Michalczik 'fired up' to join Wildcats football staff
Jim Michalczik knows the Pac-12.
He played for head coach Dennis Erickson at Washington State in 1987-88, came back to coach for Erickson at Oregon State for three years in 1999-2001 and spent nine of the last 11 years as the offensive line coach and offensive coordinator on Jeff Tedford’s coaching staff at California.
Now, with Robert Anae’s departure to BYU, Michalczik will stay in the conference as the offensive line coach on Rich Rodriguez’s Arizona staff.
Michalczik met with the media on Thursday morning, and here’s what he had to say.
DW: How does it feel to be in Tucson and Arizona’s offensive line coach?
Michalczik: I’m fired up. I’m really fired up. I’m excited, great staff, great place. Fired up to get my family here and just looking forward to it.
What do you make of [running back] Ka’Deem Carey and putting an offensive line together that’s going to block for him?
Any time you’ve got a guy like that it makes you a little better line coach. I haven’t had a chance to meet him yet, but I’m looking forward to meeting him.
Describe your coaching style.
That’s a tough one. I’ve been fortunate that I’ve had some really good football players that I’ve coached. I think I’m, in a lot of ways, a teacher, and a lot of ways a mentor and a lot of ways a personal trainer. … I like to think they made themselves great players, but I like to think I showed them the way.
What was your relationship with Rich Rodriguez before getting hired?
We visited them at West Virginia way back in 2006. Went back there and spent 3-4 days and got to know him and a bunch of the guys on the staff. Then he came up to Cal in his year off [after being fired at Michigan] and got to spend a little bit of time and I’ve just gotten to know him a little bit. He was good friends with my former boss, Jeff Tedford.
How much did you know about Tucson before beind hired?
A lot from being in the Pac-10, Pac-12 for a lot of years. My father lives in the Phoenix area so I’ve known a lot about it.
I’ve known people that have coached here before. Never heard a bad thing about Tucson. Anyone that’s ever been here has loved it.
Have you had a chance to meet any of the offensive lineman currently on the roster yet?
I’ve met a couple of them, seem like good guys. I’m still kind of in that meeting stage. I had a chance to kind of watch them run around a little bit this morning and work out and lift and do that stuff, but it’s going to be a learning process. They’re going to want to get to know me. Probably wondering who the heck I am a little bit, probably calling friends that they know that know me.
In the same respect, we’re all starting new and that’s kind of a fun thing.
What attracted you to Arizona?
Rich Rodriguez. The person. The football coach. The success he’s had everywhere he’s been. The way he does things. I’m a fan. I’m a fan of his. I’m looking forward to being part of his staff.
Do you have any experience with Rodriguez’s scheme?
Never gone fully into it. Kind of dabbled with it, like I said, in 2006, so I’m kind of looking forward to expanding and getting into some of it.
Did you get the chance beforehand to look at personnel and who’s back, or do you do that after you’re hired?
A little bit of both. We didn’t play [Arizona] last year but we crossed over. I watched a lot of Arizona film; we’re getting ready for teams and we’d watch. You can see the way guys play and compete and it’s fun to see the energy and competitiveness this group played with last year.
What have you enjoyed about coaching in the Pac-12?
I’ve been fortunate, been with some good coaches and good people.
I’m from out West, I have family here. I’ve been fortunate to stay out West. It’s nice because over time you get to know the conference pretty well, the defenses. And not just the players, but the coaches.
As an outsider at another Pac-12 school, what were your thoughts about what Arizona’s building, from the outside looking in?
I think coach Rodriguez is doing a great job of getting the players to buy into something, to believe in something. You can see it on film, you can see guys that play hard, play together.
They believe in what they’re doing and that jumped out at you. Obviously you’re looking at scheme all the time, but you know when there’s some passion involved with the program.