Rick Steinbacher Q&A w/Audio

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Newly named UNC football radio color analyst Rick Steinbacher spoke with Inside Carolina on Tuesday.

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First of all, how did this all come about, obviously you had done radio before and have a great deal of knowledge of and access to the UNC football program?

"When I did sideline reporting and some limited color when there was a conflict, I loved doing it. It was something I really, really enjoyed. When I first went back to work for the athletic department in the football office, I knew I had to figure out my new job without trying to do both of those things. But I've been doing that for six years now.

"I've always been a huge fan of Mick Mixon. He's one of my best friends, and were it not for him I probably would not be in the spot I am now. He kept me involved with Carolina football by making me the sideline guy after I finished playing. So when I heard he might be taking the job with the Panthers, some thoughts went through my head that, ‘Hey, maybe I could do both things.'

"I think [Tar Heel Sports Marketing Director] Gary Sobba had some of the same thoughts and I talked with Coach Bunting first to make sure it was something he would be in support of. He said he would absolutely be in support of me doing both things. So after talking to him and knowing it would be good for him, good for me and good for the Tar Heel Sports program….I decided to do it."

So you're not switching jobs; you're just adding a job?

"Basically what Mick did…he did so much for that network and there is no way one person could replace what he did. We're going to take his role and split it up.

"Basically Jones Angell will do all the production work that Mick used to do, the hosting that Mick used to do and the interviewing that Mick used to do. And, then with me for football and Eric Montross for basketball…we'll be the color analysts during the games.

"I'll be on the air about an hour before the kickoff and I'll be off the air about a half hour after the game. I can do that without it interfering with what I already do. There is no way I could do what Mick did and do what I currently do. But because I'm simply the color analyst for the football broadcasts, I can do that and continue to do what I do now."

Well, I'm sure you'll have to do a lot of prep work, but you'll really just be talking about what you already know. Right?

"I'll have to do a lot of prep work on the other team. Obviously with Carolina – I'm at every practice – I'll know everything I need to know about Carolina before Game Day. But I'll have to study up on the other team and that's something I look forward to doing."

Have you worked as a color commentator before?

"I have actually three times. One time when we played N.C. State one Saturday after Thanksgiving – '95 or '96…somewhere in that range – and there was a basketball game on the same weekend so Mick went and did the basketball game. I was Woody's color commentator for that game. I did the Carquest Bowl for the same reason. And I did the Las Vegas Bowl which as in '99.

"So I've done it three times before with Woody. He was great. He made it real easy for me to jump right in there and do it, and I'm real excited about working with him again.

"He's as good as they get, and I'll be honored to be his partner again."

What do you think you'll bring to the broadcasts?

"I'll be up front with everybody…I'm not a journalist. I'm not a comedian. I'm a football guy. So what I hope to bring to the broadcasts is someone who has played the game of football, someone that knows and loves the game of football, and someone that knows Carolina Football about as much as you possibly can. So I hope to be able to bring a football perspective to it, and be able to watch the games, check the plays and be able to relay to the audience in a fun, entertaining, informative, and sometimes educational way, what's going on on the field.and bring that to the booth."

What if you disagree with a coach's call or an athlete's performance on a particular play? How much leeway do you have to critique a UNC play or decision?

"I'm sure different color commentators have different philosophies. Regardless of whether or not I'm doing my role as Director of Football Operations, I don't think it's any color commentator's place to second guess a coach.

"I know all the coaches on our staff, and there isn't a color commentator anywhere in the country that has anywhere near the knowledge, expertise or experience that they do coaching football.

"So, I'm not a ‘coach second guesser.' I'll never do it. If I were doing this job and didn't work for the athletic department or the football program, I wouldn't do it either. It's got nothing to do with that.

"I think I'm there to talk about what is happening on the field. Now if one team is able to do another thing against a team, I'm going to describe how I think that is able to occur and why I think that is happening. But I will never second guess a coach, because they know a lot more than I do."

What makes you most excited about this new venture?

"It's something that I enjoy doing. When I did radio before, I enjoyed it. I'm going to be the color radio analyst for Carolina Football – something that has been a part of my and my whole family's life. It's something I take a great deal of pride in. It's something I enjoy being a part of. It's just another way of being more a part of it.

"That's what excites me. Working with Woody is an honor for me, and I'm excited about doing that again. Being to be a voice for the program over the Tar Heel Sports Network…again, it's going to be a lot of fun for me. I'm excited about it and I think I can do a great job for the fans. I think I can make it entertaining for them and informative for them. And I think I can present the program in a very positive light.

"So that's what excites me. I just think it's a ‘win-win-win.' It's something I'm going to love doing and really, really enjoy. And I hope I'm going to be able to bring a lot to the broadcasts and make the listeners enjoy listening to the broadcasts. Finally, I think it's a win for the program."

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