Interview with CU Associate Athletic Director Lance Carl


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 also 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 (such as the Dead & Company playing at Folsom Field the last two summers, and returning again this July 13th and 14th). 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.

Note … For regulars here at CU at the Game, you may recall that Mr. Carl was gracious enough to do a similar interview the last two springs. If you would like to look back at those interviews, you can find the 2016 interviews here, and the 2017 interviews here.

Part One – Coaches 

Three new assistant coaches were hired this off-season. One of the new hires, defensive lineman assistant coach Kwahn Drake, specifically thanked you in his opening remarks to the media. What is your role in the hiring of assistant coaches at CU?

“I wouldn’t say that it’s a unique model, but (athletic director) Rick (George) and I try and focus on is being there for (head coach) Mike (MacIntyre). Mike and I have a great relationship, and if Mike asks for advice, or if Mike asks for input, we are readily available for input. Whenever Mike has a new hire , or a new coaching candidate coming to town, Rick and I like to sit down with the new hires.

There were three or four defensive line coaches we brought in, and what struck me with (new defensive line coach) Kwahn (Drake) is his energy, his enthusiasm, his appreciation for techniques and player development. That all really stood out to us.

In talking with Mike and (defensive coordinator) D.J.(Eliot), what got Kwahn on board, with all of the defensive staff, was his ability to interpret what he wants with you as a defensive lineman. That will go a long way. Kwahn’ is one of his “mentees”. That will go a long ways in terms of getting Kwahn to develop, and develop his own coaching style, his own teaching style, but doing those things within the confines of our defense.

New cornerbacks coach Ashley Ambrose is returning to Colorado as an assistant coach, having been a coach for Dan Hawkins (2006-2010). 

Once again, a guy who really wants to be at Colorado. I remember last year, when we hired ShaDon Brown, Ashley came to our attention, and when the tenth assistant came out, through the NCAA legislation, that Mike really kind of knew who he wanted in that role. I think Mike wants to be more of a CEO than he has been. Last year, he was more hands on with the cornerbacks, but with Ashley, it will allow him to go back and be more of a CEO, and oversee the whole program.

We’re excited to have Ashley on board. When you have 13 years of NFL experience, and you’ve been at Colorado before. He coached Jimmy Smith here, and Jalil Brown here. He’s a dynamic recruiter. He’s going to be able to sell our tradition as he has institutional knowledge.

He kept a house in Golden, so that saves on our expenses … we did like that.

The third new assistant coach is quarterbacks coach Kurt Roper, who comes to Colorado after two seasons at South Carolina, but has also coached at Ole Miss (with Mike MacIntyre), Kentucky, Tennessee, Duke and Florida

It’s rare that you are able to find a quarterback authority. To get someone who has coached at the highest level – at one of the Power Five conferences – is held in high esteem in the SEC, and, he and Mike have a long-standing relationship. When you have those qualities … you are happy to welcome someone like Kurt onto your staff.

Kurt Roper comes to Colorado with years of experience at the offensive coordinator position, having held that role in both ACC and SEC schools. He is now a subordinate to co-offensive coordinators Darrin Chiaverini and Klayton Adams. Are there any issues with a former ACC/SEC offensive coordinator coming on board, but now being a subordinate to two offensive coordinators with far less experience?

It would only be an issue if there were egos involved. On this staff, there are no egos involved. (Co-offensive coordinator) Darrin (Chiaverini) decided to have Kurt’s input, to lean on Kurt a little bit for some advice. We’re excited for (co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach) Klayton (Adams) to take control of that running game, to establish a dominant attitude, a dominant culture on the offensive line that we’ve been missing.

And that goes hand-in-hand with recruiting as well. We understand that we have to recruit a higher-caliber offensive lineman. I believe with (freshman) Frank Fillip you will see that. We’re excited about (redshirt freshman) Colby Pursell this spring. We’re excited about (redshirt freshman) Will Sherman … we’re excited about all of our young linemen, and seeing the strides that they can make. I think (redshirt freshman) Chance Lytle is going to make huge strides for us. We’re excited to see the trajectory of the offensive line, and where they can go with Klayton’s direction.

