DENVER (CBS4) – University of Colorado football coach Mike MacIntyre was the guest on Xfinity Monday Live and said he fielded a “J.V. team” last year — as in extremely young — but he’s not going to use that as an excuse anymore.
MacIntyre is entering his third year as the head coach and talked about his expectations for a team that has been lousy.
“We’re going to be much improved. We were a J.V. football team last year, we’re a junior-sophomore team this year and I’m excited about our future and how we’ll do,” MacIntyre said.
MacIntyre said he’s noticed maturity in his players this year.
“And I noticed size, I noticed strength and power in the weight room,” he said. “I noticed them doing well in school. We had one of the highest GPAs ever. They’re all maturing together at the same time.”
Some fans say they won’t be happy unless the Buffaloes made it to a bowl game. Other fans say they just hope to see the team somewhere near .500. But MacIntyre has his sights set much higher.
“I want to win every game. I mean I definitely want to win every game and I mean that sincerely. We’re a program that when we came here … three years ago we were the worst BCS program in America … and we’ve slowly got competitive. Now it’s time to finish those games off, and that’s what we plan on doing.”
Last year the Buffs went 2-10 and 0-9 in the Pac-12. They lost four games by 10 points or less and two of them in double overtime. The Buffs averaged 439 yards per game and 28.5 points per game, but they allowed 39 points per game, which was rough.
“Everybody is really high on life right now, we’re just ready to go,” quarterback Sefo Liufau said. “The morale is definitely high.”
Liufau is entering his junior season and has developed into a leader. He threw for 3,200 yards and 28 touchdowns last year, but MacIntyre hopes this year he will take better care of the football after throwing 15 interceptions in 2014.
“But some of the pressure on him was that our defense wasn’t very good at all. So we always had to keep pressure on him and keep making first downs and keep scoring points,” MacIntyre said. “This year our defense will be much improved … so that will help him also.”
MacIntyre said there will be no quarterback controversy entering the season and that Liufau doesn’t have to be looking over his shoulder.
“He’s our guy, I’m excited about Sefo. I think we broke 105 records last year — Colorado school records. We were the 27th best offense in the country and we’ve got basically everybody back, and we’ve got a guy named Nelson Spruce who Sefo will get the ball to.”
Spruce had 106 receptions for 1,198 yards and 12 touchdowns last year.
“He’s a great weapon. And he’s not only a great weapon, but he’s a phenomenal football player, but also a great person,” MacIntyre said. “He’s one of our best leaders on our football team … our guys follow what he does, follow his work ethic, unbelievable work ethic.”
Even with all the success the offense had last year, MacIntyre believes it will be even better this year. And he says newly hired defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt has improved the defense significantly.
“Jim brings a lot of energy and emotion, there’s no doubt. He has a lot of passion about the game of football. But he brings a great expertise there also,” MacIntyre said. “I’m really excited about what Jim is doing for our defense and what he’s doing overall for our linebackers. It’s exciting to watch.”
This year the Buffs will open the season against Hawaii in Honolulu.
– By Matthew J. Buettner, CBSDenver.com