DENVER — Ed McCaffrey is about to get his first opportunity.
The former Broncos wide receiver, who is now the head football coach of the Northern Colorado Bears, is about to coach his first season with the program, after the 2020 campaign was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m really proud of the young men in our program, for sticking with it and working hard through a lot of adversity,” McCaffrey told 9NEWS. “But it was frustrating not being able to practice, having to start up and stop multiple times, and to not play games was very frustrating, but again, that’s in the past now … hopefully.”
The Bears’ head man enters a challenging situation, not just because of the obstacles he faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, but with the state of the program in general. Northern Colorado hasn’t won more than three games in a season since 2016. McCaffrey knows it will be tough, but he isn’t running away from it.
“Everything is earned not given so nobody is going to give us a victory. We’re going to have to go out and take it. The only way you can do that is by practicing the right way, preparing the right way," McCaffrey said. "It’s really a process. So I think if we play to win every day, it will give us a chance to win and we won’t have to worry about the scoreboard.”
UNC will face the king of Colorado college football, the CU Buffs, in Boulder on Friday night. In 12 total meetings, the Bears have won just two of them against their FBS foe.
“Yeah we have to play near perfect football. Whenever an FBS team schedules an FCS team…first of all I’m so thankful that they put us on their schedule because their donation supports all the sports programs at our school. What a great opportunity," McCaffrey said.
"I’m thankful for that, and I’m thankful for them for giving our players the chance to play on a big stage under the lights on television at Folsom Field with a lot of fans. What a great experience and I know our players are really looking forward to it and really looking forward to showing what they can do.”
UNC is just 1-6 in Boulder all-time, with the last matchup coming in 2017 (a 41-21 loss). Kickoff on Friday is set for 7 p.m. as the 2021 college football season gets rolling.
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