Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
Tony Ding / FR143848 AP
During its dismantling of Central Florida on Saturday, Michigan wrecked the Knights on special teams.
Within the first four minutes of the game, Michigan’s Tyree Kinnel tipped two UCF punts. By the end of the first half, the Wolverines’ Chris Wormley had also blocked two UCF field goal attempts.
Although Colorado had trouble with kick protection a year ago, Buffaloes head coach Mike MacIntyre said he’s not overly concerned as he takes his team to Michigan this week.
“I feel very confident in our protection,” MacIntyre said. “(Michigan) did a good job of attacking. I feel good about our protection and we’ll see when we get out there.”
CU had a total of six kicks blocked a year ago, prompting MacIntyre to make a staff change. He dismissed special teams coordinator Toby Neinas after last season, and the Buffs’ special teams are now coached by committee.
Saturday’s game at Michigan is sure to have the biggest crowd ever for a CU game, with around 110,000 fans expected.
CU had 39,505 at its home opener on Saturday, so the game at Michigan will be quite a change.
“We’ve played in a lot of places that are big and nice stadiums,” MacIntyre said. “Michigan is a phenomenal place to play and our kids will be ready to play, excited about playing there.”
MacIntyre said the CU offense uses a lot of silent counts in every game, so the noise shouldn’t disrupt things too much.
“It gets loud any place you go to a lot of times, so our offense knows how to handle all of that,” he said.
To date, the largest crowd the Buffs played in front of is the 106,474 fans that attended the CU at Michigan game on Sept. 13, 1997. The Wolverines averaged 110,168 fans in seven home games last year and 109,758 through two home games this season.
Throughout the years, MacIntyre and Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh have crossed paths a few times.
From 2010-12, the two both coached in the San Francisco bay area and got to know each other a bit. MacIntyre was the head coach at San Jose State during that time, while Harbaugh coached at Stanford in 2010 and for the NFL’s 49ers from 2011-14.
MacIntyre also said, “My brother played for his dad, Jack Harbaugh, for Western Kentucky for four years, so I know the family pretty well.”
This will be the first time the two will compete against each other, however.
While Harbaugh and MacIntyre have known each other for years, Harbaugh is especially familiar with former CU head coach Bill McCartney.
Prior to becoming CU’s head coach in 1982, McCartney worked as an assistant coach at Michigan from 1974-81. Jack Harbaugh was a Michigan assistant from 1973-79. Jim was a youth at the time and knew McCartney and his wife, Lyndi, well.
“Great family,” Jim said during his press conference in Ann Arbor on Monday. “I love the McCartneys and they had the best cereal of anybody in the neighborhood. We had the Cheerios, no flavor. We had Wheaties. But, you could go to the McCartneys and they had one of those little carousels under the cabinet with Captain Crunch and Lucky Charms and Fruit Loops and a wide assortment, 10 or 12 different kinds of really good cereal.
“Lyndi was great. If you were hungry you could just come in and get yourself a bowl of cereal.”
Harbaugh also shared a story of kind words McCartney gave to him when he made his official visit as a recruit in the early 1980s. Harbaugh quarterbacked the Wolverines from 1983-86.
Back to practice
Center Alex Kelley and outside linebacker Derek McCartney both missed Saturday’s game against Idaho State because of ankle injuries, but MacIntyre said both returned to practice Monday.
“Right now they look good out there,” he said.
Right tackle Sam Kronshage left Saturday’s game with a minor injury, but there is hope he’ll play this week.
“Sam was not in practice today, but was running around and jogging and hopefully he’ll be back tomorrow,” MacIntyre said.
Brian Howell: firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.