September 8th

Cal to be without a wide receiver and a fullback this Saturday

Freshman wide receiver Kaelin Clay will not be on the field against Colorado this weekend for the Cal Bears. Clay is dealing with an “academic issue” according to head coach Jeff Tedford, and the date of Clay’s return has yet to be determined.

Also likely out for the CU game is fullback Will Kapp, who is recovering from a concussion. Kapp, a senior, was in for only one carry against Fresno State before being injured.

Senior safety Sean Cattouse also suffered a concussion against Fresno State, but his condition has improved to the point where he is likely to see playing time against Colorado. Cattouse is an All-Pac-12 candidate, and made some pre-season All-American lists.

California kicking issues

Colorado broke in a true freshman at kicker in the season opener, with Will Oliver connecting on a 34-yard field goal and making both of his extra point opportunities.

With a senior kicker returning, Cal did not believe that it would have to think twice about kicking issues. However, senior Giorgio Tavecchio’s first two extra-point attempts against Fresno State were blocked Saturday at Candlestick Park, but as it turned out Cal did not need the two points in its 36-21 win. Both kicks were low and rebounded back toward Tavecchio instead of sailing through the uprights.

“It was strange. I had a good warm-up,” he said. “The first kick I felt was the better of the two. The second one I remember hitting the ground. I hit a low trajectory on the kick.”

Tavecchio is also breaking in a new holder this season in punter Bryan Anger, who takes over from quarterback Brock Mansion. But there was no problem with his placement of the ball on the two kicks that were rejected.

“Not happy about it,” coach Jeff Tedford said of the blocks. “He hasn’t shown that up to (now). It’s surprising. He’s got to get back to form. He caught the ground a little on those kicks.”

Buff Nation needs to make some noise

Cal is practicing this week without piped in crowd noise.

But it’s not out of disrespect for the noise which can be generated at Folsom Field.

The Bears aren’t piping in crowd noise for road games like they have in the past, but are playing music “as loud as we can play it without the neighbors getting irritated.” Just another example of the difference practicing at Witter Rugby Field compared with Memorial Stadium (which is being renovated, and will not be available until the 2012 season). “It’s not as loud as we used to have it down at the stadium,” he said.

When asked if any neighbors have complained, he said: “Not yet.”

September 7th

Jon Embree Post-Practice Quotes – September 7th

On Wednesday’s practice – “Practice was good. We worked on a couple of wrinkles. I thought that they did a good job of grasping things. We worked on our third downs today, and the offense had a really good practice … It was good to seem them out here today with a little more focus, and a sense of urgency about things.”

On the status of Toney Clemons – “Toney and I had a great conversation today. I think we were able to get things out, as far as expectations, and let him know the way that I am about things. We’re definitely on the same page now. I look forward to seeing Toney Clemons be a playmaker for us … It’s not a lack of ‘want to’ with him. We had a good 15-20 minute conversation in the office today, and I think – I don’t think, I know we’re on the same page now. There were some things I misconstrued probably. I have to be better at communication, obviously. I’m excited to see what he does. We need him – we need everybody … He had a conversation with Bobby Kennedy, and then he came in to see me, to make sure we were on the same page.”

On the play of the freshmen – “I was excited about all of those freshmen. They all (six true/five red-shirt freshmen) played well. I think back at my first game, and what it was like. So for those guys to go out and perform like they did on TV, says a lot about them. I expect them to grow and improve.”

On whether Eric Bieniemy will be on the sidelines, or up in the booth – “(No decision made). I’ll get that for you. I think he realizes that when you are upstairs, you can see more, and there is not as much emotion … This is like Cabral wearing the lava lava and stuff … I’m going on record. I’m guessing he is going to be up (in the booth)”.

On what he remembers about his first game at Folsom Field (in 1983, a 31-3 win over Colorado State, after a season opening loss at Michigan State) – “First, I remember running up that ramp, to get out onto the field. I just remember how cool it was running out onto the field behind Ralphie.  There’s nothing like it … I’m excited for these guys. Because of the nature of the schedule is that we only have five chances, so you’ve got to make the most of it.”

Connor Wood under center

The newest Colorado Buffalo, quarterback Connor Wood, has had a busy week.

It was just a week ago that the former Texas quarterback chose to come to Boulder instead of Baton Rouge and LSU. After making his choice, Wood had to move to Boulder, enroll in classes, and try and get settled into a routine a week and a half after the fall semester got underway.

This week, Wood is practicing with the team, running the scout team along with freshman Stevie Dorman (junior Brent Burnette has been hampered by a shoulder injury, and has not seen much action in practice).

It’s all a lot to take in in just seven days, so how is Wood liking Boulder and the CU Buffs?

“It was awesome. You’ve got to love this mountain air,” Wood said. “It’s a lot better than Austin.”

