Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
From the time he was hired as co-offensive coordinator on Jan. 1, 2016, Darrin Chiaverini has had visions of Colorado operating at a rapid pace and scoring points in bunches.
Now that he’s been given the responsibility of calling the plays, he’ll do his best to get the Buffs on the fast track.
“I’m excited for the opportunity to call the offense,” he said. “I’m excited for that because my philosophy is obviously wanting to attack defenses and play with more tempo. I didn’t think at times this year we did that as much.”
On Tuesday, CU announced a change in its offensive leadership, with co-offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren, who has called the plays the past five years, moving on to take a similar position at Oregon State.
Chiaverini will continue as co-coordinator and receivers coach while taking over the play calling, while offensive line coach Klayton Adams has been promoted to a co-coordinator role.
It’s a change that, while bittersweet for Adams and Chiaverini, could be a good thing for the Buffs (5-7, 2-7 Pac-12), who are in serious need of a spark on offense.
“Brian is one of my really, really close friends and we’ve worked together for a long time, but sometimes the best thing for each person or the program is to just have some change,” said Adams, who spent the past six seasons, including five at CU, working with Lindgren.
The change didn’t come as a shock to Adams after the Buffs failed to live up to their preseason expectations, finishing 11th in the conference in scoring.
“I think that we all knew that there was some sort of change that we needed to go through or experience to try to fix things as good as we can,” he said. “We need to shake things up and everybody needs to get better at their job. Sometimes that ends up being the best thing for you.”
Adams and Chiaverini are both emotional about seeing a good friend and colleague move on, but both expressed an eagerness to work together to get the Buffs going offensively.
“I’m excited to work with Klayton,” Chiaverini said. “Klayton is a really good coach and he’s a smart guy. It’s going to be a lot of work, but it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
While both will bring unique ideas to the table, they are on the same page with the general philosophy of speeding up the offense. It’s something the Buffs did early in the 2016 season, but have been unable to do with consistency over the past year and a half.
“I think you’ll see the philosophy change a little bit,” Chiaverini said. “This is an opportunity for me to kind of put my identity and my personality into the offense. You’ll see the changes that are made.
“We’ll definitely play with more up tempo and definitely be more aggressive in how we attack defenses.”
According to Adams and Chiaverini, there are no plans to completely revamp the offensive scheme, but there will be tweaks that help the players succeed. That could include simplifying the game plan each week to be more efficient.
“I think that probably what we’re looking to do more than anything is make the package that we carry into each game even a little bit smaller,” Adams said, “and try to find out, with the tools that we have, and what our strengths and our weaknesses are, how do we put our players in position to be absolutely successful as much as we can? Some of that is just whittling down the scheme a little bit.”
While both want to increase the tempo of the offense, running the ball will be essential.
“It’s something we have to be good at,” Adams said. “It makes you better on defense, it makes you better on special teams; it makes you tougher if you have that philosophy.”
Adams and Chiaverini will have plenty of weapons to work with in 2018, including junior quarterback Steven Montez, who recently completed his first full season as the starter.
“I feel like we have some really good pieces in place,” Chiaverini said.
One piece that could change is Chiaverini’s game-day view. At CU, he has always operated from the sidelines, but now that he’s calling plays, there could be a move to the coaches’ booth.
“You can see the field better from up top,” he said. “I think I could do it from the sideline, but I’d like to do it from up top.”
That and many other details will be ironed out over the next nine months. The Adams/Chiaverini offense doesn’t debut until Sept. 1, giving them plenty of time to work out their plan of how to improve the Buffs.
One thing that is clear, however, is that improvement has to be made.
“At the end of the day, it’s about scoring points,” Chiaverini said. “We have to do better job next year of scoring points.”