WATCH: Q&A with Cheyenne East Football Head Coach Chad Goff
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - Wyoming News Now Sports Anchor Nick Kuzma sat down with Cheyenne East Football Head Coach Chad Goff on Tuesday, August 17 to talk about the season ahead. The interview aired on Thursday and it is attached. Below is also the full transcript from the interview.
East kicks off the 2021 season at home against Thunder Basin on Friday, August 27. The game gets underway at 6 p.m. and it is Wyoming News Now’s Friday Night Frenzy Game of the Week.
Friday’s Frenzy will include highlights from East-Thunder Basin, South-Kelly Walsh, Central-Natrona County, and Riverton-Powell.
NK: Good evening everyone! I’m here with Coach Chad Goff of Cheyenne East Football. Coach, thanks for joining me this evening.”
CG: “You bet.”
NK: Coach, I have a few questions to get to, but first of all how have things been going so far at preseason practices?
CG: “Well we just finished our last day of two-a-days and I was proud of the kids. We told them that they worked hard. Football’s tough, what we do is tough, and what we ask kids to do is tough and they pushed through, they persevered through that. They stuck together. I think they got better as a team, obviously, in the in the team-building side of things. But, more than anything, I just thought we showed improvement each and every day and every drill and we had our downs. There’s no doubt when it’s 90° outside and kids haven’t haven’t been outside the whole summer. But I thought they pushed through that as well and so I think it was definitely good. I thought it was good for the team and happy we came out pretty injury-free and [the] kids were excited.”
NK: So this is the first year in many without Graedyn Buell of course…a three-time all-stater, a Gatorade Wyoming Player of the Year. How do you feel like is the most effective route in order to move off a player like that from graduation and do you feel like you guys are accomplishing that?
CG: “Yeah and I know we’ve talked before with other media and stuff like that…that’s the beauty of high school sports, it’s every kid’s shot. Everyone gets that shot and they grew up and they watched those kids or they were part of the program when those kids were going through and so hopefully we have a program that allows a kid that opportunity to get that shot. There’s no doubt about it replacing a kid like that is hard. I knew I was gonna that question all year and that’s just the nature of the beast when it comes down to it. But I think we’ve been working hard and I think having a kid like that and then kids being around him and seeing the other leaders that we had, I think they’re trying to emulate that and build their own team as well.”
NK: So you say the importance of moving on, the importance of realizing this is your team to build off of. Of course last year, 4A State Champions. How [has] your teams really tried to move on that and say ‘Hey this is a brand new season.’
CG: “To be honest we haven’t talked about it. I don’t even hear kids talk about it on the sideline when they’re getting their drinks or they’re getting water or when they have their little meetings because I told them the first day: last year’s was last year. Again, that’s a whole different 20 kids that put their time in and great things happened. And now you’ve put your time in what are you gonna make happen with it? And we had a big talk about all that today and really what we talked about was, as a coach, my goal and I told them...everyone thinks that my goal every year is to win a state championship. That is part of the goal, there’s no doubt about it, but more than anything I want these kids to come back in 20 years and tell me what they’ve done because it’s about giving them an opportunity and understand what a good person is and how you move on and how this game teaches you about life and that’s what we already talked about. In that heat, we had some downtimes with the offensive line and I said, ‘you know, fellas, your job in life right now if you were to compare and contrast…in football, your job is to make the guys around you successful. Sooner or later you’re gonna be a dad and then at that point, your job is to make your kids so you don’t get to be tired when you’re a dad.’ That’s just part of it. Your goals really don’t mean much when you’re a dad because your goal is that your kids achieve their goals and that’s how you set your goals. And so we talk about how that transfers. [I coach O-Line] and so that’s what I talk to them about is, is your job is to make others successful and so you don’t get to be tired. You don’t get to be down about something. You just have to persevere and go on.”
NK: “You know, I’m really glad you mention about being a dad because that comes with my next question. Gavin Goff is gonna be Quarterback #1 this for the Cheyenne East T-Birds. What is it like to coach your son in this his senior year?”