On why he came to CU – “The coaches. The place. I knew it was a building program. Coach Embree, coach Scherer, and coach Bieniemy are all ex-NFL coaches. They have a lot of experience under their belt  … It was the right fit for me and my family.”

On the decision to leave Austin – “I just felt it was a better situation for me, to play. I just felt I needed a change”.

Did the presence of Coach Bobby Kennedy, who was the recruiting coordinator at Texas when Wood signed with the Longhorns, help in making his decision? – “It did. It was great to have a familiar face”.

On walking on, with the understanding he will have a scholarship available in the spring – “Yes”.

On the toughest part about learning a new system – “The toughest part right now is the time constraint, just trying to learn everything right now. I know I’m not going to play this year, but a week ago, I was running Texas’ offense, and now it’s a new offense, new language, new coaches, everything.”

September 6th

Jon Embree Pac-12 Teleconference Quotes

On the impact of last year’s game on this Saturday – “One of the first things I heard about when I got hired here was about the Cal game, from our fans and from our players … Practice has been good (in preparation for Cal). They seem to be focused.”

On playing a conference opponent in a conference game – “It’s weird in that it’s a non-conference game, but the relevance for us is that it’s the home opener, and you’re playing a team that blew you out last year. Those two factors play into it more than the conference/non-conference aspect.”

On what went wrong along the offensive line against Hawai’i – “It’s hard to put my finger on it. If you watch the tape, part of it was communication, part of it was that our team came out, and just felt their way around, instead of just playing. I felt in the second half, once we got it going – our first drive we go down and score, the next time we go score, I think we went three out of four possessions where we went down the field and scored, and were moving the ball well – we’ve got to come out and start playing like that from the beginning.”

On the Cal defense – ‘I’ve had the chance to meet Clancy (Pendergast, the Bears’ 2nd-year defensive coordinator), and spend some time with him. He’s a very sharp guy. Clancy does a lot of good things with his personnel … I think they have two really good corners, they are very good up front, in the front seven. Two players, No. 3 (senior linebacker D.J. Holt) and No. 30 (senior linebacker Mychael Kendricks) have played a lot of football for them … I know what they did against us, and I believe that the lowest output Oregon had all last season was against them, so that speaks a lot to Clancy’s schemes, and how he uses his players.”

On whether the offense is geared toward Tyler Hansen’s strengths, or whether Hansen is being asked to adjust to the style of play Embree prefers – “A little bit of both. We’re trying to establish a program, establish a culture. We’re trying to do things that he does well, but at the same time, we have to do some things that are beneficial to us, or give us a good chance (to win). I think Tyler, once he settled down, played well. Early on we missed some opportunities, that weren’t really his fault. We had some drops; a little bit of push in the pocket that affected him a little bit. I expect Tyler to play significantly better this week … I want him to be more aggressive as a leader. When you’re the captain, when you’re the quarterback, you’re the leader, you have to be aggressive and get the guys going … He was accurate for the most part during the game, with the exception of the one interception … I think he’s good with his feet. He has a lot of the qualities that you look for in a quarterback. I think he has to believe in himself a little bit more.”

On the play calling of Cal head coach Jeff Tedford, who took over play calling this year – “Jeff is one of the brighter minds in this conference. When you look back at what he did with Joey Harrington (while at Oregon) and Aaron Rodgers, he’s done a good job of fitting his schemes to the strengths of his quarterback. He’s still a quarterback guy. This is probably the first time he’s had a guy who is really good with his feet (in transfer quarterback Zach Maynard). Watching their first game, their quarterback did a great job. For him to bounce back (from an interception on his first pass), he was accurate under pressure, he gives his receivers a chance at the ball, and he does a good job with his feet. I think Jeff does a good job of getting his quarterback into a place where he can have success … I think the world of Jeff from an offensive standpoint.”

Jon Embree Press Conference Quotes

The entire transcript can be found at cubuffs.com. Here are some of the highlights:

On what he saw from last year’s Cal game – “Lack of effort, that disturbed me the most. I don’t feel that we competed very well last year. I felt like we were just hoping for the clock to run out so we could get off the field. That is what it looked like watching it. I think when you talk to the kids, they will say similar things about their effort or lack of effort in that game and they were embarrassed about it.”

On Cal QB Zach Maynard and how he compares to Hawai’i QB Bryant Moniz – “Moniz is a stronger runner than Maynard. Maynard, once he gets going is probably faster. The thing with Moniz that gave us issue is that he was stronger and we over-pursued a couple times and he was strong enough to run through arm tackles and obviously make some big plays. Maynard does a good job in getting on to the edge and he is more deceptive because of his long stride and all of that. Once he gets it going, he takes off. He had a run against Fresno, I think it was about a 50-yarder and that was pretty impressive to watch him go.”

