Q & A with Lance Carl – Part One

Lance Carl then … A member of Bill McCartney’s first recruiting Class (1983), Carl was a 12-letter winner (football, baseball, track and basketball) out of Fort Madison, Iowa. Carl, a wide receiver who led the Buffs in receiving in 1986, was a member of the team when the Buffs ended a six year run of losing seasons in 1985 – McCartney’s fourth year as head coach. Carl was on the receiving end of one of the most memorable touchdowns in Colorado football history, a 52-yard halfback pass from O.C. Oliver on the first play of the fourth quarter of CU’s epic 20-10 upset of No. 3 Nebraska in 1986.

Lance Carl now … Carl signed as a free agent with the Washington Redskins and had a four year run as a scout for the Philadelphia Eagles. More recently, Carl spent six years with the Colorado Department of Higher Education, where he was a director for student motivational outreach. In November of 2013, Carl was named to a newly created position, associate athletic director for business development. The largely external role which encompasses business development, community partnerships, Carl serves as the coordinator for non-game day events (if you are “grateful” that Dead & Company are playing Folsom Field July 2nd and 3rd, you have Lance Carl to thank). Carl, with an office down the hall from athletic director Rick George, is also the sports supervisor for the football program. He has daily interactions with head coach Mike MacIntyre, the assistant coaches, support personnel and the student-athletes.

Carl, in the locker room as Bill McCartney turned things around in year four of his career at Colorado, is in a unique position to discuss whether Mike MacIntyre, in the fourth year of his career at Colorado, can do the same.

Part One … Coaches

Are there similarities between Bill McCartney and Mike MacIntyre?

There are parallels between the two men. They are both strong men of faith, high character, They have solid foundations on what they believe a program should look like, and how it’s run. I think the difference between the two is when Bill McCartney was here, if you look back at his staff at the time – Gary Barnett; Gerry DiNardo, Mike Hankwitz, Jim Caldwell, Ron van derLinden – those guys were established coaches when they came in. Mike MacIntyre has had a little bit of a younger staff, a bit of a transition coming from San Jose State to this level of football. I think what Darrin Chiaverini, Joe Tumpkin and Jim Leavitt (the most recent hires) have been able to do is galvanize that staff.

They have brought those guys together and been able to say, ‘This is the direction we are going’. Mike’s been providing leadership at the top, but your coordinators have to provide leadership as well. You’ve seen the leadership Leavitt has been providing on defense, and I believe Darrin working with Brian Lindgren will bring that level of leadership to the offense.

On the face of it, newly hired co-offensive coordinator Darrin Chiaverini and returning co-offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren don’t appear to be a great fit. How is it working out?

Brian is very cerebral, not as out-going as Darrin, but very, very astute. He has great knowledge of the X’s and O’s of the game. Darrin is really going to enhance what he is as a coordinator, and provide that voice in the meeting room when it is needed. You have to have that outside voice sometimes to bring a little more energy to the room, and I think Darrin is going to be able to do that.

When Troy (Walters) left, Darrin was a perfect fit for us. One thing we really didn’t have on that staff prior Darrin’s coming, we didn’t have a real pit bull. Darrin is a real pit bull. He understands what Colorado is all about. He bleeds black-and-gold, of course, and wanted nothing more than to come back here. So when he came back, it was a perfect fit for him.

He and Brian Lindgren are polar opposites in personality, but they hit it off tremendously. It’s not a mesh you think of. You look at Doug Meacham and Sonny Cumbie (co-offensive coordinators) at TCU, they are two different personalities. Doug is a little more outgoing; Sonny is a little more quiet, but it has worked out well (TCU was third in the nation in total offense in 2015; 7th in scoring offense)

It’s going to be great for our wide receivers, to have Darrin’s voice in that room, and bring some of that Texas Tech offense. He’s talked about melding out two systems together, but also take some things out, and become great at certain things – make the defense stop you. If you look at a lot of the great football teams, they are running the same play out of five or six different formations, and they are keeping it simple for their student athletes. We’re going to become great at some things this year, and it’s going to behoove our offense, our offensive line, our running backs, to keep it simple and let them play fast.

Defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt seems to be – from his tweets and public comments – a very energetic 59-year old

With Coach Leavitt what you see is what you get. He goes all day, every day. He wears his heart on his sleeve. Most importantly, you see how his players believe in him, that’s what it comes down to – do the players believe in what the coaches are talking about.

Another new addition to the staff is strength and conditioning coach Drew Wilson, who, under the arcane rules of the NCAA, has most of the contact with the players in the off-season. How is Drew Wilson working out?

Players are buying in. You get ‘buy in’ from student athletes when you give them discipline and structure, and you allow them to see you for who you are. You are able to communicate with them at their level. And that is what Drew has done. He’s very personable. Very very passionate. Very, very confident. And that comes across in how he conducts his workouts.

We’ve seen some interviews with him, and he’s like, ‘Look. It’s football. They are going to be flexible and all of those things, and they are going to have speed, but we need big, strong guys. You look at Alabama, look at the offensive and defensive lines, and they are big, strong guys. I don’t care if they can do yoga or not. I want to know if they can knock your ass off the ball on third-and-one’.

When I walk into the indoor practice facility, in the morning, and I see Drew Wilson in there, working the guys out, I get excited. But it’s still, what do we do, when we line up across the field from the Lambs in September. That is what it is all about.

Bottom Line for Mike MacIntyre in Year Four

Looking back at last fall … We’re leading six games in the fourth quarter. You have got to find a way to win those games. And that’s where we are right now. And I think Mike understands … this job is about winning. At the end of the day, it’s about winning. I think that’s why he is so excited about Darrin’s addition to the staff, and Joe (Tumpkin) and Jim (Leavitt). Kind of turning the ship in a different direction. Going his way the first three years, but now changing course, going a different direction, turning it more over to his coordinators, trusting his staff, having the right coaches in place to recruit the type of student athlete which we need here. And Rick giving him all the resources he needs to do that … no more excuses.

Still to come:

Part Two … Recruiting

Part Three … The Players: Offense

Part Four … The Players: Defense


Just for fun …

This fall will mark the 30th anniversary of one of CU’s most exciting – and most important – victories. On October 25, 1986, the 2-4 Buffs faced off against the undefeated and third-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers. Colorado hadn’t beaten Nebraska in 19 years, but posted a 20-10 upset which helped launch the program toward a national championship four years later.

Up 10-0 at halftime, the Buffs were nursing a 10-7 lead at the end of the third quarter. On the first play of the fourth quarter, halfback O.C. Oliver hit Lance Carl for a 52-yard touchdown which re-energized the team and set the stage for the 20-10 win.

The game story can be found here.

The pivotal play, with the call from KOA’s Larry Zimmer:

7 Replies to “Q & A With Lance Carl – Part One – “No More Excuses””

  1. The heat of the game will reveal just how well the double OC thing is going to work. Brian may have a”great knowledge” of the Xs and Os however applying that knowledge at crunch time is a weakness. Brian is going to continue to call the plays and I wonder if the same game time paralysis arrives how that is going to sit with Darrin.

    1. I have the same concern. My hope is that Darrin will be a voice in his ear. Able to sit a little apart from the second to second hectic pace of calling plays and use that space to find the hole in the opponents defense. To spot when we are getting predictable. To provide mid game changes in pace or in set up. To spot where a specific play may or may not be working.

      The biggest question is will Lindgren take the feedback and use it effectively. If he does, I think it could actually work out really well. I agree though we will not know until the first game of the season.

    2. No doubt that the paralysis by analysis needs to stop. We have watched the offense take too many penalties waiting for the next play to come in while the coaching staff seems to fail to understand that there is a play clock. Lingren needs to play speed chess to get the requisite skills in timely decision making. or turn it over to Chevy……

      And don’t get me started on the Red Zone nonsense!

  2. That was a far more pivotal game for CU than “62-36” and actually a far more decisive win.

    Looking up in that crowd, I caught a glimpse of that young punk who used to be me!

  3. Boy do I love that play. I was sitting there wishing the game was over before the play and after the play I wanted that clock to run at about the speed that my heart was beating, along with thousands of other people in the stadium that day. What made it even sweeter was a buddy of mine had flown in from Omaha, and while he had been gracious and not too arrogant before the game, by this time he was stunned.

    One of the best Buff football days of my life.

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