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IRVING -- Dallas Cowboys Defensive Coordinator Monte Kiffin had his first Q&A with members of the media at Valley Ranch Thursday, and judging by the crowd, it must have been a big deal.

"I will say this: we've got some depth in this media now," Kiffin said. "We need more depth on defense."

Kiffin is being reunited with Rod Marinelli, who takes over the defensive line. They worked together at Tampa Bay.

"Oh, it's great," Marinelli said. "We've always stayed in touch, even after I left Tampa. It s special. For me it s really special. Obviously, I ve got a lot of respect for him."

Kiffin and Marinelli have a wealth of coaching experience. Kiffin started in the NFL in 1983. Marinelli didn't arrive in the NFL until 2006. But if you add their college years, they have a combined 75 years of coaching experience. Together the two will be responsible for installing the 4-3 defense.

"The first rule of getting better: show up," Kiffin said. "You can't just show up and not get better. Now that's waste of time. You show up, you're going to get coached here."

"The transition, you never know, but when you start to look at these guys on tape, I mean, they can run," Marinelli said. "Our system is built on speed, and quickness and balance, and change of direction, and attitude."

Kiffin takes over at the ripe age of 72, although the glare of the lights must have been a little much.

"I'm 72 going on 52," Kiffin said. "There are people 72 going on 82. Don't worry about me communicating."

"Go back and check my birth date, how about January 29, 1940? Last time I checked, that's leap-year baby, so can you figure out how old I am right now?" Kiffin continued.

We did check, and Kiffin s birthday is actually February 29, 1940, not January 29th.

We can only hope his memory doesn't fail him when the game is on the line.

E-mail griba@wfaa.com

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