On the field, CSU safety Mike Pagnotta is one of the leaders on an experienced defense. Hailing from Cave Junction, Ore., Pagnotta came to CSU without an offer, earning a walk-on spot his freshman year in 2004 and eventually a starting role in his redshirt sophomore year.
Recently Collegian reporter Nick Hubel caught up with the junior social studies education major to see what life was like both on and off the field.
Q: First and foremost, are you guys ready for Cal and (Heisman candidate) DeSean Jackson?
A: I think so, we try to do as well as we can. You can’t really simulate a speed like they have on their entire offense, but the scout team that we are going against is giving us the best look that they can. I think we will be ready as long as we play sound and disciplined. We can’t give up the big plays, with the type of team speed that they have they can get behind you in a second and before you know it they’re in the end zone.
Q: You had the interception (in the Rocky Mountain Showdown) on Saturday, is that a preview of things to come?
A: I hope so, I really hope so. I think that they are going to come if our front-four keeps getting pressure on them and if the defensive secondary plays sound defense. I think the picks will come, and the turnovers in general will come for us.
Q: So what do you like to do when you are away from the football field?
A: I try and get my reading done for my classes, but that doesn’t usually go too well. I watch TV, me and my roommates play Jeopardy actually, we record it and play Jeopardy.
Q: Who’s the Jeopardy champion of the house?
A: Well, on the board it’s me, (defensive end) Jesse Nading and (defensive back) Zac Bryson. I think I have 54 wins and Jesse has 55 so I think he is one up on me right now. It goes back and forth pretty consistently between me and him.
Q: You are majoring in social studies education, do you want to teach after school?
Q: Back home in Oregon?
A: I don’t know yet, I haven’t really decided where I want to go. I wouldn’t mind being back in Oregon, I kind of would like to maybe go to California for a while, maybe somewhere on the east coast. I wouldn’t even mind going to Texas for a little bit, just to try it out. I would kind of like to try some coaching for a little bit too, get on with a good team.
Q: Coming from Oregon, did you have offers on the table from schools around the Northwest?
A: No, I didn’t really have any offers. I thought about going to Oregon State and trying to walk on there but I didn’t really want to go in state. So I decided to come out to Colorado and if I didn’t like it I could always go back home and go to Oregon State – that was my thought process. But if I never tried it then I would never know what would happen, and it turned out to be one of the best decisions that I have ever made. It’s really working out well for me.