Was it ever uncomfortable for you playing for your father as a High Schooler at Pomona?
No, my father would never have put me or himself in a position where someone could have questioned his judgment. In fact, I was not the starting QB until I was a Senior. I played safety as a Junior and was the back-up QB. I will always remember that time in my life when my father and I got to spend significant time with one another. He was always harder on me than he was the others and would have had it no other way.
Do you think having a coach for a Dad made you love football more or did it steer you toward baseball?
I have always loved Football, and that started hanging around the teams that my Father coached at Pomona High School. I can remember getting to ride the bus home with him and the team after wins when I was a kid. It just so happened that I was a much better baseball player than I was football player.
When you were drafted by the Padres out of High School, were you prepared to forgo College altogether had you reached the "Bigs"?
I truly believed that I was going to have a shot to make it to the Big Leagues, and yes, I was fully prepared to forgo College. However, both of my parents were teachers and I promised my Mother that no matter what happened I would get my degree. Because of that promise we negotiated College Tuition money into the contract that I signed with the Padres.
Was the University of Colorado an automatic choice for you, or were there other schools you considered attending?
Going to CU was not on my radar at all. I thought about trying to walk on at a few places including Hawaii, Northern Colorado, Montana, CSU, Wyoming, and San Diego State. Prior to my last year in baseball I went to visit Shaun Watson who was the QB's/OC for CU. They had just won the Big 12 Championship and I knew Shaun from going to the CU Football Camp when I was in High School. I set up a meeting with him to pick his brain about the schools and coaching staffs that would treat me fairly if I wanted to walk on. My plan was to ask him which of the above mentioned schools would be my best choice. After I told him that I was seriously contemplating leaving baseball he stopped me and told me that if I did he wanted me to come to the University of Colorado. I was shocked, but elated at the same time! I put my application in immediately and then went to Spring Training. After deciding that I was done with baseball I was ready to go at Colorado. Second to the women I married that was the best decision I ever made.
How hard did you have to work to go from a walk-on at CU to a three-year starter?
I was extremely lucky once I went back to school because I had the benefit of hindsight and was only 20 years old. I had failed at pro-baseball and the lessons that I learned in the minor-leagues paid off for me ten fold once I was back in school. I was a very hard worker and I had to earn everything that I was ever given because I was a walk-on. I studied all the time and changed my body physically so that I could be on the field.
Do you miss College?
I miss the friendships and the bond that was formed between all of my teammates. I have no regrets and therefore I can honestly say that I do not miss it. It was a great time in my life, but I have an amazing wife and a beautiful baby boy. I do my very best to live for the now.
Do you have a CU tattoo?
No, in fact I do not have any tattoos. My father who is a Vietnam War Veteran once told me that if I ever got a tattoo he would sand-paper it off... I believed him!!
What was it like to essentially end your College Football career with a 70-3 loss to Texas in the 2005 Big 12 Championship game? Was that a low point for you personally?
I am often asked about that game, and it is very hard for me to answer those types of questions because I have no recollection of that game. Obviously, my teammates and I would have wanted to play much better, and that loss is something that we will remember for a long time. However, I believe we achieved great things at Colorado, including 4 division titles in 5 seasons. I am certain that if you asked Buffs fan if they would take that type of success now they would take it and run. I hate that it was the last snap that I ever took at CU. The most painful thing about that loss and the concussion that I received was the fact that I was not cleared to play in the Bowl game. I thought we would have had a great chance to beat Clemson, but that wasn't in the cards and that was the hardest part for me. I wanted nothing more that to suit up one last time with my teammates and send those guys out with a win. All of that being said, that was not a low point for me personally. Sports and athletics have to be put into perspective, and thankfully I was married at the time and my wife helped me keep a solid perspective on what was really important.
Are you happy with the direction that Jon Embree and the CU Football program seem to be headed in now?
I am very happy with what is going on at CU, and I have no doubt that given the proper amount of time Jon will turn that program into what I believe it should be which is a team that is ranked on a consistent basis between 15-25 and when things go really well and they get a couple of special players they will compete for a Conference Title.
Were you glad to see Dan Hawkins leave?
I was, as I do not believe he ever was the right type of coach for CU. Also, I never felt like he respected the program. I wish him all the best in the future with whatever he chooses to do.
You've been critical in the past of the treatment of athletes by the NCAA. Do you consider the organization to be exploitive of student athletes?
