Since the regular season ended, have you had a chance to sit back and reflect on what you accomplished?
Darrin Chiaverini: “You look back on it and you know we did something special this year, obviously going from 4-9 to 10-3 and to win the Pac-12 South. So there is some pride in that accomplishment but there is still a lot of work left to be done. We want to play well in bowl game, we want to win the bowl game. So you can look back on it a little bit but we are still kind of in season mode.”
The Buffs didn't have the benefit of bowl practices the previous eight seasons... how do you go about finding the balance between getting prepared for the bowl game, but also using these extra practices to develop the younger players?
“It is great for your young guys, like Steven Montez and our young receivers and young offensive linemen, young secondary players. It is going to be an extra spring practice for them. It just shows the evolution of our program and where we are headed. This is something we are going to be doing every year.”
Is Bryce Bobo still recovering from that ankle injury?
“He is still kind of working his way back in. We are giving him a couple days here to continue to recover and hopefully we'll get him back going next week.
How is Juwann Winfree's recovery coming from that torn ACL?
“His rehab, from what I hear, is ahead of schedule. We are excited to get him back in the mix next year. Our receiving corps next year, it is going to be really talented.”
I was going to ask you about that... you bring back all your starters, you will welcome back Juwann Winfree, and have a talented group of receivers coming in...
“It is going to be good because we'll have a heavy senior class and we'll have a lot of freshmen that are going to be playing. It allows the freshmen to learn at a high level with guys that have been here. And then their time is going to come. Those guys will be seniors before you know it, those kids that are coming will be sophomores and it'll be their time to take it over. So it is a good problem to have.”
You created a knockdown board for your receivers and the blocking by your group was impressive this fall. Was that something you had done in the past?
“I have done it everywhere I have been. Even when I was coaching at the Junior College level, we had a knockdown board and a YAC (yards after catch) board. It was something I believed in as a player and our kids compete for that spot. [Byrce] Bobo won the knockdown this year and Devin Ross won the YAC. Devin and Shay [Fields] were real close on that. It has been good. Those receivers have really gotten better this year. They have really evolved their game and they'll keep getting better.”
Your offense is going against the scout team defense all fall... who were some of the players over there that stood out this fall?
“Trey Udoffia is going to be a kid that makes a name for himself. We went against [Anthony] Julmisse a lot of times. He came down to work some scout team as well. He is going to be good. Terriek [Roberts] is going to be a player that keeps evolving. Frank Umu is a player that is going to be really good. It is good to see those guys get work.”
Obviously your risk to come back to your alma mater is paying off... was there any concern coming back here?
“There is always concern. Obviously CU hadn't been winning before this year and there is always some anxiety but I believed in Coach Mac and I believed in the players they had. I believed they were close to getting over the hump and I am glad I could help them. I know I have helped them this year.”
When was the moment you realized this team had potential?
“It was that CSU game when I saw them really go out there and execute at a high level. I began to think, 'We can be pretty good.' You never know until you start playing real games. Practice is one thing, but when the lights come on, how do people respond? They responded in that CSU game. So once we had that game, I thought, 'We have a chance to be pretty good.'"
Was the tempo on offense what you wanted it to be this year? Can it get faster?
“I think we can still go a little faster. As we keep evolving with these guys next year all knowing the system and knowing what we expect from them in the spring, I think you are going to see it go even faster next year.”