Q&A with Kent Riddle

Kent Riddle is currently helping prepare Boise State for their Dec. 28 bowl game with Boston College. Riddle will join Dan Hawkins' staff at Colorado after the New Year. He will coach special teams, and one yet-to-be determined position on offense. Inside, Riddle talks about why he took the CU assistant job and shares his thoughts about special teams play.

Riddle has coached running backs and special teams at Boise State the past five seasons. Friday he confirmed he will coach special teams and one of three positions — running backs, tight ends or wide receivers — at CU on Dan Hawkins' staff.

"I'm going to be doing the special teams for sure, and we'll figure out the other position based on who else ends up on the staff," Riddle said. "Hawk asked me what I wanted to coach, and I said it's most important to get the best guys there and I can adjust myself to that."

Before he joined the Boise State staff, Riddle coached for several years at Army. Under his watch in Boise, the Broncos' special teams have excelled. He's coached one All-American kicker (Tyler Jones, 2004), and the Broncos finished third in the country in punt returns in 2004, as well.

BSU led the WAC in rushing this past season, and Riddle tutored three 1,000-yard rushers in the past five seasons.

Riddle, who played quarterback from 1987-90 at Oregon State, is married and has one son.

BSN: What made you want to take the job at Colorado? Kent Riddle: Just the opportunity for some new challenges and do some different things, and yet to do them with people you know and trust and like being around. I think that helps.

Hawk is a tremendous guy to work for aside from the results that have been produced. He's always done a great job of looking out for me and my family. You can trust a guy like that. He's really a high-energy guy. He's always honest. He's not going to be a politician. And I think most people truly appreciate that.

BSN: How much did you think about the month-to-month contract situation at Colorado?
I guess it's a concern, but I feel like I've done right by Hawk, so he's going to take care of me. So unless they're getting ready to fire him in two years, it probably is not a huge deal. Although not to say I wouldn't like to work toward possibly getting that change.

BSN: Having a single coach dedicated to special teams will be something new at Colorado. What do you enjoy about that responsibility?
You're in charge of something. Just the responsibility of it all, it makes you perform at your highest level every week. Also, to some degree you get to be an offensive coach, you get to be a defensive coach and you get to interact with every player on the team, not just the offensive guys or just the defensive guys. That's probably as rewarding a part of it as anything — getting to know the whole team.

BSN: At Boise, how much did you work on special teams every day? Was there a segment of practice you where you'd work on one of the units every day?
Yeah. It's somewhere between 20 and 25 minutes. It kind of varies and we change it up as the season goes along so we don't get into too much of a routine or a rut. Early on we'll put in 20 or 25 minutes interspersed through practice. Then we'll probably work towards where we're working on something once or twice, something that might come up in a game.

You let your punter punt for 10 minutes in a row, by the time he's at 10 minutes, he's in a groove. But you don't get to hit any Mulligans during a game, so we try to work toward that in practice, where we're making it more game like. But at the beginning of the season, you have to do it more in blocks so you can get more individual techniques taught.

BSN: How familiar are you with Mason Crosby?
I know he's a helluva kicker. I know he's a first-team All-American, a great kicker and I feel very lucky to be coming into a situation where, hopefully, he's still there.

We're going to do everything we can between myself, being a special teams guy, and Hawk, who was the special teams coach before he became head coach, we're going to be very special teams friendly. Maybe we can make him a two-time All-American kicker, and even a higher draft pick.

BSN: How do you decide who gets to be on the special teams?
We take the best guys we can put out there. It doesn't matter if they're starters or back-ups or what their position on offense or defense is. The best guy that can get that job done. We have a lot of starters that start on our special teams (at Boise State), and we have guys that have earned scholarships because they were walk-ons and they come in and are unbelievable in kick coverage.

BSN: Last question: what kind of blocking schemes do you guys run at Boise State?
It's a combination. We have the ability to run zone schemes and we have the ability to run man schemes. A lot of it just depends on adapting to how our personnel matches up to the (particular defense). But at Boise State we use all of the above.

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