BOULDER — There is just something about Boulder.
Once you've had a little taste — and in the case of Vincent Smith, the new Boulder High School football coach who spent one year as a University of Colorado Buffalo — it's hard not to crave a little more.
"It's beautiful, I love it here," said Smith, after he addressed his new crop of players and their parents at Christian Recht Field on Monday morning. "When you do things like this, coaching and working in education, you always look for a good fit.
"You look for things that are familiar to you and this is a great place to be. It's been a long time since I could call this place my place of residence but there are a lot of things that are still the same ... Boulder is a great place."
Smith, a stand-out offensive lineman from Locke High School in California, came to CU in 1988 and played one year with the Buffs before transferring to Arizona, and returns to inherit a team that has won just 10 games in the last three seasons and moves into a new league with the likes of former Centennial League foes Grandview and Overland, as well as perennial power Arapahoe.
Still Smith, with ever the offensive lineman's approach to the game, is confident that the Panthers will not only be competitive but put a winning product on the field.
"Realistic goals is that we are going to go out there and play the best possible football that we can," Smith said. "We want to maximize our talent and we want to maximize our effort and take it a little further.
"Our philosophy is that if somebody is going to beat us, they are going to have to be flat-out better."
A majority of the questions fielded by Smith on Monday morning came from the parents and revolved around the timing of various summer camps and logistical-type things, but there were a few on the field style questions posed as well.
And without giving away too much information, Smith answered everything the right way. He also understands the role moms and dads play within the program and reassuring them that their boys are in the right hands is important.
"Parents are paramount to the program. You have to make sure they feel good about what is going on with their kids and trust you with what is going on," said Smith, who has spent the last 21 years as a coach in both his native California and in Arizona. "You have to build that relationship and that trust and make sure that everything we do is going to be fair and equitable."
The Panthers open the season on Saturday Sept. 3 at home against Denver South. They will play Fairview on Friday Sept. 9.