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March 15, 2013

Q&A: Walters garners respect

BOULDER, Colo. - Troy Walters was named the top wide receiver in college football during his senior year at Stanford in 1999 and he accounted for nearly 5,000 all-purpose yards during his eight-year career in the NFL. So when Walters talks, his players listen.

Walters began his coaching career at Indiana State in 2009. He served as wide receivers coach at Texas A&M for two years and North Carolina State last season.

BuffStampede.com caught up with Walters on Thursday to find out how he is adjusting to life in Colorado:

You immediately had to hit the road and recruit but following signing day, did you get a chance to get acclimated with Boulder?

Coach Troy Walters: "Well, after signing day, my wife and I went back to Raleigh and that is the weekend we actually moved. So we went back, packed all our stuff and came back and then things kind of settled down. We were really able to focus on this upcoming team and evaluating and meeting with our players and preparing for spring ball."

What sold you on joining the staff here at CU?

"Coach Mac. I actually interviewed at South Florida the day before I interviewed out here. When I came out on my visit and talked to Coach Mac, I was impressed with his vision, his plan and how he is going to help the kids off the field become great men. Of course I also liked his plan for the football program and was impressed with what he did at San Jose State, building them into a top 25 team. And then the history of CU. When I was growing up, it was CU, Nebraska and Oklahoma. So to be part of a great storied football program and helping it get back to the top was exciting."

As soon as you were hired here, did everyone immediately start telling you about Paul Richardson?

"Yeah, they were. I think it was the first day I was here, he came into my office. I was able to sit down and talk to him and get to know him. He was hungry. I think the year off really got his attention. He is focused. So I am excited to be able to work with him."

What have been your early impressions of Richardson out here this spring?

"He has done a great job. If I didn't know he was injured coming in, I wouldn't suspect anything is wrong. I told him the main thing I wanted him to do was be a leader and set the pace and be at the front of the lines and finish and do the little things so the younger guys can see what it takes to be great because I truly believe he is going to be one of the best receivers in the country this year."

Obviously Richardson's goal is to play in the NFL and you played in the NFL. Throughout your coaching career, how much has your history as a player helped you get the attention of the players?

"I think it helps. Anytime you have done it, the old saying, 'practice what you preach.' And so whatever I ask of my players, I've done and I know it can be successful. I think it lends credibility. They know I have been around the best so I just try to let them know that if you do it this way, you can be successful. It doesn't matter your size, your speed, if you do things the right way and take care of the little things then you can be successful."

Has Jeffrey Thomas been able to participate at all so far this spring?

"He has a slight hamstring [injury] so he hasn't been able to do anything but I recruited him when I was at Texas A&M. He came to a camp of ours and we were close to offering but we just didn't so I am very familiar with what he can do and excited to get him back and get him healthy and once we do that, I feel like we are going to have eight or nine guys we can count on."

Did you recruit Gerald Thomas at all when you were at Texas A&M?

"We did not, I didn't know about Gerald but when I got here they told me he was one of the guys that played last year as a true freshman and did a good job. He has had a heck of a spring, these last four practices, so I am excited about what he can do."

Have any other receivers caught your eye early on this spring?

"Yeah, all of them have been playing well. Nelson Spruce has caught the ball well. He does everything you ask him, no missed assignments. Tyler McCulloch has been doing well; big body, knows what he is doing, runs good routes. Keenan Canty is a good slot player. And I guess the surprise is D.D. Goodson, who we moved from running back. He has had maybe one of the best spring practices of everybody. He is catching the ball well. He is fast, he is quick and it is a position that is new to him. Once he understands what he is really doing, he is going to be a weapon."

With the offense being new to your players, do you want them to know one wide receiver position and know it well? Or do you want them to know all the positions?

"I want them to know the whole system, know the concepts. We are very concept driven so there are a lot of times we will ask the receivers stay on each particular side. We won't flop sides, so they need to know X and Z. The more they know the better. We are really trying to teach them the whole system so we have the ability to keep them on one side and go play fast."

You also have recruiting coordinator on your job title... did you want that role coming in or did Coach MacIntyre just see you as the best fit for that role?

"Coach Mac asked me to do it and when he first asked me, I thought it was a pretty big responsibility. But it is a team effort. We have some great coaches, great recruiters. They are familiar with California. Myself and Coach [Jim] Jeffcoat and Coach [Andy] La Russa and Coach [Toby] Neinas are familiar with Texas. And then we're definitely going to blanket Colorado and make sure we keep the best players in-state. I have the title of coordinator but it is a team effort and then we have some guys off the field that help with recruiting."



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