Salve Regina coaches in the thick of HBO's 'Hard Knocks'

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NEWPORT, R.I. – The drama of Chad "Ochocinco" Johnson getting cut after being charged in a domestic incident and the excitement of rookie Ryan Tannehill elevating himself to starting NFL quarterback has provided plenty of drama in the first few episodes of HBO's smash hit "Hard Knocks: Back in Training with the Miami Dolphins."

But if you've been watching closely, the Salve Regina football program has had a presence in every episode.

Salve Regina's coaches, donned in royal blue, were granted unlimited access during the Dolphins' training camp and they took full advantage. They attended morning meetings, team breakfasts, were on the practice field for all sessions, watched film with coaches, attended personnel meetings, coaches' evaluation sessions and more. They even stayed at the team hotel.

It was all made possible through the connections of a close-knit coaching fraternity, literally. Salve Regina's new assistant coach, Frank Sherman, is the brother of Miami Dolphins offensive coordinator Mike Sherman.

And the family tree reaches even further. Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin played tight end for coaches Ken O'Keefe and Mike Sherman 33 years ago at Worcester Academy. O'Keefe is now the Dolphins' wide receivers coach and Sherman, the former head coach of the Green Bay Packers, is offensive coordinator in Miami.

"This was an extremely valuable experience for us," said Salve's head coach Bob Chesney, who is tweaking the way he approaches team practices based on his insider's look in Miami. "They have such a huge support staff. They make every practice as game-like as possible, and every player is getting 100 reps a day."

Chesney marveled at how the performance and productivity of each player during practice is recorded and evaluated as if it were a regular season game. In doing this, he said, coaches can best prepare the team for every game-day situation they will face during the season.

"By tracking everything, you qualify what you're doing in practice," he said.

Salve Regina coaches appearing on "Hard Knocks" this season include assistant coach Kevin Gilmartin, who was shown standing with Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill, as well as Chesney and Sherman sitting in on Dolphins' staff meetings.

Salve Regina, which has been selected among the New England Football Conference pre-season favorites in a poll of coaches, starts its season on Sept. 1 at Union College in Schenectady, N.Y.

Written by Matt Boxler