I'm going through them again and will be posting transcripted highlights here. Even though this *is* Lehigh Football Nation, I figure that Lehigh fans would be quite happy to read about the goings-on with other teams in our league. The first transcript will be Dick Biddle, Colgate's head coach from the past eleven years. I thought this peek into his views on his team, his coaching style and Colgate were a nice peek into a program that maybe doesn't get the proper respect from the traditional media - but should.
Tonight I'll be talking about Patriot League Media Day more in-depth on I-AA waves, so be sure to tune in at 9PM EDT tonight. (No word if I'm going to talk about this nearly 10-year old picture of coach Biddle shown above.) And for the next few weeks, stop by for more Lehigh news, and more exclusive Patriot League content!
Here's my interview:
CB: Tell us a little bit about Colgate University.
DB: Colgate is a very good academic school located in central New York in the town of Hamilton.. it's a very pretty school, very prestigious academically, one of the top twenty liberal arts schools in the country. It's a school of about 2800 students, probably one of the smallest schools in the country to play I-AA football. We've also been very successful in this division. It's the type of school that gives you a great education at the same time as a great football experience.
CB: This will be your eleventh season as Colgate head coach. What should a student-athlete get out of a four-year experience as a Colgate football player?
DB: First, they get a great education that will put them in good stead for whatever they want to do in life. Graduates of Colgate go on to work in business school, medical school, the best grad schools in the country, and some of the best careers. Our athlete graduation rate is one of the best in the country, close to 90%. We're always in the top 10% APR nationally. I think what distinguishes Colgate is you get that type of education, but you're also going to play at a very competitive, very traditional, and very successful football program. We try to stretch students both athletically and academically. Some schools can give you the academics; some schools can slack off on the academics and give you the football experience; I think that Colgate gives you the best of both worlds. You can take football to the highest level of our division, but you also get the education. We've played for a national championship, which is the equivalent of our "Super Bowl" - we've taken it as far as you can go.
CB: What is your coaching style?
DB: I've got very good assistants, a defensive coordinator that's been with me a long time. I let the coaches coach. I think I'm hands-on in a lot of areas and hands-off in others. My job is to get the personnel in the right place, deal with those types of problems, and I also do some assistant coaching of defense a little bit. Basically, my job and what I try to do is to be as best prepared as possible to games. I don't know if I'm a players' coach, but I want to win. There are certain things that I'm demanding about, and other things I'm less demading on, but I want to win very badly. The difference is I think I do understand some of the things that kids will experience at Colgate. You need good players to win - don't let anyone else tell you otherwise. I think that's one thing I've realized.
CB: What games do you circle on the calendar?
DB: I think they're all key games, but I think our first opening game versus UMass is a key game. They're a very good team, and they're in a great football league (the A-10). This is the fourth year in a row that we've played them and we've got a good rivalry going. Last year we were fortunate to upset them at our place, and I'm sure they're pointing to us. I try to focus on our "next game" as being our most important game since every game counts whether it's a league game or a game which you may need to win (if you don't win your league) to get into the playoffs. I try to break the season into our opening game is a big game for us, a week off, and then we get into our regular season of 10 straight games.
CB: What do you think are the strengths of your offense and defense this year?
DB: I think the strength of our offense will be a couple of players in our skill areas... and I think we're in pretty good upfront, so I think we'll be in good shape offensively. Defensively, we're very good in the secondary, but our front seven needs to be rebuilt. We've been pretty good on defense but we've lost a lot to graduation, so we're going to have to start some young guys -- that's a big concern of mine. I think we'll be OK offensively, but we'll have to get our defense up to speed. I think maybe we'll be a team that may struggle early in the year, but will get better as the year goes on.