ALBANY, N.Y. ( NEWS10 ) — The UAlbany offense has added championship experience to the sideline. Albany native Dion Lewis is one of the new faces in the program as the assistant running backs coach. Head coach Greg Gattuso believes adding Lewis to the mix will bode well for the run game.

“He brings a wealth of experience to them, and you know sometimes it’s nice to have a guy thats done it at a high level around to not just listen to their coach, but he’s now wanting to get into the profession and give back, and I think this is a great opportunity for him, so we’re really glad to have him.”

Lewis and Gattuso go back to their days at the University of Pittsburgh. Since then, Lewis has finished a 10-year NFL career, winning Super Bowl 51 with the New England Patriots. Now, he wants to help the players reach their potential.

“I tell them to go out there and have fun and that I’m here to help,” Lewis said. “I might be hard on you in practice, but I’m showing love because I want the best for you not only as an athlete but as a student and as a family man and as a young man, so just trying to do the best I can you know to help them out.”

Jose-Lopez Quinones is a veteran in the running back room and said that Lewis has helped put things into perspective for the unit.

“Dion has had such a big impact on all of us already,” Lopez-Quinones said. “Just from his short time being here, he just brings a different element to the game, and he’s been able to bring that experience being there winning the super bowl. He just has such good knowledge and makes the game so much more simplified for us.”

The Great Danes rushing offense averaged 127 yards per game and found the endzone 16 times in 2022, but in 2023 lewis wants the unit to focus on we instead of me, and that starts when the Great Danes put on full pads on Wednesday.

“Just to work hard, be coachable, and be a team-first guy. You know thats the big thing about college football you know obviously your always competing and things like that, but you want to be a good teammate, so that’s what I try to stress to these guys, you know working hard, competing but you know still helping each other out.”