“Well, I can tell you it’s anxiety. The kid’s worked so hard throughout his career and he’s done good things and so here’s his shot. This is what his goal is and to be honest, when you look at what, after the season was over, and I was like man, you asked the question…how do you move on from Graedyn Buell…well he’s gonna get it no matter what. You know, coach’s kid this, that, and the other. And so I knew in what he’s dealt with in his life if we had anybody in our program that can put up with ‘Oh he doesn’t throw it like Graedyn or oh this, that’, it could be him. He’s put up with a lot but he knows how to motivate and he knows how to play. He knows how to compete and more than anything, he’s just a good kid, he truly is just a good person and that’s what the type of guy you need to lead your team. Graedyn was a good kid and so that’s one of the things we look for when we’re looking at that position. We got to have a kid that can lead and a kid that other kids have seen go through the grind and push the grind and that’s one thing he’s always been able to do. It helps others get on his boat. That’s one of the analogies we use all the time… it’s your boat, it’s your goal how [do] you get kids there…and so he’s done a good job with that so far and he’s got big shoes to fill there’s no doubt about it but he’s been pretty successful in his life at that position and so he took a year off…kind of a year in a half a little bit…but you can see it coming back. Little by little you can just see it coming back. He worked hard this offseason just like all those other kids and I told him in the offseason…I said, ‘don’t just invite one or two. You get the whole team there because it’s not about you and it’s not about them. It’s about this program and you build this program. What is your legacy gonna be? What did you do in the offseason to build those little kids up and to have those freshmen see all the stuff that you older kids are doing?’ I said ‘you gotta involve those guys so they see it and they join in.’ And so then all of a sudden good things happen. Example: this summer those kids held their own practices. I told them, I said ‘I’ll come down at 6, open it up, you guys do what you want to do’ and I stood there in the middle. I had the lineman in the D-Zone and they’re just working their feet and they’ve got dummies out and they’re working against it. Doing stuff that we do all the time but they drilled it themselves. And then on the other end, they’re [doing] 7-on-7. They’re just doing their own 7-on-7. They know our routes. They know our plays. A lot of these kids have been around this program for a long time and so it was really cool to see them be able just to go out and run their own practice and they got better because of it.”
NK: You’re a team-first guy which is great and we mentioned Graedyn. But there was more than just Graedyn on that team. You had your [Bradley] Whitright’s, you had your [Julian] Vigil’s. You can go on and on...your [Jake] Rayl’s... you can go on and on and on. But it was about more than just that, it was about a team as a whole. Is there any position group or any players that you feel like are really stepping up in this preseason and showing you something that you didn’t necessarily know they had?
CG: “Well, I think the one thing we’re blessed with at Cheyenne East is that we have great kids and they’ve all played. They’ve all put their hand in the dirt. They’ve all got out of their stance a lot. They play all those games as freshmen and then as sophomores, they play that sophomore game and they play that JV game, and as juniors, they play that JV game and so they’ve been there. It’s their shot and so as far as groups stepping up, I would just tell you, the receiving core has big shoes to fill. But I think every day they’ve gotten better. It was a really good core last year but I really think there’s a lot of potential with this crew. We’re taller in two places. We’re pretty fast. We’re getting some good stuff that we didn’t get last year in certain areas. Every team has their strength and that’s one thing we do during two-a-days; we find out what is our strength. In the offseason, everything looks awesome on the board. Every play we draw up works. We never get tackled. We throw touchdowns. Everything we do works in the offseason on the board. So then we put it out there and we do it live and we try to find what do these kids do the best. What is this team’s strength? What’s their identity? Obviously last year, we threw the ball and that comes a long way for us. I’ve coached football a long time. I’m an offensive line coach. I don’t call the offense because I’m a run guy. Being an offensive lineman, coaching the offensive line, it’s just a pride thing when you can say, ‘hey, we’re gonna run the ball and this is what we’re gonna do.’ But we such a good offensive coordinator in Coach Nelson. He spreads the ball around and that’s the one thing I guess as a coach…I usually don’t talk to the quarterbacks all that much… but even last year I told Graedyn, as you build up, if you look at his progression, the one thing that he did really good his senior year was he spread the ball around. He made you cover everybody and he made you defend everybody. And that’s the one thing I told Gavin going into the season is all you gotta do is get the ball in the athletes’ hand. They’ll do the rest. Because that’s what we did last year. We got the ball in the athletes’ hands and they did the rest. You look at it and you look at…I know you pull stats up and I’m not a stat guy…but we had guys that just did good things.”
NK: Now we look ahead. Thunder Basin on Friday. Pretty good. What kind of challenges do those guys present and do you feel like the Cheyenne East T-Birds are gonna be ready for that kind of challenge?
CG: “Well I think Thunder Basin is a strong program. They got great coaches. Some of those guys used to be at Campbell County. I’ve coached against them for 22 years now and so we know what they do. They know what we do. It should be a fun game and truly I love that game first, like we talked yesterday, having Thunder Basin and then Natrona and you play two teams like that in a row and you get tested and you find out where you’re at. Just like last year, we got tested. We lost Game 1. We held on in Game 2 and we learned a lot about ourselves. And so what a great way to learn out. The years before that, we’d always start out (3-0) and it’s high school. You start out (3-0) kids are…they’re the man. [They think] this is easy and that wasn’t always the case when you hit Week 4. And so starting out with that Thunder Basin team is truly great for our program. It’s great for their program. You learn a lot about yourselves because you’re gonna face a lot of adversity in that game and we’ll find out how we step up to that adversity and then we go back to that drawing board and we see what we need to do. We come in that Saturday morning. We watch that film. We break it down all day. We meet Sunday as coaches and we just start building from there and that’s the exciting about football; putting that plan together and watching those kids execute it.”
NK: Coach, I really appreciate you coming in and joining me. Best of luck this season.
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