The Colorado Daily – January, 2011

January 30th

Speedy takes on the 60-meter dash

Rodney Stewart, long before he rushed for 1,318 yards for Colorado in 2010, had earned the nickname “Speedy”. In high school in Westerville, Ohio, Stewart lettered four times in track, and was a member of the 2005 state championship team.

This spring, Stewart has joined the CU track team, and will participate in the 60-meter dash. “Yeah, I’m excited about it,” Stewart told CUBuffs.com. “I don’t know if the 60 is my best event, because I haven’t done it yet. But I’m looking forward to finding out.”

Stewart is participating in track with the consent of head football coach Jon Embree and strength and conditioning coach Malcolm Bracken. “We sat down with the weight coach, coach Embree and Stewart and talked about the parameters of how it’s going to work out,” said CU Sprint Coach Drew Morano. “We came to an understanding about how all of us could benefit from it.” The indoor track season ends the same day spring practice begins (March 11th), but Stewart could conceivably participate in virtually all of the indoor track season.

Stewart, despite his speed, will have some work to do to make an impact on the Colorado sprint team. Sophomore Joe Morris recently set a school record in the event (6.63 seconds), with juniors A.J. Whitaker (6.72) and Quinton Dodson (6.72) not far behind. “(Stewart) has got some really, really good competition just within the team,” said Morano. “We have three guys in the top 20 in the Big 12 right now, so we’re doing really well.”

In Stewart’s first competition on Saturday, an all-comers meet at the Air Force Academy, Joe Morris won the 60-meter dash with a time of 6.70. Quinton Dodson was third (6.83), while A.J. Whitaker was fourth (6.89). Rodney Stewart came in 11th in the event, with a time of 7.12. Stewart’s name wasn’t even spelled correctly in the results, as the Buff running back was listed as “Rodney Steward”.

No problem. When Stewart came to Colorado, he was a signing day “throw in” running back. All of the attention was on the signing of Darrell Scott, with Ray Polk seen as another great running back pickup by the Buffs. Stewart was an after-thought – a potential kick returner.

So it might be a bit too soon to write off Speedy’s track career just yet …

 

January 28th

UConn donor wants his money back

In case you haven’t read the back story … UConn booster Robert G. Burton donated $3 million to the athletic department, and got his name on a buidling in return. Now, displeased that he was not consulted by UConn athletic director Jeff Hathaway when Hathaway hired new football head coach Paul Pasqualoni, Burton wants his name taken off of the building …

… and he wants his money back.

Burton sent a six-page letter to Hathaway, which has since been made public, severely criticizing Hathaway for not including Burton in the hiring process. While athletic departments around the country have criticized the reasoning behind the letter (“that really never happened here,” said Oklahoma fund-raiser Matt Roberts), and have supported Hathaway, “It’s ridiculous what that guy tried to do,” said Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne. “Jeff Hathaway is a good AD”), there is certainly an understanding in college athletics that booster involvement is a problem.

Penn State head coach Joe Paterno once said, “We want your money, but not your two cents.”

How does this relate to Colorado?

Well, it appears that there will be an annoucement shortly about a “Football Excellence Fund”, where Colorado donors can contribute directly to the football team to help pay for everything from travel to coaches’ salaries. Whether this will be in lieu of the “50 for 50” concept (50 boosters were to contribute $1 million each), or whether some of those donors will help to kick off the campaign, is unclear.

What is certain is that what happened in Connecticut will enter the discussion in Boulder. One of the first questions raised when the “50 for 50” concept was introduced went to influence over the athletic department. What say would these boosters have in decisions made by the athletic department? What control over hiring and firing would these boosters maintain? When the “Football Excellence Fund” is introduced, these questions will be raised anew.

Some schools try and accomodate their biggest boosters (“You try and be a little sensitive to the people if you can, within reason, to keep them informed” said Georgia athletic director Vince Dooley).

Others quietly capitulate … Remember about ten years ago, when the University of Oregon joined the Workers Rights Consortium, which criticized Nike’s labor practices? Nike founder – and Oregon alumnus – said he was going to withdraw his support to the University as a result. The next thing you know, the University dropped out of the consortium, and Knight has since dropped over $145 million into improving Oregon’s facilities.

Where Colorado will fall in the spectrum of booster influence remains to be seen. I am hopeful that the “Football Excellence Fund” will be a huge success (and yes, I intend to contribute).

