Colorado State offensive coordinator Dave Baldwin gets it. He knows he doesn’t have a shot to be the head coach of the Rams. He probably knows he won’t be the offensive coordinator once CSU hires a new football coach that will hire his own guys as part of his coaching staff.
As interim head coach of CSU football, Baldwin is a caretaker of the football program after Jim McElwain resigned as CSU football head coach to be the head coach of the Florida Gators. He is only coaching the Rams because someone had to coach the team in the Las Vegas Bowl this afternoon.
Don’t tell him the Las Vegas Bowl is meaningless. He wants to win for himself and his players. He is coaching for a job in his next stop whether it’s being an offensive coordinator or head coach of a college football program. A win against the Utah Utes in the Las Vegas Bowl this afternoon would only help his case for a job next year.
Even as an interim coach, being a head coach means something. It’s about being a leader of men. It’s about organizing game plans. It’s about running plays and making decisions in a game. It’s about having an impact in a game and putting guys in a position to succeed. It’s a role a coach would not say no when being offered the interim coach job. He is making an impression when he is on the job.
This is the task Baldwin has face since preparing the Rams for their bowl game against the Utes since he was hired as interim coach. He has put in the game plan for weeks. He has conducted several practices, too.
The CSU offensive coordinator is ready to go today. He has been anticipating for this moment since he was assigned the interim coach role.
For Baldwin, this experience has been fun for him no matter what happens. Head coaches like the practice and game planning more than the game itself. It means they put in the work in preparing his team for a battle.
Baldwin would love to win because it reflects how much work he has put in with his staff and his players these last few weeks. He is certainly not going to Las Vegas to have a great time.
He can count on his players to play well. His players want to win it since it would validate the great season the Rams had. Plus, the players would love to see him be their permanent head coach, so they will make a case for him to be their head coach by playing to win.
Baldwin has had fun with his role as an interim coach. He knows this is an opportunity. It could be easy for him to think about his future at the university, but that hasn’t crossed his mind.
His goal is to have his seniors go out on top with a win in the Las Vegas Bowl. That’s been his priority. It speaks of his professionalism to not let his future be an issue. He knows it’s about his players than him.
It’s easy to root for him to do well this afternoon just for the way he has handled his situation.
He’s not naïve to think a win against Utah will get him the permanent position. Odds are Colorado State will likely look elsewhere for a head coaching job.
The university is thinking about an up-and-coming assistant like Oregon offensive coordinator Scott Frost or Oregon assistant coach Matt Lubick. The administration wants Colorado State to be like Oregon, which is running an up-tempo offense. They want a big name that would appeal to the Big 12 conference to pick them in their conference.
Baldwin knew the deal when he was assigned to be the interim coach. He still wanted to coach. He feels he is capable of being a head coach for a program whether it’s Colorado State or not. That’s why he is using the Las Vegas Bowl as an audition for prospective jobs.
Baldwin is coaching to win today. He is approaching this game as if this is a major bowl game. He knows this is as best it’s going to get for him.
He can’t think about his future at this point. He is going to make the most of his opportunity that is presented to him today.
He will hope for the best once the game is over.
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