MOBILE, Ala. — Brian Daboll can't help himself.
When the topic is mentioned, he gets emotional. He has to make an effort to avoid getting choked up.
Becoming the Buffalo Bills' new offensive coordinator is more than just another job in the NFL for him. It's a chance to come back home, to work in the area in which he was born and raised for the first time in his coaching life.
"It means everything," Daboll, speaking with reporters for the first time since his Jan. 14 hiring, said here Tuesday after watching the practices for Saturday's Senior Bowl college all-star game. "I'm a Buffalo guy from the communities around the stadium to the Rochester area. It's a really special place to me. It's where I grew up.
"The people, the community are second to none. They're unbelievable. (It's called the) City of Good Neighbors for a reason. Great food, as you can tell (holding his stomach). But I love the place, I love the community, I love the people, I love the fans, I love the team. Very special place for me."
Daboll, 42, was born in Welland, Ont., and raised by his grandparents in West Seneca. He played football at the University of Rochester, but his coaching career has taken him to the New England Patriots, Cleveland Browns, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, and Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL, and his previous stop, at the University of Alabama.
Daboll is proud of what he has accomplished, helping the Patriots win five Super Bowls and being part of the Crimson Tide's recent dramatic national-championship victory against Georgia. However, nothing seems to touch his heart more than finally being able to do what he loves in his hometown.
"I just thought it was a great opportunity for myself and for my family, and, again, this community, this team, it holds a special place," Daboll said. "I've been doing this for 18 years, I think 15 of the 18 in the AFC East, so to finally get to come back home is truly a blessing. I love Buffalo. I grew up a huge Buffalo Bills fan, but again, it had to be the right situation, too. And I just think with (Coach) Sean (McDermott) and (GM) Brandon (Beane) and the Pegulas, I just had a really good feel about this place."
Having been hired only nine days ago, Daboll hasn't been on the job long enough to have a total feel for the players or his offensive coaching staff. He is just finding his way around One Bills Drive and still in the transitioning process.
However, he did, in mostly general terms, touch on several topics:
On McDermott's mandate for the Bills to score more: "I think that's the job of an offense, is to score more points than the opponent you're playing. You have a variety of schemes that you can use, every offense does. I think, week to week, it should be different based on who you're playing and what you have. But your ultimate goal is to score as many points as you can, and that's the job of an offense."
On his offensive philosophy: "You have to be multi-dimensional. You have to be able to throw it when they know you're going to throw it and you have to be able to run it when they know you're going to run it. That's the toughest thing in the National Football League, because each week, it's such a demanding amount of time in terms of preparation and going through the week and then getting to play a really good opponent. Regardless of who you play, every team in professional football is good. So at the end of the day, whether it's gap schemes, zone schemes, drop-back passes, play-action passes, you need to have all those things. And then each week, you go ahead and you evaluate the team you're playing and what you have, and try to put the best plan you can together to give yourself a chance."
On what it takes to be an effective play-caller: "I've been doing this for a long time. It comes down to preparation throughout the week. You have to understand what your players do well, the strengths of your players. And then you have to try to understand the strengths and the weaknesses of the team you're playing. There's no secret recipe to a good call. You have to put the time and work in, just like the players do to give yourself a good chance."
On what he has learned at all of his coaching stops: "You have to self-evaluate every year in all aspects — how you deal with the staff, how you deal with the players, calling plays, situational football. I think each year you try to take a step back and try to evaluate things that you did well and things you'd like to improve on. You do that each week, each day, basically, during the year."
On the unimpressive statistics from his OC stints with the Browns, Dolphins and Chiefs: "In this business, you have your blinders on, your vision moving forward. I can just tell you that I'm excited to be here, to work with the people in the organization that are in charge, along with the staff guys and the players. We're just getting started. The guys had a week off, so I'm just kind of getting my feet wet here, but I'm ready to go."
On what working in college ranks will mean to his new job: "I think it was a tremendous experience. I learned a lot from (Alabama) Coach (Nick) Saban. I'm very thankful to Coach Saban for his leadership and his guidance. There's some parts of the game that are a little different — the RPOs (run-pass options) and all those type of things that go into it, the different runs that I've learned. I think that there's probably some things that are applicable, so it was a very helpful experience, tremendous time at Alabama."
On how involved he will be in the development of quarterbacks and their mechanics: "I think you'd like to be involved with every position when you're in this spot. Obviously, the quarterback position is a very important position, so as much as I need to be (involved). We have guys on the staff that I haven't really met yet, but I have a familiarity with, so look forward to working with them, working with all the guys, particularly the quarterbacks. But I see myself kind of being wherever I need to be."
On how important winning five Super Bowls and a national championship are to his current position: "I don't really think it's that important. It's been great. The experience has been unbelievable. It took a lot of hard work, but those were different teams in different places. You kind of write your own story at a new place. Can you lean on certain experiences? Sure. But at the end of the day, it's how you perform with the team you're at. Great memories and things like that, but kind of a new chapter here, so try to get doing, get to work here."