Game full of emotions
Mavs' game vs. Chadron will be tough for O'Boyle, Auer
Bill O’Boyle would almost prefer to be out fishing this weekend.
Instead, the Colorado Mesa University offensive coordinator will coach against the Chadron State College football team he led for the past seven seasons.
“It’s different,” O’Boyle said Tuesday before practice. “Ever since we came here, that’s all everybody’s been talking about. In a way, you’ve got to put it in perspective. It’s a big game. It’s a huge game for us. It’s the game of the week. It’s a game we’ve got to play.”
For O’Boyle, he’ll see several Chadron players for the first time since they walked to his house after the Eagles’ season-finale victory over Colorado Mesa and thanked him last fall while he was on leave and later released from his contract pending a fundraising investigation.
O’Boyle opened a private bank account for scholarship money outside the purview of the college and Chadron State Foundation, according to a Nebraska State College System report. The NCAA hasn’t announced sanctions, but O’Boyle contends he was doing what he was told to do.
“Obviously, there’s a lot of emotions when you spend that much time in one place,” O’Boyle said. “You were with those kids for five years. Some of our players here said it today, ‘Coach, you sound like you really like these guys.’ “
O’Boyle said he’ll try to avoid making eye contact with the Chadron players before the game.
“I’ll try not to look,” O’Boyle said. “You won’t see me looking around too much. I’ll try to stay focused on what we need to do. (The Eagles) are playing extremely well right now.”
If O’Boyle lets his eyes wander, he’ll see a lot of familiar faces. Not only in uniform, but on the coaching staff.
Several members of the Chadron State staff played for or coached for O’Boyle and CMU defensive coordinator Todd Auer, including head coach Jay Long, offensive coordinator Chris Stein and defensive coordinator Jeff Larson. Long was the head coach at Black Hills State (S.D.) University last season.
Larson runs the same defense Auer ran at Chadron the past 17 years.
“Obviously, they are special to us,” Auer said. “When you know those kids really well, you know a lot about them. It’s a tough deal, but bottom line we’re playing a game. They’re trying to win, and we’re trying to win.
“They’re going to be jacked, intense and fired up. They want to play well in front of us. A lot of the way they are is because of us. It’s a tough situation.”
CMU linebackers coach Ben Martin and defensive line coach Jeff Wilkerson were also on O’Boyle’s staff at Chadron State.
CMU head coach Russ Martin played for and graduated from Chadron State.
“Their kids will be highly motivated,” Martin said. “Both because they have great tradition and high expectations, but with coach O’Boyle and coach Auer ... that’s extra motivation for them. They want to show they are at the top of the heap. It’s going to be a highly motivated game on both sides.
“There are a ton of ties to Chadron with our staff. Once we start the game, you coach your kids against the other team and the system. You can’t get so caught up in it that you lose track of what you are doing. Our guys won’t.”
O’Boyle and Auer haven’t indicated whether they’re a little more motivated to win, but the Mavericks are anticipating it.
“It hasn’t come yet,” CMU senior offensive lineman Matt Mankoff said. “I bet by game day, there will be a little more juices flowing than normal.”