Q&A with recent CSU football hires Joe Cox and Jamie Bryant

Sam Lounsberry

Last week, CSU football coach Mike Bobo completed his coaching staff for the 2016 season with the hiring of Jamie Bryant, who will serve as the special teams coordinator and safeties coach. Earlier this month, Bobo promoted Joe Cox to tight ends coach. Cox served as a graduate assistant that coached the tight ends last year, and played quarterback at Georgia from 2005-09 while Bobo was its offensive coordinator. Both new hires spoke to the media Monday.

Q: How excited are you for this and what were you able to learn from former tight ends coach Jeff Hammerschmidt working with him last year?
Cox: Obviously, really excited about it. It was a new position for me to coach last year, and I think coach Hammerschmidt and I were both kind of working in that same area, being in a new position. We didn’t play tight end. But for me, playing quarterback for coach Bobo, something that I was responsible for was learning what everyone had to do. Jeff got to throw his side into the tight end room, and I got to do the same thing. Basically, I just tried to pick the little areas that I wanted to talk about and wanted to teach on, and I learned a lot last year, especially form coach friend. And I’m really looking forward to putting it all together and having it be my room this year.
Q: Do you lean on offensive line coach Will Friend a little bit for the blocking part of the teaching?
Cox: I definitely did last year. With someone like him, he’s so good with the run game. And as far as protection rules, every single little detail. That’s who I spent the most of my time with the past year, was learning that from him. It was a big help for me and a big help for our tight end room, and that’s something that we have to continue to improve on this year.
Q: You lost some good veteran tight ends. How different is that room going to be this year without a Kivon Cartwright in there, without a Steven Walker in there?
Cox: It’s definitely going to be different and that’s something I’ve been preaching a lot lately, is that we have to have guys step up and be not only leaders in the room, but leaders on the offense and leaders of the football team. Obviously you have a guy like Nolan Peralta that played a lot of fullback last year, he’s been in the room with us a lot so far this spring, but he’s still going to be able to do both, he’s a smart kid. And he’s proven himself to be a leader of the offense and has been out in front with everything we’ve been doing so far this spring. But we need to have more guys like that, we need to have Danny Nwosu do the same thing, Mitch Parsons. But that’s kind of how it’s been, I’m the new coach, we got some new guys that need to step up and make plays, so we’re all in it together. We want our room as the tight end unit to be a big piece of what we’re trying to do.
Q: What does it mean personally to you for coach Bobo to give you this opportunity?
Cox: It means everything to me. It’s crazy, you know, the whole time my college career, I was in this position where I never wanted to let down coach Bobo. Here I am, 30 years old, and I’m still in a spot where I don’t want to let down Coach Bobo. He’s been one of the biggest role models I’ve ever had, and to get an opportunity from him was unbelievable and I want to do everything I can to make him proud and do my job the way he wants it done.
Q: What’s your connection with Bobo? How did you end up here?
Bryant: Mike and I coached against each other for nine years while he was at Georgia and I was at Vanderbilt and there are some people on that staff at Vanderbilt that have a lot of ties to him and his father that go way back, probably 20 or 30 years ago.
Q: What is it you hope to bring to the special teams and how much of it is what you want to work off what Jeff had done prior? And what is it you want to put your personal touch on?
Bryant: Well I don’t know that I want to put my personal touch on anything. The way I look at everything I do is it’s Colorado State. It’s our players. Our players have to take ownership in everything we do. I have not had a great chance to sit down and look at everything that they’ve done. I’ve been here less than a week and I’m trying to work dual duties with special teams and with defense right now. But in the end, it’s all about our players buying into what we’re doing and taking ownership in what we’re doing. So I don’t have my stamp on anything. I want to be really good in every phase of the kick game, I want the defense to be really good, and I want the offense to be really good because you win games when you’re good.
Q: So you might be one of the most curious coaches during the spring, just watching everything going on just to get to know the guys?
Bryant: Oh, I’m very curious. Because one of the key things I think in the kicking game is that you’ve got to have some core players that are on every single unit. And the more I can watch those guys move around – we’ll do some drill work that will expose guys, and it will show what they’re good at and what they need to improve on to help me out with that.
Sam Lounsberry can be reached at sports@collegian.com and on Twitter @samlounz.