For most students, Family Weekend at the University of Colorado will involve some variation of a similar pattern: breakfast at one of their favorite local hangouts, a sightseeing drive, then a trip to Folsom Field in time for Saturday’s 12:30 Buffs game against visiting Oregon State.
But that’s not how CU senior Alex Kelley’s day will go.
Instead, Kelley — the starting center for the 3-1 Buffs — will see his morning begin with a wakeup call at the team hotel, followed by team meetings and a pregame meal. He’ll then ride the team bus to Folsom Field in time for the team stroll down the Buff Walk, suit up, and after running onto the field behind Ralphie, will prepare to do battle with the Beavers.
His parents will understand. Kelley’s father, Karry Kelley, is no stranger to his son’s strict schedule in preparation for game time. Nearly 40 years ago, he was in his the same position as his son when he lettered four times for the Buffs from 1976-1979 as an offensive tackle.
Asked what it means to play for the same school as his father, Kelley said: “It means a lot. I was raised to be a Buff because of my dad and I’m glad I’m here. And it means all the more to me because of the success we’re having this season and we’re finally doing good.”
Kelley also noted that his dad remains a big Buffs fan.
“He’s the biggest fan I see up there (in the stands) every weekend,” Kelley said. “Every time I look up I see him jumping around, screaming, high-fiving people, and it’s awesome.”
But if you think there is any type of friendly competition between father and son, think again.
“He is way better than I ever was,” said his dad, Karry. “It’s really been fun to see him excel.”
And excel he has. Kelley, from San Diego, Calif., played for Vista High School and was one of California’s top recruits at the time. After redshirting his freshman year, he saw action in all 12 games during his redshirt freshman year at CU. He moved into the starting lineup as a sophomore and has held onto that spot ever since, including this year’s season opener against Colorado State.
Remember that game? You may remember that the first Buffalo to score a touchdown in that game — also the first CU touchdown of the season — was Kelley, a feat that hadn’t been accomplished by a lineman for Colorado since Oct. 28, 1995.
“My dad didn’t know I scored,” Kelley said about his dad’s reaction. “He didn’t know I scored until my brother texted him – but after he heard he was super excited.”
Kelley’s mom, Charlyn, will also be at Folsom Field for Saturday’s game. She enjoys watching her son’s success on the field.
“My mom loves the games,” Kelley said. “She’s probably my biggest critic though – whatever success we have she’s just, ‘All right, just keep working, keep doing what you’re doing – you don’t want it to get into your head’. She’s the one who really brings me down to earth.”
Staying down to earth is no issue for Kelley who is grateful to be a part of a program that his father once was a part of.
“I grew up a CU Buffs fan, watching the games every Saturday with my dad,” Kelley said. “To have the opportunity to come here is amazing. I have a picture in my room of me, my dad and my two brothers all in football stances in (Folsom) stadium. I was like 8 years old. It’s my dream school.”