Thursday, July 13, 2006

Coach Mac on Mighty MAQ

When the Oakland Raiders selected offensive lineman Paul McQuistan of Weber State University in the third round of the 2006 NFL Draft, two questions immediately reverberated throughout the Raider Nation: Who? Where?

Since then, we’ve learned a lot more about Paul McQuistan, and even a little bit about Weber State, a Division 1-AA school in Ogden, Utah. Oakland is a long way from Ogden, both geographically and culturally, yet McQuistan seems to have made a smooth transition. Along the way, he has managed to become an improbable cult hero. He inspired a haiku fest here at Raider Take and even earned his own fan club.

But how did McQuistan get here in the first place? What are the qualities that made him a third-round selection? How did Weber State prepare him for the NFL—and does he have what it takes to succeed at the highest level? To answer these questions, Raider Take turned to Ron McBride, head coach of the Weber State Wildcats.

Coach Mac, as he is known around campus, wields nearly 40 years of coaching experie
nce. Prior to joining Weber State, Coach Mac was head coach at the University of Utah for 13 seasons. He led the Utes to six bowl games during his tenure—three more than the school had attended in the preceding 97 years. During his illustrious career, Coach Mac has guided many players to the NFL, including Jamal Anderson, Mike Anderson, Kevin Dyson, Steve Smith and Barry Sims.

Coach Mac is also a cool guy. Without hesitation, he kindly took time out of his camp preparations to tell the Raider Nation more about Paul McQuistan. Following is the transcript of our interview:

What was the first thing you noticed about Paul?

He was in the weight room with his brother the first time I saw him. These two big red-headed kids. They looked good, and they were strong. That's what I first remember. This was a year before I became the head coach, when I was visiting a friend at the university. Then when I took th
e job and I saw them again, I was impressed by their size and leanness.

Were you surprised to see Paul get selected in the third round of the NFL draft?

No. I've coached a lot of guys over the years who were drafted. Barry Sims played for me at Utah. I've had a lot of linemen who've gone on to play in the NFL, and I think Paul is as good as any of those guys.

Has the selection of the McQuistan twins by the Raiders and Cowboys elevated the visibility of your program?

Well, everybody's talking about it. We had two players drafted, the McQuistan brothers, and another who got signed. That's a total of three players who made it to the NFL, which is perhaps the most representation this year from a Division 1-AA school.

What’s your favorite memory of Paul at Weber State?

Well, he's pretty funny. He's a practical joker. He likes to do stuff that's a little out of the ordinary. He has a good sense of humor. I'd be standing around and he'd touch me at some point from behind. I'd see him over there giggling like he didn't do it. I'd say, "When you get to the NFL, you'd better not be touching your head coach and hiding!”

What do you think about the Raiders switching Paul from left tackle (his position at Weber State) to right guard?

They've got a veteran offensive line coach, so I know they're going to put
him in a position that best suits their needs, and where he best fits. If Barry Sims moves to left guard, I could have two former players starting at guard for the Raiders, which would be pretty interesting. They both come from small towns. Barry is from Park City, and Paul is from a small town in Oregon.

How do you think Paul will fare in the NFL?

He'll have a long career. He has a great work ethic, and he's a gym rat. He's aggressive and he's tough. He'll play hurt. The only thing that would shorten his career is a serious injury. He's got all the right qualities.

Did you know that Paul is already a bit of a cult figure in the Raider Nation?

Somebody told me that, and I kind of chuckled when I heard. I thought he hadn't been there long enough to be a cult figure. Maybe it's his hair, maybe he looks like a biker. I'll tell you, he's a great kid, a funny kid and an aggressive football player. He’s got all of the qualities to succeed in the NFL. You need to be a bit off center to play the game at that level. If you've got all your marbles, you’re probably not playing.


Thanks to Coach Mac for a great interview. Keep those linemen coming. Go Raiders and go Wildcats!

11 Comments:

Anonymous AllyOop said...

Excellent job, Raider Take! What a great way to kick off the countdown to Training Camp!

I believe the eyes of the Raider Nation will be on the offensive line this year, especially watching Gallery and the big MAQ man the trenches.

Keep up the good work, my friend!

GO RAIDERS!!!

5:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

nobody else would have thought to get that interview for us and u did great job!

thanks RT and Coach Mac

8:33 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Ally, thanks for your feedback! It means a lot coming from the #1 source of Raider News!

Thanks, anonymous, glad you enjoyed the interview. Coach Mac was cool. I'm sure he can bark with the best of them, but he clearly has a deep affection for his players, and a good sense of humor, too.

9:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

RaiderTake,
We have a collection of established NFL blogs at www.sbnation.com, and we're looking for a blogger to cover the Oakland Raiders. If you are interested, or someone here that comments is interested, contact me at www.stampedeblue.com.

RaiderTake is a cool site. Love the content.

-BigBlueShoe
StampedeBlue.com
Indianapolis Colts blogger for SB Nation

9:11 AM  
Blogger raiderdecoachella said...

Good job on this story, that is awesome that coach Mac took the time to answer you, I can't even imagine the type of schedule this man might have.
Thank you for the tip on the podcast, I will check it out!

9:20 AM  
Blogger Stick'em said...

I love the quote, "You need to be a bit off center to play the game at that level. If you've got all your marbles, you’re probably not playing.

Well, if Quiz is playing at Right Guard in ’06 as anticipated, he'll definitely be a bit off Center to the right. A good fit, no?

Please tell Coach Mac that if he has any spare marbles left rolling around the training room floor, I could use a couple for this stickyfied head as well.

Well done on finding such a candid interviewee, mi amigo!

You know you just made Ally's week, don't cha?

2:23 PM  
Blogger frkyraider said...

another great job RT!!! kinda re-wets the ol' McNasty whistle again doesn't it? i can't wait to see the new and improved line put their hands down to the ground in unison and give an ever so slight lean forward, just to the balls of their feet.....and....BOOM!!!

5:01 PM  
Anonymous Kevin said...

Loved the Interview, and I can't wait to see that fire-y Mullet on our O-line.

9:48 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Wonderful and insightful article Raider Take! You get the full "forearm shiver" of approval.

Coach Mac's comments about Braveheart McNasty makes me believe that the big red lug has a legitmate shot at bumping Badger from the starting lineup.

11:00 PM  
Anonymous Raider Nate 75 said...

Big red, McQuistan
Playing hard for the Raiders
Pinching Coach Shell's butt.

1:58 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

The Iron Man returns with another haiku classic!

3:54 PM  

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