Colorado State learns from exchange of ideas

Colorado State coach Steve Fairchild was both excited and encouraged after meeting with UCLA offensive coordinator Norm Chow during the weekend.

So excited, that the first thing Fairchild did after the meeting was tweet about it.

“Spent the last couple days with Norm Chow from UCLA. Healthy exchange of ideas. Appreciate him coming to see us.”

Fairchild and Chow have been friends since the mid-80s when Chow was an assistant at BYU and Fairchild was also coaching in the WAC. He said Chow’s background and success at places such as BYU, USC and in the NFL led him to call his friend for an exchange of ideas.

“Primarily, what Norm’s always done a very good job with is throwing the ball, inside receivers, tight ends and backs,” Fairchild said. “I don’t think we do a good enough job with that. So, hearing where he’s come from and how he installs that part of his passing game is where we started.”

Chow isn’t Colorado State’s first on-campus guest. The Rams’ defensive staff had coaches from Nebraska visit and Fairchild said he anticipates meetings with several other coaches in the near future.

Last year, Fairchild visited San Diego to meet with the Chargers staff and came home with an idea that he applied to his scheme. The Rams also put in some things from Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak, who visited. Kubiak had two sons on the team last year and one is still there.

Who and how many coaches to bring in largely depends on the year and the needs. Any coach Fairchild brings in or visits has to have an extensive résumé and excel in places where Colorado State struggles. The meetings also depend on the willingness to share and not just take.

“We look at their body of work over a period of time,” Fairchild said about the coaches with whom he decides to speak. “Where they’ve been, what they’ve been subjected to. Part of it, too, is finding someone that you know and is willing to share ideas. If they’re not willing to share then it’s kind of a waste of time.”

Fairchild said he met with his offensive staff Tuesday to recap Chow’s visit. He said his staff meeting fostered a lot of different ideas and variations that he hopes with make the Rams successful in 2010.

“There were some real interesting things that he showed us,” Fairchild said.

He said the addition of Dan Hammerschmidt also has produced some ideas that could create variations for the offense.

For the two seasons Hammerschmidt was away from Colorado State, he spent time working with the spread offenses at Rice and Wyoming. While Fairchild maintains that his offense will not be spread, there are some concepts that he’d like to mesh with what the Rams already do.

The Rams won’t look dramatically different on offense because of these exchanges, but Fairchild said they’ll probably be better in some areas they struggled with last season. At the very least, he enjoys the open exchange of ideas and knows that it will mean a better future for his program.

“I don’t pretend to know everything, so when someone else is doing something, be it third down or red zone, when they're doing something very well, I’d like to have them talk to me about it,” Fairchild said. “Even when you see it on tape sometimes you don’t understand the nuances and if someone’s willing to share with you, it’s good. It’s a big football world out there and there’s a lot to learn.”