As the Colorado State football team heads into Friday’s matchup with rival CU-Boulder, head coach Jim McElwain discussed everything Rocky Mountain Showdown with reporters at his weekly press conference Monday afternoon.
Q: How do you feel you stack up talent-wise against the Buffaloes? Obviously, they’re in the PAC-12 that’s been struggling for a few years.
A: I like our team, I like our guys. I feel like it doesn’t matter what game it is we play in. You go out and compete to the best of your ability and go out to win that play. Whatever that play is, go win it. I said, “Guys, I’m not a guy that has a countdown clock to a game. The game comes, but your preparation is what you do year-round to prepare yourself to go in battle.” There are guys that have done a good job preparing and now we got to go test ourselves against an opponent and figure out where we’re at. That’s how I think we should all approach the situation that comes up in life. Never go in with a defeatist attitude, but you go in prepared and be ready to compete.
Q: You’ve talked the last week and today about the difference between “PAC-12 talent” and “Mountain West talent.” With that vote coming up about the Power-5 conferences autonomy, do you have to walk a fine line here when admitting that the gap exists?
A: There’s going to be a separation. We don’t have the television contract in our league to allow us to pay the players all that they can get at those Power-5 conferences. Therefore, you’re sitting in the waiting room for a kid who can financially gain something by going somewhere, you’re probably not going to get him, which puts our job in the evaluation and the development phase into an even bigger cause for us to maintain equal grounds. It’s the cards you’re dealt. I, by no means look at it as a hindrance; I look at it as a challenge. We’re just going to keep working and working to make sure that we’re relevant.
Q: Can you compete with Colorado?
A: Yeah, there’s no doubt. Colorado State University is an outstanding place. It’s got excellence throughout, not just excellent athletics. I’m talking about academics, things we do for students here, the kind of students we turn out, our administration, everything. I look at it as two state schools getting an opportunity to play each other and that’s the way it should be.
Q: What’s your message to the team this week to let them know that their first game of the season is also an in-state rivalry?
A: We got to work on who we are and what we do, and then you go and prepare and go play the game against an opponent. Sometimes if you get caught up in this, then all of the sudden you don’t think clearly, you let the glare come in and you don’t focus on the task at hand, which is winning that play and doing it to the best of your ability. I think it’s great, I love it. I think that’s the way it should be, but our team can’t get caught up. The excitement will be there and that’s what makes it fun.
Collegian Sports Reporter Steven Jacobs can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @steven_jacobs_.