know what I was going to get. But I've adapted to it."
Each player brings his own personality and motivation points to practice and games. But one thing all coaches agree is key is the ability to process coaching, including brutal criticism.
"I believe if a coach is getting on you, it's for the good," Calhoun said. "If a coach is still talking to you, that means he still believes in you. You should be worried if a coach is not talking to you. If he's talking to you, it's a good thing."
This sounds like a message that may have been echoed by Flores.
"He’s a fiery, high-energy coach," Flores said of the man dubbed, ’Guge. "I think we have a lot of coaches on this staff with that temperament. He, like myself, gets worked up at times. I think we all do for good and bad plays. That’s a good thing. We’re trying to stay on them, on the players. We try to help them improve and get better. Really, that’s on a play-to-play basis. I love hearing ‘Guge out there coaching his guys."
DeGuglielmo has a pretty big challenge this season. Aside from left tackle Laremy Tunsil, there are no proven stalwarts along the offensive line. Miami may be banking on rookies at left and right guard and may start Davis, who is solid at right guard, at right tackle.
Miami’s offensive line showed some improvement Wednesday after serious struggles on Tuesday against Ndamukong Suh and colleagues.
"Today I thought was a good day," Flores said. "The communication was good. I thought they blocked well in the run game from what I saw. The protection was better than it was yesterday. We made some improvement there."
If you attended a Dolphins training camp practice, it would be impossible to miss the zealous DeGugliemo. He’s bald, bearded and boisterous.
"Hard-nosed," said Dolphins lineman Will Holden, who was also coached by DeGuglielmo in Indianapolis.
That’s what Flores wants. That’s what the Dolphins need.