But what happened at UConn this week will certainly be raised as a cautionary tale as to how that fund will be administered.

January 27th

Jeff Smart named graduate assistant

Former Colorado and Boulder high school linebacker Jeff Smart has joined Jon Embree’s staff as a defensive graduate assistant.

Smart was an invited walk-on to the Colorado program in 2005. After his red-shirt season, Smart’s career started slowly, as Smart saw action in eleven games in 2006, but, other than seven plays from scrimmage on defense, played only on special teams. In Smart’s sophomore season, he became a mainstay at linebacker, starting the last ten games of the year and finishing third on the team in tackles.

In his junior year, Smart started every game, earning second-team All-Big 12 honors in leading the team in tackles (with 118). Smart became just the third walk-on in school history to lead the team in tackles, and the first since Ryan Sutter in 1997. Smart was given the Tom McMahon award, bestowed upon the player showing the most dedication and best work ethic, the Greg Biekert award for attention to detail, and the Iron Buffalo award amongst the linebackers for hard work, dedication, and toughness during spring strength and conditioning.

As a senior, Smart was second on the team in tackles (with 93, just three behind team leader Cha’pelle Brown). Smart was named third team All-Big 12, again won the Greg Biekert award, and won the Dave Jones award, given to the team’s outstanding defensive player. Smart missed only one start in his last two seasons, finishing his career with 33 starts and 291 tackles, 18th on the Buffs’ all-time list.

Taking a look at Smart’s resume, it sounds like he will be a good fit as Colorado’s new defensive graduate assistant.

Welcome back, Jeff!

January 26th

Nate Solder impressive at the Senior Bowl

Todd McShay, from Scouts.com, is doing a blog on the Senior Bowl this week. Here is what he had to say about Colorado’s offensive tackle Nate Solder:

“On the other side of the ball, Solder continues to be dominant. The thing that’s impressed me is how stong he’s been at the point of attack and finishing. We knew about his size and natural feet, and he’s been all those things, but he’s been nasty this week and it’s been good to see. There are no cheap shots, but a couple of times when he could have finished a play a little easier, he just finished the guy. He buried Purdue’s Ryan Kerrigan (who has a first-round grade) on Monday, and he went on the second level to pancake Boston College LB Mark Herzlich on one play and Ohio State’s Ross Homan on another.

His play here is starting to match the size and athleticism we’ve seen on film, and that hasn’t always been the case. For months, we’ve been talking about an offensive tackle class that has a lot of good players but no one who stood out. Solder is starting to show he’s the most complete lineman.

Now, we know we’re just midway through the week, but if (Texas A&M linebacker Von) Miller and Solder continue to perform both on and off the field in the last few days the way they have the first few here in Mobile, they’ll join an elite fraternity of players, including Cushing, Matthews and Raji, who played their way to the top of the class.”

Well done, Nate!

January 25th

Washington schools writing checks

The checks for the new Pac-12 conference championship game have yet to be written, but the Washington Huskies and Washington State Cougars are already spending like there is no tomorrow.

Washington extends Sarkisian’s contract

Remember, oh, about three months ago, when Washington was 3-6, 2-4 in the Pac-10, and coming off three straight humbling losses (44-14 to Arizona; 41-0 to Stanford; and 53-16 to Oregon)? Anyone figure second-year head coach Steve Sarkisian for a contract extension?

Well, four wins later, including a Holiday Bowl win over Nebraska, and the Huskies are upping the ante.

Washington coach Steve Sarkisian received a new contract this week, paying him $2.25 million next season, rising to $2.85 million in 2015. The old contract, which had three years left to run, would have paid Sarkisian $2 million in 2011, going as high as $2.3 million in the final year of the contract, 2013.

Not bad for a coach with an overall record of 12-13, 9-9 in conference play.

Sarkisian’s contract keeps him on par with California’s Jeff Tedford, trailing only USC’s Lane Kiffin (about $4 million per year), and Oregon’s Chip Kelly ($20.5 million over six years, or roughly $3.4 million per season). Buyout terms were also adjusted in Sarkisian’s favor, with “Sark” to get 70 percent of guaranteed money if he is fired (up from 60 percent), with the buyout reduced from $3 million to $2.5 million for the first two years of the contract, going down to $1.5 million in year three, and $1 million in years four and five of the contract.

One side note to give Buff fans a smile … The last time Washington gave an existing coach a new contract? In 2002, when the Huskies extended Rick Neuheisal’s contract after a 7-6 season.

