The 5280 Football Preview
Our rip-roarin’, QB-battlin’, coach-firin’, trash-talkin’ look at the upcoming season on Colorado’s most-storied gridirons
Every team has them—the unsung heroes who make a sports program function. —DS
United States Air Force Academy
Matt McGettigan, 45
Director of Football Speed, Strength, and Conditioning | Seasons: 23 (fourth at USAFA)
- 180 Players McGettigan trains each year
- 8 Hours players train per week
- 6 Number of meals players should eat each day
The Job McGettigan gets his guys in shape through conditioning, strength training, speed development, and nutrition and sleep education.
Working It Out McGettigan ensures the players can move and change direction swiftly by focusing on linear and lateral speed. The athletes spend two practices a week doing sprinting, hurdle jumps, and lower-body lifting. Their other two training sessions concentrate on lateral exercises like side-to-side shuffles and upper-body training. “It isn’t just about lifting. It’s about developing a complete athlete,” he says.
Highlights McGettigan has stuck with this job because he thrives on competition. “I like seeing guys come in as young men and work hard, dedicate themselves, and really watching them develop,” he says.
Hurdles: The biggest challenge McGettigan faces is ensuring that players reach their potential. It’s hard, he says, “When you feel you can’t get through to a guy, when you see a guy that has potential that didn’t fulfill it.”
University of Colorado at Boulder
Alan Cass, 69 Announcer
Casey Cass, 40 Spotter | Seasons: 10 together
- 3 Hours before a game the Casses arrive to prepare
- 400+ Football games Alan has announced
- 53,750 Folsom Field capacity
The Job For more than 25 years, Alan has announced football games inside Folsom Field, calling plays and making commercial announcements. “I try to be as even-handed as I can,” Alan says. “You don’t want to be known as a hometown type.” Alan’s right-hand man, his son Casey, focuses mainly on the defense. Before the snap, he informs Alan about who’s in the offensive backfield and whether there’s been a quarterback switch. But during the actual play, Casey watches each tackle, pointing out the defensive player’s number on a roster for Alan to read. “I become his eyes on the field,” Casey says.
Fun Facts The father-son duo also teamed up to call games for the Broncos, where Alan conceived the “IN-COM-PLETE” chant.
Highlights Both agree the bonding time is the best part of their job. Plus, as Alan says, “We generally have the best seat in the house.”
Colorado State University
Jeff Dotson, 43 Video Coordinator | Seasons: 14
- 2 Angles each play is shot from
- 12 Terabytes of footage on the server
- 1,579 Plays Dotson’s team captured during 2009 spring ball
The Job Dotson supervises the filming of every practice and home and away games. He uploads footage onto a laptop, intercutting end zone and sideline shots to create a comprehensive picture of how each play goes down.
Data Overload The program Dotson uses allows labels to be applied to each play (think “third down and seven”) so coaches can view specific footage. The best part? Coaches can view trends, like which plays a team runs the most.
On the Clock It used to take up to four hours after a match to have final-edit tape. Now, everything’s done within 30 minutes.
Highlights “It is pretty cool that I watch football for a living,” Dotson says of the job perks. But, it’s also nice to know that “I did my part to help us succeed.”
Hurdles The challenging part of his job is the repetitiveness—and the weather. Wind and rain can blow cameras over or cause major damage. “When you’re counting on Mother Nature to behave, that’s always interesting,” he says.
Chris Valenti, 36 Equipment Manager | Seasons: 14
- 13 Loads of laundry done per day in-season
- 720 Footballs the team receives at the beginning of each season
- 12,000 Pounds of equipment taken to every game
The Job Valenti and his team are responsible for everything the players wear or use, from jerseys and socks to pads and jock straps. They also arrange the locker room and deal with issues on the sidelines by, for example, repairing torn jerseys with shoelaces. On top of that, they do all the laundry.
Rule book Athletes must be dressed properly to avoid fines—which start at $5,000. Although, as Valenti says, many subscribe to a “you look good, you play good” credo. He makes sure the right shoelaces (they must match the shoes’ tongue color) and socks (half white/half color) are packed to comply with league rules.
Player habits Ed McCaffrey, a former wide receiver for the Broncos, “would cut everything out he could,” going so far as to cut off decorative layers of his uniform like striping in pants, says Valenti. “He thought it made him faster.”