Fort Collins – If Jay Norwell doesn’t back down immediately, hang on tight.
“I have 478 lessons,” the new CSU Rams football coach admitted with a laugh.
One of them belonged to an old friend. Dude you must have heard. Tony Alford.
“He played here and his family here,” Norwell, the pick of Parker, said of People’s Choice Alford. “But he messaged me (Tuesday) and congratulated me.
“He is a class boy. He is a class boy. And I know that being a former (Ram) player, he has great feelings for here. He is important.”
And if you can’t get past this cat after Tuesday’s show, check your pulse.
“I’m not afraid to say, ‘I want to play on New Year’s Day,'” Norwell told the media, CSU brass, and assembled fans during his introductory news conference at the Iris and Michael Smith Alumni Center.
“We want to be in the big bowl game. Why wake up every morning? I don’t want to get up and be average. If I want to do that, I’ll do something else.”
The best part? He dropped the Cincinnati Bearcats name twice on Tuesday, and the first one went unpunished. ‘The cats represent the top of everything CSU loyalists want for Christmas, but Santa never brings up: a middleweight who can only trade with blue blood instead of cashing his check. regional fear. National honour.
And, of course, the Big 12 membership. A seat at the table of elders. That sort of thing that only comes with a football program that constantly punches over its weight.
“No. 1, it all starts with the players,” Norwell said when asked about the Bearcats, the first non-Power 5 event to ever crash the Final Four of the college football playoffs.
“Cincinnati isn’t winning by accident. They’re winning because they have (good) players… players win games. Bill Belichick’s right. Coaches just screw it up.”
In other words, if you’re ready to walk through a brick wall for Norwell, you need to be prepared to do it in 4.6. or fast.
“I’m an offensive coach,” he said. “I believe you have to have an attacking mindset to honor the defense. And the only thing they really respect is if you try to walk by them.”
He admitted to loving big receivers, “tall guys who can run,” and “strong-armed quarterbacks.” That last line sparked a slow clap that snowballed into a thunderous applause.
The last man sucked the joy out of the passing game. The last man sucked the happiness … well, everything, Really. Shame is a hard sell when you’re trying to transfer season tickets.
Ram fans want to win, sure. But as a starting destination, they’ll settle for a ratio of a little more effort and entertainment and a little less general embarrassment. Oh, is that so. and a full-time special teams coach. please.
So far, so good. Norwell is one of those people who are living proof that 58 is the new 40. He gave CSU fans a taste of The Full J on Tuesday. He eschewed the holy trinity of respect, accountability and hustle. He thanked his coaching heroes, from Hayden Fry to (sorry) Al Davis.
He cried mentioning his wife, Kim, a colon cancer survivor who was battling cystic fibrosis.
“Kim is my best friend. She is my soul mate. She is the most important person in my life. And (we) are so proud to make your house our home,” Norwell said.
“I’m sorry. That’s what I get when I talk about the things that are important in my life. Some days were emotional.”
He is a passionate boy. Just don’t let that part fool you. The spine is straight steel.
So it’s the end game. In one weekend, Norwell went from lowest-paid coach at a public school in the Mountain West ($619K) to top of the pile ($1.6 million), thanks to a five-year deal worth $9 million in base compensation.
“It’s not a (lateral) move in that regard,” claimed the new CSU coach. “For me, it’s a huge upgrade of support.”
Re: 478 texts.
Now comes the hard part, because the rams need more of them tall people who can run in each situation group. They need their own version of Carson Strong behind center.
Before you can close the gap between your roster and Cincinnati, you’ll need to find players who can bridge the gap between you and Boise State.
Luckily, Norwell is piped everywhere, a Rolodex on two legs. He signed 3-star offensive lineman Trevin Heal out of Grandview as part of the PAX Class of 2021.
In Nevada, Norwell made nine offers to Colorado preps in last winter’s class, according to the 247Sports.com database. He had three proposals for the class of ’22. Context: CU buffs reportedly made 12 in-state offers in 2021 and 10 for ’22.
“There are good football players out here, and we want to do a good job of evaluating those players,” Norwell explained. “We want to do a great job of (liaising) with high school coaches. And we want this space to be a resource for them. I think it’s so important that your working with high school coaches There are relationships and they are advocates of you and your program.
“I think it’s so important that your program reflects the great qualities of the state, the state, the people of the state.”
State alumnus as well. Alford, the respected Ohio State assistant coach and ex-Ram running back, perennial candidate, is an old friend of Norwell. The pair worked together at Dan McCarney’s Iowa State Staff in the late ’90s.
“I don’t know — it’s what it is,” Norwell said of any awkward conversation between the two. “It’s a coincidence.
“He and (wife) Trina, he went to school here, and Trina from here. And just have so many friends here and love the community and the people, so many supporters of CSU.
“And that’s what[Alford]told me: what a great place it is, what great people there are, and how supportive of the program they are.”
Heck, there were almost as many fans around the temporary stage at the Alumni Center as there were for the second half of the Nevada 52, Steve Adazzio 10 two Saturdays ago. If Norwell Delivers half Ram is in great shape from what he promised on Tuesday. Even better hands.