LOS ANGELES — University of Colorado football coach Mike MacIntyre received more attention than usual this week at Pac-12 media days after the Buffaloes became among college football’s most fascinating story lines last fall.
MacIntyre discussed team expectations at length during his podium time on Wednesday in addition to several other topics surrounding the program.
Q. How do you reflect on what happened last season and how did it come together?
A. “I felt like coming into last season I was saying it, and a lot of people were laughing at me when I said I thought we could be Pac-12 champions. I never told our team before that and I never said that publicly before last year. We had the makings to do that. We got there but just didn’t finish it like we want to.
“I felt like as the season went along, the back-to-back road games at Michigan and Oregon, we played well against Michigan but screwed it up. I think that gave our kids confidence that, wow, we can do this. Then winning the game with the style we did at Oregon where the year before we lost a lot of close games, we’d come back and lose at the end. To win it that way I think just propelled them and gave them confidence at the end of games last year that we were able to finish games often and be more successful.”
Q. What did this group learn from the Pac-12 championship game defeat?
A. “What we learned from it is Washington’s really good. Then we also learned from it that in the four games that we lost were all top-10 teams. We weren’t as good on the offensive line as their defensive lines were consistently. We have a lot of guys returning on our offensive line that are thirty pounds stronger in the squat and the bench. We have young guys that we’ve redshirted and moved in. This is the best offensive line we’ve had in the five years we’ve been there. We’re a good offensive line, and we have good depth. So I think that will help us stay on track in those games better where we won’t look so hodgepodge on offense like we did in those games. Then we’ll be able to control the clock a little bit better and move and score. So I feel good about our offensive line and being able to handle that coming up.”
Q. How would you describe your team’s attitude entering the 2017 campaign?
A. “Their work ethic has been phenomenal. It’s always been great, but this group of guys understand what was left by the legacy of the other young men, and they don’t want a letdown, so I’ve seen a little bit more intensity. I’ve seen a little bit by the leaders, more involved, vocal. And Derek (McCartney) and Phillip (Lindsay) are both here, this is Derek’s second time to be a captain, and this is Phillip’s third time. So we have two other captains on our team, it’s their second time being captain. So we have four guys out of our six captains that have been captains multiple times. You get a second chance to do it again, and you understand different things to do.”
Q. What do you expect when the season opens against Colorado State?
A. “First of all, that’s always an emotional game. They have an excellent football team coming back. Their offense is ranked high in the country. You know, they have an advantage this year. They’re playing zero week (against) Oregon State, so that’s a big difference to me. Then we’re playing the first game, so we’ll have to catch up with them a little bit. Wish I would have known that way beforehand, because we would have put a zero week game and not made it the first game. So that’s going to be different for us. So hopefully we’ll be fresh and ready to go. But they’re very talented.”