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New Saints coach accepts advice from predecessor

SHARE New Saints coach accepts advice from predecessor

New Orleans Saints coach Jim Haslett is happy to get advice from those who have been there before.

When it comes to the Saints and conducting training camp in Louisiana, Haslett has a ready and willing source of information — former coach Jim Mora.

In Mora's first year as Saints coach, New Orleans held its training camp in Hammond, La. The players likened Mora's camp to the boot camp the former Marine endured. Practices were long and hard and the result was a weary team that limped to a 7-9 record, including losses in four of their first five games.

"We were kind of talking back and forth and he said, 'Let me give you a piece of advice,' " said Haslett, an assistant to Mora for two seasons. "And he told me about the weather and the conditions and how many people he had that had an IV. I don't know, 124 bags of IV, or whatever it was.

"He didn't think his team was fresh because he was pushing them so hard."

Haslett believes that, despite his lack of experience as a head coach, his experience as a player will help him realize when his players need a break.

"Just from being on the field and being a player, I kind of know when your legs go out and things start slopping around and you start making a lot of mistakes," Haslett said. "I think that's when you've got to either back up or you're not in great condition."

After four days in camp, the Saints are not yet at that point, Haslett said. He knows it's coming, however.

When Haslett played from 1979-87, there were 124 players in camp, which was longer. Tackling was live and hitting was a way of life. That's changed, he said, leaving a fine line between working players hard enough to get them in shape, but not wearing them out.

HOUSTON: The team doesn't have an official nickname or a coach yet, but Houston's NFL expansion franchise has a preseason schedule for its inaugural 2002 season.

After making its debut in the nationally televised Pro Football Hall of Fame Game at Canton, Ohio, against an opponent to be determined, Houston will visit Denver and Dallas, and play host to Miami and Tampa Bay, the Houston Chronicle reported in a story for Wednesday's editions.

Owner Bob McNair and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones plan to play an annual preseason game on a home-and-home basis.

Houston has four-year preseason deals with Denver and Tampa Bay. Miami is scheduled for the first two years and will be replaced by Kansas City in 2004 and 2005.

PACKERS: Safety Gary Berry, a fourth-round pick from Ohio State, agreed to terms Tuesday.

Three other draft picks — including first-round pick Daniel "Bubba" Franks, a tight end from Miami — had not reached contract agreements with the team, which was due to start preseason workouts for rookies Wednesday.

The other unsigned picks were offensive tackle Chad Clifton, a second-round choice from Tennessee, and wide receiver Anthony Lucas, a fourth-round selection from Arkansas.

DOLPHINS: Miami signed safety Chris Bayne and defensive end David Hoelscher to free-agent contracts.

Bayne, 25, was originally Atlanta's seventh-round draft pick in 1997 out of Fresno State. In two seasons with the Falcons, Bayne appeared in 23 games and posted five tackles on defense and seven more on special teams.

The 5-foot-11, 210-pounder played for NFL Europe's Scottish Claymores this past spring.

Hoelscher, 24, was first signed by Green Bay in 1998 as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Eastern Kentucky. He was released by the Packers before the 1998 regular season, but signed with the Washington Redskins and played in one game before being released.