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Coach Mike MacIntyre Part Two - 2013 Pac 12 Football Media Day

Part 2 of the group interview with Colorado Head Football Coach Mike MacIntyre. There are some more gems and interesting tidbits here. Also, a certain DP writer continued to be annoying.

Doug Pensinger

We begin part two with Coach MacIntyre talking about one NCAA rule change he would really like. He would like to get back to feeding the kids three meals each day year-round. This is another place where J. Henderson tries to get a jab in against CU, saying that most schools do, but CU doesn't. It was fun hearing Coach Mac set him straight. He say's that they don't, that to feed them three meals/day, they have to take another $200 out of that $1200 Stipend check. CU only feeds them 1 meal/day currently. Coach MacIntyre believes that allowing the schools to feed them 3 times a day year-round would allow that $1200 to go further and would be one way eliminate a bunch of the problems in a reasonable way. J. Henderson is trying very hard here. "Doesn't the SEC give them three meals a day?" Mac: "If they do, they have to take that out of the stipend".

Coach MacIntyre would like to give them the three meals/day, as opposed to what CU currently does because that way you know they're eating well, but he doesn't think they can cut down on the stipend.

Then there were some questions that Mac couldn't answer yet because he doesn't know all the kids and their families well enough yet. The Buff Playbook guy wanted to know about how many of the families didn't have the means to travel to see games. "We'll see this fall".

J. Henderson then went BACK to the issue, asking Mac if he needed to ask Mom & Pop for money when he was playing at GT. "No I didn't, because when I was at Georgia Tech they gave us 3 meals/day, they've changed that rule. I got three meals a day, I got a little stipend check each month. I worked a little bit in the summer around workouts like our guys do. I think having the camps is good where the players can work the camps will give them a little extra money.

J. Henderson now pushed the topic of conversation to the separation to the haves/have-nots of Division 1 Football.

Q: Another change the little schools don't want is to open things up with recruiting, like unlimited texting and phone calls and extra materials. They can't afford that stuff!

A: You know the texting and phone calls wouldn't. The extra materials would. You know, it's interesting. I've been watching my son get recruited in basketball. And basketball coaches can text and call all they want right now. football coaches can't. He plays both sports, and football coaches can't text him, but basketball coaches can, that causes a lot of issues. I've asked a lot of the basketball coaches this when this all came about and what they told me is this: If you're calling and texting a kid and he's not returning your calls and texts, you know you're not in it. So more communication might help football coaches in that way (But he said this with a lot of emphasis, it was clear that he thought this was ridiculous). Communication these days has changed so much. Texting doesn't cost anything for the small schools. It did when they made that rule. Kids would run up bills because texting would cost money and that was one of the problems. I don't know, there's a lot of ‘if's in there, when you can start recruiting, when you have to stop, all that.

Then we talked about basketball recruiting rules and things, not really related to anything. People were confused.

A: I think there'll be some good changes coming down the road and I think that'll be the push. The reasons for doing this, there's got to be a fine line. For example, why does a non football-playing school have the same vote on football stuff as a football school? There's more of them.

Q: How has it gone establishing a new culture? (not sure who asked it)

A: The process has gone well. It hasn't always gone smooth as far as establishing the culture I want. We still have a lot of kids who we're working on, about we're going to go to class, we're going to go to tutoring, we're going to make sure we work hard, we're going to make sure we care about our student athletes, we're going to do the right things off the field, and we're going to be firm, we're going to be positive and we're going to hold them as accountable as possible. And I'd say about 95% of our guys are right on their feet. But anytime there's change it's always hard. Change is hard, but that's life. There's going to be change in life all the time. Changing a culture is hard and it's different for different guys and so we're in the process of working on that. Most of the guys have all bought in, but there are always situations where guys aren't buying in like we'd like them to. But it hurts them. If they're not truly buying in it isolates them from the team in a way because they're not buying in as much and then they're not prepared or ready to play as much as they want.

Q: It looks like Chidera here has bought in, bought in, being voted a captain by the guys. How important is it to have seniors leaders like him to buy in like that? (again, not sure)

A: It's extremely important. Chidera's a great young man that understands the work ethic it takes, understands it takes the whole team, not just you individually thinking you can handle everything. Our senior captains, and we have 2 junior captains along with the 4 senior captains, have really bought in well and are helping with the younger guys and the in-between guys, trying to motivate a lot of those guys to buy in to what the team concept is all about.

Q: Is that why you've got six captains?

A: Right. We did three different elections. Really. We did an election and we had about 20 guys get votes, so I narrowed it down to about 10 that had the most and then we did another election, and then we finally got down to the 6. Those 6 guys got a lot of votes so I felt like everybody thought they were leaders, so that's why we made all 6 captains.

Q: What's the process like for you, trying to get to know those guys to find out who the leaders are? It seems like something you'd want to try to do quickly. (don't remember who)

A: Right. I meet with the players a lot individually, I have the coaches meet with them, I'm around them a lot, and then this summer, at different times around their class schedules we had some captains meetings to go through the book together, talking about how to handle situations, how to be a leader and not only now, but for when they graduate and in the future. It's been a lot of fun, we've been able to interact and get to know each others personalities. They've been able to ask really direct questions in a small group setting that we can help handle and that's the way you grow as a team. Then your leaders have to pass it down to the other players on the team. You know, as coaches, we like to think they players listen to us all the time. They tune us out sometimes, just like kids tune out their parents, but they'll listen to their peers.