Ya’ just never know …

Washington State expanding facilities

“The self image (at Washington State) is an underdog,” said Washington State athletic director Bill Moos. “And I’m not okay with that”.

To try and remedy the situation, Moos has proposed expansion of the football stadium from its present 35,000 seats to 38,000- to 40,000 seats, with an additional 100,000 square foot football operations facility at the west end of the stadium that would include offices, locker rooms, and equipment and training facilities.

The price tag? About $70 million. The Cougars have raised $17 million. “Ideally, we’d like to raise another $15 to $20 million,” said Moos, with bonds to finance the remainder. “If we’re fortunate enough to get it approved, then we can come back in with a new energy to attract more donors.”

Moos sees Washington State’s path back to respectibility will come through recruiting, and recruits like newer, better, and bigger facilities. “These young people are making a huge decision,” said Moos. “They need to hear what commitment is from the administration.”

Sounds like what Colorado is trying to do – and needs to – in order to compete in the new Pac-12.

Can’t wait for that new television contract!

Mountain West not expanding

The Mountain West Conference will not be expanding to include either Utah State or Hawai’i as full members.

In July, BYU will leave as an independent, with Utah leaving for the Pac-12. Boise State will join the league, which in 2011 will consist of: TCU; New Mexico; UNLV; San Diego State; Colorado State; Wyoming; Boise State; and Air Force.

Eight will be enough for 2011.

In 2012, the Mountain West will lose TCU, with Fresno State and Nevada joining in all sports. Hawai’i will join for football only, with the other Warrior teams competing in the Big West. Utah State, which had been tendered an offer to join the Mountain West last summer, but declined, was not extended an offer to join the conference in any capacity.

January 24th

UCLA & Cal lose coordinators

In one of the worst kept secrets of 2011, offensive coordinator Norm Chow has left UCLA for Utah. Chow has been rumored to be on the list of coaches head coach Rick Neuheisel was going to replace ever since the Bruins 4-8 season came to a close with a 28-14 loss to USC on December 4th. It didn’t happen until this past weekend, though, and Chow has no regrets.

“We’re disappointed it didn’t turn out the way we had hoped it would, but it wasn’t because of a lack of effort or a lack of teamwork,” said Chow. “Rick and I are friends. I feel like we worked very, very well together, and it’s just unfortunate that the results didn’t show that.”

Mike Johnson, formerly of the San Francisco 49ers, has taken over as offensive coordinator. While the Pistol offense from last year “will be a part” of the new offense, Johnson will wait to see what he has to work with. “I believe you develop an offense around the talent you have, you don’t make the talent fit into a certain offense,” said Johnson, who added, in words he may later regret … “I know Rick wants to be involved in the play calling, and I have no problem with that”. Famous last words …

UCLA still has one other coordinator position to fill, as Bruin defensive coordinator Chuck Bullough was fired December 18th. Former Miami coach Randy Shannon is reportedly interviewing for the position.

Meanwhile, up in Berkeley …

Offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig has left Cal to become the offensive coordinator at San Diego State. Rather than worry about how the loss of a coordinator a week before signing day might have a negative impact upon the team and recruiting, Bear fans seem to have no regrets in losing Ludwig.

There are several options for Cal head coach Jeff Tedford in naming a new offensive coordinator. Tedford could do the play-calling himself; turn the reigns over to newly hired offensive line coach Jim Michalczik (who was hired to replace Steve Marshall, who left Cal to become the Buffs’ new offensive line coach), or promote his wide receivers coach to offensive coordinator, one Eric Kiesau.

Small world, eh?

Two Buffs in the Super Bowl

Green Bay has two former Buffs on its roster, kicker Mason Crosby and linebacker Brad Jones (on injured reserve).

From the Pac-12, there are 14 players on the rosters of the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers, but no team has more than two. The breakdown: Colorado; California; USC; Oregon State; UCLA; and Utah, two apiece; Oregon and Arizona State each have one; while Washington, Arizona, Washington State, and Stanford were shut out.

January 22nd

“I’m not going to tolerate this behavior”

Three Colorado football players are, according to a Denver Post article, “being investigated” on charges of vandalism. The incident took place last Saturday just after 3:00 a..m., at City View Lofts in Denver. Sophomore offensive lineman Bryce Givens, sophomore defensive tackle Will Pericak, and offensive guard Eric Richter were caught on surveillance cameras kicking three cars.