How will coach Klayton Adams be able to focus on the offensive line, when he is now also taking on the responsibility of a co-offensive coordinator?

He’s focusing on the run game alone. He’s not focused on the pass game. Darrin’s going to be formation oriented, getting us into the right play at the right time. Klayton’s going to be able to give us that input, from the offensive line perspective, with the mindset of, ‘Here are the strengths of our offensive line. Let’s plug some of our strengths into our play calling on the run game’.

How will the new coaches affect the chemistry in the coaches room? Will the fact that CU has an earlier-than-most spring practice schedule hurt the new coaches’ ability to get up to speed?

One thing all these guys are, they are all professionals. These are coaches who all want to be at Colorado, at this time in their career. A lot of people in the media ask, ‘Why did they make that decision on that coach?’. Mike does his due diligence. He’s very patient and methodical, and he’s a disciple of Bill Parcells. The last thing you want to do is to being someone into your meeting rooms who is not a fit with your staff. Mike took his time, and he found the right fits for our staff, and I think it’s going to pay dividends this year.

Many of us thought that the new 10th assistant coach would be a designated special teams coach, but that turned out not to be the case.

We’re very fortunate. We really have three guys on our staff that are special teams guys. (Inside linebackers coach) Ross Els has a tremendous background in special teams. (Daniel) Daprado is a young quality control guy, and then you also have Darrin Chivaerini. We have a lot of different guys who can work with special teams, but I think you’ll see Ross Els take a more hands on roll with that this year.

Colorado opens spring practices earlier than almost every team in the Power-Five conferences. Why is that? 

For a couple of reasons: It doesn’t interfere with spring break. So you don’t have to worry about that interfering with what you are trying to accomplish. Then there is the injury factor. If someone gets hurt, it gives them that much more time to heal before the fall. Finally, there is the academic factor. It gives the players that last six weeks to concentrate on that last push before finals.

Closed practices have become a sore spot with a number of Buff fans. It appears that CU basketball coach Tad Boyle has a pretty reasonable arrangement with the media, with open practices. Any chance of Mike MacIntyre adjusting his policies? (Note: This conversation took place in February, before it was announced that, in addition to the Spring Showcase, two additional practices would be open to the public)

Tad outlines things with the local media. Practices are open – ‘I trust that you are going to do the right thing. But the first time you fail to honor the trust I am putting in you, then we’ll close practices’.

I haven’t talked to Mike about that. I understand that it’s a bone of contention with a lot of people. Ultimately, it’s up to him. It’s his team; it’s his squad. As long as they get the work done, I don’t have a concern.

Still, being the associate athletic director for business development, lack of access translates to lack of news, which translates to less interest in the program, which makes your job all that more difficult

I know that there are a number of media people who would like to have access to the program, but it’s up to Mike, and we’ll see if we can get him to come over from the dark side. In my eyes, it might not be every practice, but there might be something, perhaps opening up a portion of the practice open to the media. I get it. I get it.

Still to come … A unit-by-unit review of both the offense and defense …

4 Replies to “Lance Carl – Coaches”

  1. Good stuff, Stu.

    I liked the quote about needing to continue improving recruiting on the offensive line (and really everywhere). Of course, we all know that. If it were easy, everyone would be ‘Bama.

    But, it seems like – as with almost the entire roster – the next class is generally better prepared than the previous class, to step in and contribute at a high level, sooner rather than later.

    They’re getting there. I’m excited to see the 2018 version of our Buffs. Oh, and of course, to hear LaVarK’s in-depth analysis of why plays go the way they do.

    Go Buffs.

    1. Earache, Text Mickey he will tell you the answers to your questions.

      I know the answer. So do you

      When it is good it’s the coaching

      When it is bad it’s the players.

      Teflon coach of the year.


      Note: How is your brother lindylu? Asking for a friend

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