In a city full of hipsters, fitness, influencers and granola, Colorado’s new offensive line coach Mitch Rodrigue brings his old school cajun flair.
The 55-year old has lived in the south for his entire life. He’s enjoying adjusting to living in Boulder, but says Boulder might not be ready for him.
“There's a couple of things that really strike me right off the bat and number one is you can go walk, I walk every day, and you don't sweat. I really like that. It is hot, steaming hot, but you don't sweat for some reason. I've gotten used to the elevation and I don't breathe as hard as I did two months ago. So that's good,” Rodrigue said. “I don't know if it's a sign of the times that we're living in right now, or if it's just because people are scared of this big coonass, coming up the street but it seems like when I do walk, they walk on the other side of the street, and they cover their face up. I don't know if it's if it's because of this COVID stuff or they just scared of me.”
Rodrigue began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Southern Mississippi. He spent three seasons at South Alabama and seven at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. Between his jobs at UL and Colorado, Rodrigue coached high school football in Louisiana.
“I was basically on vacation for two years," Rodrigue said. "I bought a boat, I bought an RV. I learned how to fish. I never had a boat before. I learned how to back it up and pull it pull it up and get it out of water put it into water and those things were fine but I got really bored, after about three months. I prayed for this opportunity to get back into college football.”
Rodrigue said he had offers to coach at power five schools during his career, but felt they weren’t the right fit, until he met Coach Dorrell, who emphasizes teaching.
“I think if you're a good coach you’re a good coach at all levels because good coaches are good teachers," Rodrigue said. "And I think I'm a really good teacher. I relate to kids well.”
There is proof that he's a good teacher, as well. He's never had a job in the power five conferences but he has had no problem producing NFL offensive lineman.
"I have been very successful, I think, over the last 30 years picking offensive linemen," Rodrigue said. "I have never had an opportunity to be at a power five school but I have had at least four guys play in Super Bowls already. So I must be doing something correct.”
He knows how to pick 'em and he says he emphasizes athleticism when identifying offensive linemen.
“If you sign a fat guy that looks like me, then you are going to get a fat guy," Rodrigue said. "He is going to be slow and he is not going to be able to move.”
So far, 'Coach Rod' has tried to relate to his players by giving them a glimpse into his world. On Wednesday, Rodrigue tweeted out pictures of his offensive lineman eating what looked to be a Louisiana feast in his backyard. And he insists, when everything opens up, he hopes to see the best of Colorado, too.
“We've made a commitment to try to experience a lot of the different things that are here that we don't have an opportunity to do those things in the south," Rodrigue said. "I would like to hike. I would like to go see the mountains and hike. I'd like to go to the State Park and see what that's all about.”