The NCAA is an organization that is trying to govern student athletes and the member institutions with rules that are decades old! Common sense would tell you that these rules need to be updated, and the NCAA needs to look at what would make College Athletics better. Also, to govern Football and Basketball with the same rules that are in place for non-revenue producing sports is absolutely ridiculous. College football is turning into a Billion dollar entity and the NCAA needs to get with the times as it pertains to the rules that should be in place.
Mike Evans is a great on-air partner, but do you ever miss working with Charles Johnson (on the CJ and Klatt show) or Nate Kreckman (on Klatt and Kreckman)?
I have absolutely loved working with all three of the men that I have had the privilege to work with. All three of the shows are very different and I really enjoyed doing each of them. I believe Nate Kreckman is a fantastic talent that will be in this market for a long time. He is professional and as a great wit on the air. CJ and I had terrific chemistry from day one and it is because of the bond we share as Buffs. It felt like we were back in the locker room immediately and we had a great time. He is very smart, and I could always count on him calling me crazy at least once a show. With Mike Evans I could not be happier! He is as good as they come and I couldn't be more pleased to be in a situation were I can learn from someone like Mike Evans. I love to go to work every morning in large part because I really enjoy working with Mike.
Having grown up in Colorado, how did you become a Red Sox fan?
It was 1986 and I was 4 years old. I did everything that my older brother did and he was routing for the Red Sox in the world series against the Mets. I of course followed and it stuck. Then when the Rockies came to town in 1993 we were at a Braves-Rockies game at Mile High and I was cheering on the Rox when my father told me that he believed you were only allowed one team, and when he asked which one it was going to be I answered Red Sox and it has stuck ever since. I love the Rockies dearly and follow and root for them much more closely now and so I can honestly say that I have changed and that my one team in the MLB is the Colorado Rockies
Is your current gig at Root Sports a dream job?
It is something that happened for me out of the blue and it is not something that I ever envisioned doing. I have always been an analyst and not a host and so I never dreamed that I would be doing this. However, I love doing it and it has turned into something that I hope will last for a very long time
Does the fact that the season has gone so poorly make covering the Rockies tough?
Absolutely, we all want them to do better and the fact of the matter is when a team is going poorly the sentiment of the fan base will turn with it and inevitably they want you to jump on and heap criticism toward the team. That is not what I or anybody else wants to do! Why in the world would we be telling people why they shouldn't watch? Why not try to focus on some positives and tell people why they should watch?
Does covering the Rockies for Root Sports in the evenings and talking sports on 104.3 the Fan each morning create a conflict for you?
Of course there is conflict, but I have found that if you hold fast to what is true that will carry a long ways. Sticking to the facts or the stats can create an argument or defuse situations very quickly
Do you find your schedule taxing?
Yes, but I have an amazing wife (which I have already told you) and she is very supportive. I try to get sleep when I can and when there is a show to do give it my very best. At the end of the day that is all I have!
How does all the travel affect you as the father of a 6 month old?
I can't stand to miss things, but I do. It is the nature of the beast. When I am home I try and devote all of the time that I do have to Henry and Sara. Also, we FaceTime every night and that makes it easier because I know he sees me. There is nothing in the world like holding my boy and I love him dearly!! Every time I am away I miss him immensely.
Do you feel as though there’s been an unfair backlash towards you for replacing Tom Helmer at Root Sports?
I have worked with Tom before and he and I are friends. He is really talented and I knew that people were not going to be happy with Root Sports decision. However, I am well aware of the fact that I cannot control what others think. There is a quote that my dad had in his office that applies to my current situation "The only thing that you have control over is your effort level" and that is how I have tried to approach it
What's Jenny Cavnar like?
Very professional and she is really good at what she does. Growing up around baseball her whole life she is very intelligent and her interviews and questions add a great deal to our broadcasts. She is also one of the nicest people I have ever met in this industry. She is a star on the rise
What is it about the Rockies and Coors Field that keeps fans coming back despite the bad baseball being played?
This might sound strange, but it is the cleanest park in the big leagues. They treat it like disneyland and the experience of sitting in that park on a beautiful Colorado evening is hard to beat.
You have overcome a lot of discouragement and near-misses only to keep bouncing back. What advice do you have for young people who may have to choose new directions in life?
New directions are just new challenges! Attack them and you will succeed
If you had to choose just one sport to follow for the rest of your life, what would it be?
This is the easiest question to answer on the whole list COLLEGE FOOTBALL!!!!!!!