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Q&A with Northwestern offensive coordinator Mick McCall

Monday May 10, 2010 Staff

Mick McCall is entering his third season as the offensive coordinator / quarterbacks coach at Northwestern. Before joining Pat Fitzgerald's coaching staff, McCall served as the offensive coordinator at Bowling Green in 2007. He coached the quarterbacks at Bowling Green the previous four seasons. During his career, McCall also coached at Wyoming, Oregon State, South Colorado, Idaho State, and the high school level.

What is something you will harp on during August practice that maybe you haven't emphasized as much in previous years?

Offensively, we probably won't do too much differently. We really want to stay true to who we are. We think we have a strong identity. The one thing that we will get across to our newcomers in August will be our practice tempo. We want to be running, running, and running. We want to run everywhere.

What is something you really like that your head coach Pat Fitzgerald implements at practice?

Coach Fitz wants a running and fast practice. It's a staple of who we are. It's borderline chaotic. The coaches and players feed off the energy and our players can sense how much the game slows down on Saturdays for them. I think it really helps our players.

Northwestern offensive coordinator Mick McCall

Northwestern was 1 of only 25 programs in the country that kept the entire coaching staff intact during the off-season. Not 1 assistant coach accepted another job. Do you see that as an advantage for the program?

We noticed that statistic a few weeks ago and we wanted to make it an advantage. Our offense didn't hold back much this spring. With the same coaching staff, we were able to become even more detailed and continue to develop our chemistry. The thing about working for Coach Fitz...everyone at our place loves coming to work. We really do. This is a great place to coach football.

In season, which day of the week besides Saturday do you look forward to the most?

Wednesday. I think we have a unique situation here because we practice in the mornings. The thing that I look forward to the most during the week is our Wednesday night offensive staff meeting. That's when we really hone in on situational calls. We want to have a great practice script for Thursday morning practice. By the time we leave Wednesday night, I have a great idea of what I want to call on game day. I know our 3rd down calls, short-yardage calls, red zone calls, etc. It's a rush, really fun to hone in and make the decisions on what we want to call on Saturday. By the time I leave on Wednesday evening, our game plan is pretty much done. It better be done because we are back the next morning for 6:45 am position meetings, 8:15 walk thru, and 8:30 practice.

Outside of work, what is the one thing you really enjoy about living in Evanston, IL?

The entire Greater Chicago Area is great. I can jump on the L and be at Wrigley Field or US Cellular in minutes. The entertainment, plays, food...this place has it all in terms of entertainment.

Best thing your wife likes about living in Evanston, IL?

No matter the time of year, there is so much to do. We haven't lived in this large of a city. The different opportunities that are at our fingertips...this is just a great place.

How long is your drive from your house to the office in the morning?

It's only a 10 minute drive. Every now and then during the spring or summer, I'll ride my bike to the office. That takes about 15 minutes.

During your vacation break this summer, what do you plan to do? Any trips planned?

There is a chance we make it out to Colorado to see some family. I know for certain that I'll be spending a lot of time with my wife and 2 daughters. We'll relax some in Chicago, too. Something tells me that I'll also find time to play golf, but for me, spending time with my family is number 1.

Everyone has been around a GA that busts his tail. As a full-time coach, who is the best GA you have ever worked with? Why was he so good to work with?

Hard to say just one guy, but to me, the most important thing a young grad assistant can do is develop relationships with the coaches and the players. The good grad assistants that I've been around all have one thing in common. They all gain trust. When the coaches and players trust a young coach, that's when he can coach ‘em up.