Aug 312006
 
Authors: MATT PLANALP The Rocky Mountain Collegian

Quality football programs are not born – they are built. Just ask Weber State Head Coach Ron McBride, who also coached at the University of Utah. McBride has spent the past 40 years building and rebuilding football programs.

“Coaching is a way of life, it’s what you do,” he said. “I wouldn’t know anything else to do.”

McBride is entering his second season at the helm for the Wildcats, and said he is hoping the team will “take a step forward” from last year. A year ago, the Wildcats finished 6-5 and placed fifth in the Big Sky Conference.

McBride admits that progress still needs to be made if the Wildcats expect to compete with Division IA teams like CSU.

“We know that CSU will be a good measuring stick for us,” McBride said. “Your goal is to obviously win the game, but that is a stretch.”

CSU can’t afford to look past Weber State in the season opener, however, with the Rocky Mountain Showdown just nine days away.

Division IAA teams have made a habit of upsetting Division IA teams lately. Last year, UC Davis upset Pac-Ten opponent Stanford. This year, Big Sky Conference teams Montana and Montana State go on the road looking for wins against perennial powers Colorado and Iowa respectively.

McBride expects his Wildcats will pay no more attention to the Rams than any other opponent on the 2006 schedule.

“You can’t get all paranoid just because you’re playing a DI team,” McBride said. “You just want to prepare for them, do your homework and go out and do the best job you can.”

McBride has stressed the importance of keeping an even keel in the week leading up to a big game.

“You don’t want to go crazy (because you are playing a certain team),” he said.

“The excitement then leaks over to your players, who then get emotional.”

McBride, a long-time Utah resident, returned home after a stint with the University of Kentucky as a linebackers coach. He spent 13 seasons as head coach of the University of Utah, posting an 88-63 record. Under McBride, the Utes put up impressive bowl wins over Southern California, Arizona and Fresno State.

Coaching has been a lifestyle for McBride, who started his career in 1965 as the defensive coordinator at San Jose State. McBride made his fourth return to the “Beehive State” to take over the 1-10 Wildcats because he “wanted another opportunity to rebuild another program.”

His teams have had limited success against Head Coach Sonny Lubick and the Rams. Under McBride, Utah dropped its last five games against CSU (a streak spanning from 1995-2002).

He hopes to end the streak on Saturday: “We just need to have a game plan, and play the game.”

Sports writer Matt Planalp can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

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