Dennis Erickson recalls Chad Ochocinco, Ray Lewis

Thu, Aug 11

Arizona State's Dennis Erickson has seen just about everything there is to see as a football coach.

Erickson leads the Sun Devils into the Pac-12 era this year in his 23rd season as a collegiate head coach. He won two national championships at Miami and has been named Pac-10 Coach of the Year at three schools. He served as an NFL head coach for seven seasons.

He's also coached two of the largest personalities in football history, Ray Lewis and Chad Ochocinco. Lewis played his freshman and sophomore seasons for Erickson at Miami. Ochocinco -- then known as Chad Johnson -- emerged as an elite prospect during the 2000 season at Oregon State under Erickson.

So when Erickson visited ESPN headquarters with his Pac-12 peers recently, Page 2 asked him to compare and contrast the two men.

Page 2: Who is more outspoken -- Chad Johnson or Ray Lewis?

Erickson: They're different. Chad is outspoken because it's just how he is. Ray, when he's outspoken, it's on the football field or it's about the game of football. Chad is all about all the different things he does, like "Dancing with the Stars." I've actually had two of my players on "Dancing with the Stars" -- Chad and Warren Sapp.

Which one of those two is the better dancer?

Erickson: I don't want to get into that argument. I can't win it.

Was Chad that confident and outspoken when you were recruiting him to Oregon State?

Erickson: No. Not at all. He was a junior college player who had one year [of eligibility] left. He came in and played, and he really learned how to play. He came in the summer. He wasn't there for spring football, and as the season went on he got better and better, obviously, and the rest is history. But no, he wasn't like that then. I think he became more outspoken the more success he had.

[Editor's note: Page 2 interviewed all the Pac-12 head football coaches during their recent visit to ESPN headquarters. Look for excerpts all month in the Page 2 blog. Page 2's Pac-12 questionnaire -- where coaches voted on the most attractive cheerleaders, best mascot, most dapper coach and much more -- will be posted Thursday, Aug. 25, along with Q&A interviews from all 12 coaches.]