On what he is emphasizing to fix the running game – “We just have to keep doing what we have been doing. We will be doing 9-on-7 line, we will be doing team run line; we just have to keep banging away at it. It was disappointing, our running production, and you will continue to hear me say it, ‘We have to run the football, and we have to be effective at that.’ Some of that was on the backs, the first play of the game, we fumbled the snap and that play had a chance to go a long ways. We had a long run or a decent run called back because of a holding call. We slipped down, the running back slipped and that is a 20-plus yard run. You factor that in with a couple of negative runs that were on pitch or a toss that we ran weak, that is where you get the numbers that we had. It is not acceptable and we will just have to keep working at it and keep going. That is something that we will have to be able to do and hang our hat on is our ability to run the football.”

On the pass protection in the second half – “Really it was a combination of factors. The quarterback has to get rid of the ball, a couple times we got beat up front, then other times it was our receivers not doing what they were supposed to be doing in protection. It was a combination of things. Unfortunately, the offensive line gets a lot of blame when the quarterback gets sacked, but sometimes it is not their fault and not their issue. We have to be better, and when I say we, I mean the whole offense has to be better with some of the things that we are doing in the passing game.”

On the positives he saw in the Hawai’i game – “We didn’t win, and that is the only thing that I wanted out of that game. The defense played very well. I felt we had some missed tackles but that is going to happen a little bit in the first game. It is just a disappointing game. Maybe I can answer that question better next week when I’m not still disappointed about this last game. The kickers did well. All the freshmen played well that played in the game. That is positive. I thought once Tyler [Hansen] got it going, I thought him and P-Rich [Paul Richardson] and Tyler [McCulloch] did some good things. There were a lot of positives, but for me, I wanted to win that game.”

On shaking off the disappointing loss – “I can shake it. Kids are resilient. I’m over it and I’m excited and ready to get going for Cal. It is hard when you lose to talk about positives, for me. But believe me, I’ve put it behind me and I’m ready to go for Cal.”

On changes each week – “I hope we see a significant amount of improvement. One of the things that I was disappointed about was the penalties, self-inflicting fouls. I thought the one was questionable on Parker Orms, the late hit. The run on Ray [Polk], I can live with one of those here-and-there, but it is the offside, the illegal motion, the kicking the ball out of bounds, the delay of game on the punt team – we have a new guy back there personal protecting, and it is a whole new scheme and he was trying to change the call and got stuck and didn’t realized the clock. I don’t expect that to happen again, but the other things, we have to eliminate. I expect to see improvement there. I expect to see improvement in how we start and how we play in a rut. I think we will be better tackling, we need to be. With the nature of our schedule we have to get better every week. I don’t know if that is the coaches saying, ‘You get the most improvements between your first and second games.’ I like to think that the coach that says that is the coach that lost the week before. We have to get better every week and I do expect to see improvement every week as we go on and progress. What that looks like? I think that depends on what happened the week before. For this week, I want to see fewer penalties or be better tackling. I want to see some of those things that we set out to do at the beginning and to see those issues not keep raising their heads, so to speak.”

On guarding against the notion of ‘Here we go again’ – “The kids have been pretty resilient. Malcolm [Blacken] said they did a great job in the weight room, they got after it and worked hard. They ran good, we had a light practice. I don’t know if you have to guard against it, as coaches we have to keep the pressure on them and keep pushing them to get better and once they start having some success, it will breed more success. We have a lot of seniors and they badly want to go out with some kind of success. I think that, ‘Here we go again,’ isn’t an issue at this point.”

On rating how he did in his first game as a head coach – “Not good enough, we didn’t win. I didn’t feel like we had any situations arise where, whether I should have gone for it on fourth down or run a fake or anything like that where the decision is squarely on me. I really thought that we had the kids ready to go, felt like we were fresh and we played fast, we just didn’t do what we needed to do, starting offensively. Obviously I didn’t do a good enough job because we didn’t win. I told the team after the game, ‘We lost.’ The offense didn’t lose, the defense didn’t lose, special teams, we lost. Coaches, we had to be better and that starts with me and there are things that players need to clean up and we all have to work on that together. If you lose, you can’t say you did a good job.”

Stephane Nembot moving to offensive tackle

Stephane Nembot, the 6’7″, 280-pound true freshman from Van Nuys, California (by way of Cameroon), will red-shirt this fall.

That information, in and of itself, is not a surprise. Nembot has only two years of experience with football, and would be well served taking this year to bulk up his large frame, while at the same time learning the nuances of the college game.

What was a suprise is that Nembot will be moving to the offensive side of the ball, and will be learning the trade of an offensive tackle.