One of the victims, Jimmy Do, said he was not going to pursue charges since the group had agreed to pay for damages. “We were trying to figure out a situation where we leave the legalities out of it and the police out of it,” Do told the Denver Post. “We struck something in between, with them doing some community service and work around the building. They paid for everything. They told their coach … We’re not out to ruin their lives. It was just a dumb mistake.”

Colorado head coach Jon Embree issued a statement on Friday. “I am in the process of meeting with all of the players involved in the incident,” said Embree. “I understand they have met with the victims and have offered apologies and restitution, and while that is appropriate, they will also face team and university sanctions … While I cannot reveal what those penalties migh be, I will say that I’m not going to tolerate this kind of behavior … I am serving notice to every current and future member of our team that I will not excuse off-the-field conduct that involves violence, vandalism, or any actions that dishonor this university or this program.”

A few thoughts … First, for the players involved: Really? Kicking in cars at 3:00 in the morning? All “boys will be boys” excuses aside, certainly these three large individuals could find something better to do at that time of day. Second, for the Denver Post and John Henderson: Why the hate? Yes, it was a new story, but nothing in the story corroborates the headline: “CU players under investigation for vandalism”. Every aspect in the story, including the quotes from the victim, indicate that the matter was handled privately, and that there will be no criminal charges. The headline suggests otherwise. (Can we send Henderson back to Oregon, so he can cheer more openly for his Ducks, and get Neill Woelk to move back here from Oregon?).

Finally, a shout out to head coach Jon Embree. You have to appreciate his “no tolerance” policy. Embree is trying to restore prestige to the program, and one way to do that is to send a clear message to the team and the community that he will hold his team to a higher standard, and that he expects his players to meet that challenge.

 

January 21st

Daily Camera buys out Longmont Times-Call

It was announced Friday that the publisher of the Boulder Daily Camera, Prairie Mountain Publishing, has bought out the publisher of the Longmont Times-Call, Lehman Communications. No immediate changes in either newpaper was expected.

I only report this as news to Buff fans in order to give a shout out to Longmont Times-Call reporter Brian Howell, who does an excellent job of covering Colorado sports. Howell gets great quotes and incites from players and coaches that you don’t find in other papers. It’s always good to have an extra set of eyes and ears at Colorado games and practices, and I hope that the change in ownership will not lead to a diminshed role for the Times Call in covering Colorado athletics.

January 19th

But Texas is still a loyal member of the Big 1 2 …

ESPN and the University of Texas will combine to put together a 24-hour Texas television network. The new network, worth $300 million over the next 20 years, will include exclusive coverage of at least one football game, eight men’s basketball games, and coverage of women’s basketball games not otherwise televised. There will be pre-game and post-game shows for every football and basketball game, and coaches’ shows for every sport.

And, oh yes, there will be university news, coverage of lectures and visiting speakers. The UT orchestra might even get on … at 4:00 a.m.

“This network is a testament to the school’s remarkable, tradition-rich success and widespread, devoted fan base,” said ESPN president George Bodenheimer. “What an exciting day for Texas athletics,” said Texas football coach Mack Brown.

For the record, University of Texas president William Powers stated that the Longhorns are “firmly committed” to the Big 12. Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds even had the audacity to wonder out loud about how the break up of the Big 12 might hurt Texas. “If something happened and the Big 12 would dissolve in some way – which would not be caused by us because we’re not going to do that – who would take us with our network?”, said Dodds.

Really?

Figuring folks in Manhattan and Ames are excited about the most recent sign that the Big 12 has been reduced to Texas, Oklahoma, and everybody else?

Another Former Buff arrested

Michael O’Conner, a junior walk-on linebacker at Colorado, has been arrested in connection with the sexual assault case which also led to the arrest of former linebacker Michael Sipili. O’Conner, 21, turned himself in after a felony count of accessory to sexual assault was filed.

O’Conner was a walk-on who was listed on the 2010 roster, but did not play during the season. O’Conner came to Colorado via Englewood high school in Denver and Fort Lewis College, and was in Boulder only for the 2010 season.

O’Conner is not presently listed as being a member of the team.

January 18th

Under the lights?

In an interview, Colorado head coach Jon Embree indicated that the Colorado spring game, scheduled for Saturday, April 9th, will be conducted at night.

Certainly, the move is a positive one to try and help generate excitement for the program, and more participation from the student body. On the downside, the Spring Game had been known as a “family friendly” event, with smaller Buff fans mixing it up with the players the morning before the game. Hopefully, some form of the family friendly traditions will continue.

