CU Independent sports editor Michael Krumholtz interviewed former Buff great Joel Klatt before Saturday’s Rocky Mountain Showdown. Klatt, who went 3-0 as a starter against CSU, will provide analysis for the game for Fox Sports Net.
CU Independent: How did you get started as a broadcaster? Was it something you kind of stumbled on to, or a plan you always had in the back of your mind?
Joel Klatt: No, it was definitely something I just stumbled on to. When I was released by the Detroit Lions and I came home in the fall of 2006, I was just kind of around. A guy from Fox Sports Rocky Mountain named Ken Miller called me and said ‘Hey I heard you’re back in town, would you mind doing a high school football game for us because we need an analyst.’ I went and did it and I actually had my degree in Economics, and thought I would go into investment banking or something along those lines. I had a couple of jobs in the finance industry while my broadcasting career grew from high school games to arena football to Rockies pregame and postgame to Big 12 studio.
CUI: Can you talk about your spot on 102.3 The Ticket and you’re partnership with (another former CU quarterback) Charles Johnson?
Klatt: Yeah we’ve been doing the show for a little over a year now and obviously I knew CJ from being around the Colorado program when I was playing. I always watched him when I was a kid. So, when I had the chance to work with him here at 102.3, I kind of jumped at the opportunity and now we have a blast everyday doing the show. We really enjoy working together. It’s one of those deals where you stick a couple of guys who are fanatical about college football and CU together and they’ll inevitably have some fun.
CUI: What are the biggest challenges for you when covering games? Especially with this CU game coming up, will it be hard for you not to be cheering and yelling in the booth the entire time?
Klatt: It is. Although, I spend so much time in prep work for the game that the preparation is really what, for lack of a better term, keeps me grounded. I just try to call the action and really just zero in on what’s going in on the football field, rather than what logo the team has. Every game there’s two different logos and every game there’s traditions on both sides. All of that has to go out the window and you got to focus on the football on the field.
CUI: Can you see yourself doing this for the rest of your adult career?
Klatt: I hope so. I truly love what I do and it’s a fantastic way to stay involved with a game that I love. It’s an absolute blast.
CUI: Back in your playing days, as CU’s starting quarterback, you went 3-0 against the Rams. Can you talk of how big the rivalry is, strictly from a CU perspective?
Klatt: I think every one of those was our first one of the season. So there was always an entire offseason of build-up. We knew that they were going to play their best game. And we knew that if we didn’t come out and play really well then they would beat us. The rivalry, for me, was more along the lines of I just competed against so many of their players through my entire life. All these guys, we had played high school football against each other. From our standpoint, we knew that they just hated us. We never disliked CSU, we just kind of knew that they were going to come in and play really hard. But I always knew they hated us because of the perception of big brother versus little brother kind of deal.
CUI: Have you had a chance to spend time around this team and the new coaches?
Klatt: Not a ton of time. I know the coaches really well. I played for Coach Cabral; I played for Coach Embree; I played for Coach Bieniemy during my tenure at Colorado. For me, I kind of know what those guys are about and really respect what they’re doing at Colorado.
CUI: What are the strengths that Coach Embree brings to CU’s table?
Klatt: I think his strength is just his passion, and the fact that he’s a tremendous football teacher. These kids are getting the best teaching that they possibly can, and that’s ultimately what I kind of believe, to make sure that you’re teaching solid and sound football principles to the kids and then allowing them to use that to their benefit.
CUI: Talk a little bit about quarterback Tyler Hansen. He’s a senior now and he’s started his senior campaign 0-2. Have you seen any improvement out of him throughout his career?
Klatt: I have seen a great deal of improvement from him. It’s so tough because he’s learning an entirely new offense this season for his last year. This is the offense that I ran, and I know that it’s very complicated and there’s a steep learning curve. So, I am expecting fully that he’ll get tangibly better each and every week. This is a very tough schedule, there’s no way around it. Thirteen straight weeks and a lot of people consider it the toughest schedule in the country. If they’re able to be successful, it’s in large part because he plays well.
Contact CU Independent Sports Editor Michael Krumholtz at Michael.firstname.lastname@example.org.