“We will redshirt Nembot,” Jon Embree said Tuesday. “He wants to play offensive tackle. He just said he felt more comfortable over there. We’ll start working him there today and give him a chance to grow, learn the system.

“He’s got great feet, so I think he can be a natural tackle.”

September 5th

Jon Embree Post-Practice Quotes

On the energy of the team in the first practice after the Hawai’i game: “They had good energy. They were disappointed. I told them, and I’m going to tell them this every week. ‘It doesn’t matter if we win or lose, we have to get ready for the next week’. We don’t have time to dwell on the week before.”

On reviewing the game film – “On the offensive side, just very uncharacteristic. The mistakes, like the center/QB exchange, that was disappointing. It was good to seem them come out and play well in the second half, but we have to play like that from the beginning. Defensively, it was just tackling. I keep telling them, ‘tackling is getting more than one guy to the ball’. When you have one guy, it could be a mismatch. On special teams, we have to be better in our coverage, that hurt us twice. So we’re going to look at what we have to do there to fix that.”

On the failures of the offensive line – “It was really some technique stuff with those guys … We’ve been better. We have. We’ve been better, so it was disappointing. But it isn’t always just the offensive line. Sometimes its the receivers, sometimes its the quarterback – it wasn’t always them.”

On the play of centers Daniel Munyer and Gus Handler – “They both played well. Gus was in there and messed up the count snapping, and Munyer was in there on the fumbled C/QB (exchange on the first play of the game). Overall, they were good on targets, making calls (at the line of scrimmage), so they were good with that.”

On changes in the depth chart – “No. Not initially. I’m sure there will be some guys playing more than others. We’ll keep looking at guys. We’ll keep evaluating our returners. Every week, we’re going to keep on evaluating them, trying to get our best guys out there. Trying to put ourselves in the best opportunity to win.”

On whether the Cal game is a “Brick” game – “Yes. There are going to be eight opportunities probably this year. The big disappointment is that we are going to have the Big 12 championship team coming back, and (the bricks) are not going to be up. They understand what’s at stake, and understand what they have to do. So, we’ll see ….”.

David Bakhtiari “day-to-day”

The only significant injury to come out of the Hawai’i game was suffered by starting offensive tackle David Bakhtiari. The sophomore left tackle suffered a sprain knee in the first half, and did not return. “(Bakhtiari) is a great player and he is a great tackle. That hurts us a lot,” quarterback Tyler Hansen said after the game. “Hopefully he’s all right, because that definitely messed up a little of our chemistry.”

On Monday, Bakhtiari was listed as “day-to-day” with an MCL sprain to his knee. “They say he is doing well so we’ll see when he is able to go,” Embree said.

Granted, the absence of one starter in the second half does not excuse the 17 net yards rushing the Buffs posted against Hawai’i, nor does it erase the memory of the seven sacks administered upon Tyler Hansen.

But any hint of good news when it comes to the offensive line is welcome.

Recall that last year, when Colorado lost to Cal, 52-7, offensive line protection was a major issue. Last September in Berkeley, Tyler Hansen was sacked …

… you guessed it.

Seven times.

2001 team hopes to bring good karma to Folsom Field

In 2001, Colorado won its only Big 12 championship.

In 2001, the Buffs opened the season with a loss to a mid-major team.

Perhaps it will be of some service to the 2011 team to have the 2001 team on hand for the season opener against Cal.

Coach Gary Barnett and most of the roster that put a historic whooping on Nebraska and upset Texas to claim the title will reunite just as the 1990 national championship team did last fall.

A handful of players still under contracts in the National Football League and most of the coaching staff from that season won’t be able to attend because they will be competing in games elsewhere this weekend, but many familiar faces such as quarterback Bobby Pesavento, running back Bobby Purify, linebacker Sean Tufts and offensive lineman Victor Rogers will be on hand to celebrate the 10th anniversary of a 10-3 season that many believe should have ended with the Buffs playing for the national title.

Recall that the 2000 Buff team finished 3-8, and little was expected of the Buffs in 2001.

“We had a bunch of seniors and a good group of seniors who were just determined to go out at the end of their career on top or as close to being on top as possible,” Pesavento said. “And lastly, we just had really damn good football players. We had a bunch of guys who were just really good and jelled well together and cheered for one another. It was one of those situations where we would do anything for the guy next to us.”

Colorado is heavily laden with seniors this year. Seniors who vowed this off-season to work towards posting a winning season and a bowl trip, leaving with a winning team as their legacy.

The Buffs will have to go 7-5 the rest of the way to make a bowl, with six games still to be played on the road.

Here’s hoping the 2001 team provides some real inspiration this Saturday …

One Reply to “Colorado Daily – Cal”

  1. Bummer about Nembot was hoping to see a RB come around the end and Nembot just
    putting his arm out and taking his head off. Oh well maybe a OLB will get it next year.

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