Now, about the weather. Any game in April is subject to tougher weather conditions. And at night … who knows?

Another former CU coach finds a job

Former Colorado offensive line coach Denver Johnson is heading home.

Johnson was named this week as the new offensive line coach for the Golden Hurricane, returning Johnson to Tulsa, from which he graduated in 1981.

USC loses wide receivers coach to the NFL

USC wide receivers coach John Morton today joined the staff of the San Francisco 49ers. At San Francisco, Morton will be reunited with former Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh, with whom Morton shared assistant coaching duties with the Oakland Raiders in 2002 and 2003 (Morton also coached with Harbaugh at the University of San Diego).

Before you get too excited about purging a wide receiver recruit away from USC, though, don’t. USC has two wide receiver commitments for the Class of 2011, five-star prospect George Farmer (the No. 1 wide receiver recruit in the nation, according to Rivals), and four-star receiver Victor Blackwell (No. 13 wide receiver nationally, according to Scout) … and neither recruit had Colorado on their list of potential schools.

One side note … In looking up the USC commitment list, I was surprised to see that USC has not one, not two, but eight junior college players who signed this past December.

An interesting twist as to how USC is trying to deal with the loss of ten scholarships per season for the next three years (pending a hearing on USC’s appeal later this week).

January 16th

Eight fewer players to account for

The deadline for players to announce their eligibility for the 2011 NFL draft came and went on January 15th. While several notable players have stated that they will play, including Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, a total of eight players are not going to be on the sidelines when Colorado prepares for the 2011 schedule.

USC will be without two players, defensive tackle Jurrell Casey and offensive tackle Tyron Smith. In 2010, Casey registered 67 tackles, including five sacks (he also had an interception). Smith this past season won the Pac-10’s Morris trophy. The Morris trophy is given out to the conference’s top offensive lineman, as voted on by the conference’s defensive linemen.

Utah also had two players opt for the NFL draft, cornerback Brandon Burton and defensive tackle Sealver Siliga. Burton was a two year starter at cornerback for the Utes, and was a second-team All-Mountain West selection in 2010, while Siliga was a two-time honorable mention All-Mountain West player, finishing 2010 with 28 1/2 tackles and 1 1/2 sacks.

UCLA is the third 2011 opponent which will suit up without two of its stars. Linebacker Akeem Ayers was a second-team Walter Camp All-American, and a Butkus award finalist. In earning first-team All-Pac-10 honors, Ayers had 68 tackles, four sacks, ten tackles for loss, and two interceptions. The other Bruin turning pro is safety Rahim Moore, was a Sporting News first-team All-American. Moore was third on the team with 77 tackles, and finished his UCLA career with 14 interceptions. Both players were third-team AP All-Americans.

One player from Arizona State is turning pro, defensive tackle Lawrence Guy. Guy was a three-year starter for the Sun Devils, collecting 41 tackles last season, including six for loss. The final potential Buff opponent going without one of its stars next fall is Stanford, which will play without defensive end Thomas Keiser. A two-year starter, Keiser had 109 total tackles and 19 1/2 sacks in 38 career games (28 starts).

All of the above players were juniors in 2010. If Colorado adds/retains California on the 2011 schedule, you can add Cal running back Shane Vereen to the list.

January 13th

Nate Solder says he is a “Colorado Man through and through”

Colorado’s All-American offensive tackle has sent out an open letter to the Buff Nation, once again showing that he is a class act, both on and off the field …

To the Colorado student body, alumni, and Buffs fans everywhere:

Despite some trying times on the gridiron, my time here at Colorado has been fantastic. I have enjoyed three memorable victories over our arch-rival in the Rocky Mountain Showdown and relished triumphs over perennial powerhouses like Georgia, West Virginia, and Oklahoma. Most of all though, I will never forget the friends that I’ve met and the lessons that I have learned during my time here. Your support and encouragement have been amazing, and I can never thank you enough for allowing me the privilege to represent this fine university, both on and off the football field.

While our team may have fallen short of reaching a bowl game these past few years, it was not for lack of effort, or heart, or leadership. We gave our best every day, and I leave here with the knowledge and confidence that my teammates will deliver a bright future for you in the new athletic conference that awaits us. Believe me, I can’t wait for us to beat the Cornhuskers in the Rose Bowl soon enough.