Q: What does being a captain mean to you in your program, what does it entail? (don't remember)

A: A captain to me, in my program, is someone who is committed to being successful, who cares about all the details of everything, going to class, going to tutoring, off-the-field activities, taking care of my body, coming to work every day to workouts, coming every day to practices and putting all I've got into it. If I don't see somebody else doing that, having enough courage and fortitude to go talk to that young man, to show him how important he is to us, push other people to be successful the right way. So it's a combination, and you can't just do it, you've also got to be vocal, and you really have to act, you have to do what you're saying. Those are great lessons to learn, being a leader

Q: (Someone asked something referencing a comment someone made in his ESPN interview about fan & administrative support)

A: I think we've got great support from the fanbase and from the administration, that's why I'm here. The administration has assured me of that and they're moving forward with things and working at it hard. They've just got to keep doing it.

Q: You're a defensive (side of the ball) guy, you've got Kent Baer, long-time defensive coordinator, and then you've got a really young, relatively inexperienced offensive coordinator, why?

A: He had a phenomenal year last year at San Jose State and he called plays at Northern Arizona where he was the offensive coordinator for 6 years. He also played quarterback at Idaho and was really good. He coordinated for 6 straight years at Northern Arizona and had really good offenses, really good accuracy quarterbacks and then last year he broke 26 records at San Jose State. So he's young, but I think he's very good and I think he relates really well with quarterbacks. That's his expertise, he can relate and coach a quarterback to be able to execute in a game, and that's hard to do. Not many people can do that. A lot of people can call plays but not get the quarterback to execute like that.

Q: And he's had success with new quarterbacks. How does having Connor Wood, or whoever it will be, how do you feel about having them step in for essentially the first time after experiences with guys like David Fales (his QB at SJSU last season)

A: I'm excited about it, I look forward to it. I know we can prepare him to be ready, but we also have to prepare everybody around him to be ready too, so it'll be fun to watch it happen.

Q: You've rebuilt programs before, do you think you're farther ahead now at Colorado than you were at San Jose State at this time.

A: That's a good question. I do feel like we're a little further ahead because I was able to bring so many coaches with me, and the strength coach and the academic coordinator and football operations/recruiting coordinator, so I didn't have to hire all those people like I did when I went to San Jose State. They also know what we want to do, they know how to communicate with me easily. We've been through the wars together now, so I think that's accelerated that side of it. But I hope I'm finding a way to reach our young men on our team. You really don't know that until you get into the season and get going.

Q: What's been your most surprising or best experience in Boulder now that you're there? Maybe something you didn't know before that you find interesting about it?

A: I like eating at Pasta Jay's. Pearl Street's a nice place to go to, a lot of nice places to eat a lot of fun. I'll tell you, the weather has been phenomenal. You know, when you first go there you're thinking, well, is there going to be snow? We had a little bit of snow, but it would melt in like two days and if it's 45, it feels like it's 70 because of the sun, so I've really enjoyed that side of it.

Q: And how about the University?

A: The people there have been really nice, they're very passionate about  football and it's a great place. A lot of people trying to accomplish a lot of things. It's fun being at a college campus like that, all the energy and excitement and all the people thinking outside the box and trying to create new things for life and everything is pretty neat.

Q: Simple question: Can you win a bowl game?

A: Yeah, sure, yeah we can. You know, our goal is to come out and play every game as hard as we can and believe we can beat everybody we line up and play against. So we need to do that, we'll go out there and give it all we can and have that mindset to do it.

Q: Along those same lines, we had someone who wanted me to ask this: Over the last few seasons, we've had some teams that have been, frankly, hard to watch. Effort hasn't always been there, execution hasn't been there. It's a new team, and sure, we don't expect an undefeated season, but what can we expect? How would you describe the team you're going to put on the field?

A: Well what we're trying to teach is what you just said. Our effort, our execution, our alignment, our penalties, trying to treat all that discipline. That's hard to do, but that's a process we started the first day of Spring. We've really cut back, even in fall practice we're not going to have a tremendous amount of offense or defense in, we're going to talk about all the things you talked about. We've got periods of practice called care periods, a period called winning edge, a period called start fast, a period called finish strong, which are all the principles you just talked about. We're going to do them EVERY DAY (that's his emphasis, not mine). If we don't pick up the offense or pick up the defense yet until we get those basic fundamentals taught, those basic foundations, we won't keep moving on with our offense & defense. Because the more you put in offensively and defensively. Knowledge equals confidence equals playing fast, again, some of those things you talked about. Playing fast, having confidence when we play, running to the ball, execution, lining up, that's all things you have to do before you put more and more stuff in. And if you put more and more stuff in, that can sometimes bog them down, and we don't want to do that.

It was a good interview, and I felt good about Coach Mike MacIntyre. I think he will have success in turning our Buffaloes around. I liked his answers on things like his OC, that they're going to focus on effort even before installing offense and defense, and the fact that a bunch of guys have bought into his system and that there are a lot of leaders on this team. I think that bodes well for a slight improvement this year, with a nice upward arc going forward. I know it doesn't mean much because I'm just a silly optimist, but I'm excited.