I leave Boulder with a heavy heart, but the great times I experienced here will never be forgotten. I am a Colorado Man through and through and a forever Buff. Thanks for everything.

Go Buffs,

Nate Solder

No, Nate … Thank you for everything!

Best of luck in the NFL, and in all of your future endeavors.

Stanford promotes offensive coordinator

The front-runner from the beginning, Stanford offensive coordinator David Shaw has been promoted to head coach.

Shaw has been in charge with Stanford’s explosive offense for the past four years, having come to Palo Alto along with Jim Harbaugh from San Diego when Jim Harbaugh in 2007. Shaw is a Stanford alumnus, having played wide receiver for the Cardinal from 1991-94. He also has experience with three NFL teams. Shaw, 38, is the son of former Oakland Raider and Stanford assistant coach Willie Shaw.

Shaw’s first order of business is to try and assemble a staff. The other two internal candidates for the head coaching job, associate head coach Greg Roman and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, will have other options, including joining Jim Harbaugh with the San Francisco 49ers.

 

January 12th

Stanford search winding down

Stanford may have a head coach by the end of this week, and it is looking like it could be offensive coordinator David Shaw who will be named to replace Jim Harbaugh.

With Brady Hoke leaving for Michigan, removing one option, and Boise State head coach Chris Petersen stating that he  is content staying at Boise State, removing another, Stanford athletic director Bob Bowlsby may have to stay with either Shaw, associate head coach Greg Roman, or defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. There are reports that Roman, who has 13 years of NFL experience, and Fangio, a three-time NFL coordinator, may go along with Harbaugh to the  San Francisco 49ers.

Shaw was considered a prospect for the Colorado head coaching job, but was not interviewed. Shaw is a Stanford graduate, and coached with Harbaugh both at San Diego (2006-07) and at Stanford (2007-10).

According to Rivals, Stanford only has three players taking their official visits this weekend, and two of those have already given their verbal commitments to Stanford. As a result, the announcement of a new coach is not crucial for the Cardinal this week …

… but it will likely get done.

If, and it is still a big “if”, Stanford looks outside Palo Alto for a new head coach, two names have surfaced. One is Mike Riley, the current head coach at Oregon State. Riley was in the running for the Stanford job three years ago when Jim Harbaugh was named, and Riley may be given a second look. Oregon State did give Riley an extension last season, a “lifetime contract” … but Colorado fans know how those can work out.

The other name being mentioned is Yale coach Tom Williams. ESPN is reporting that Williams spoke with Stanford athletic director Bob Bowlsby about the position Wednesday. Williams played linebacker for Stanford from 1989-92, and was captain his senior year. Williams was an assistant at Stanford from 2002-04, and most recently has been the head coach at New Haven. In two seasons as the head coach at Yale, Williams has posted records of 4-6 and 7-3.

January 11th

Sipili arrested

Former Colorado linebacker Michael Sipili was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of sexual assault.

Sipili turned himself in around 10:30 a.m., and his being held on $100,000 bond in the Boulder County jail. According to police, a 22-year old woman reported that she was sexually assaulted by Sipili on December 4th. The woman told police that she and another female friend met a group of males at a downtown bar in Boulder, and agreed to hang out with them at a local residence. Police say that Sipili engaged in sexual activity with the woman without her consent.

In a press release, CU athletic director Mike Bohn issued a statement, stating that he was “extremely disappointed and troubled to learn of these allegations”. Head football coach Jon Embree said he would not tolerate personal misconduct or violence against women. “It is a privilege to be a University of Colorado Buffalo,” Embree said. “We have to hold ourselves to high standards of personal conduct, and if our players don’t embrace that, they will lose that privilege.” The statement went on to point out the number of reforms the school has implemented since a string of sexual assault allegations were levied against members of the football team almost a decade ago.

Sipili led the Buffs in tackles in 2010, with the senior registering 94 tackles, including 3 1/2 sacks and seven tackles for loss. While in Boulder, Sipili had other brushes with the law. In 2007, he was arrested on charges of punching another CU student, pleading guilty to misdemeanor assault. Sipili was suspended from the team in 2007, but was reinstated for the 2008 season.

A chilling note at the end of the CU press release: The University did not know if others will be charged … However, it should be noted that the police were contacted the morning of December 4th, and the police have been investigating for over a month. It would be a logical assumption that if other charges were going to be filed, they would have been …

Michigan goes with “Plan A” for its next head coach

Times are tough for Wolverine fans.

It’s bad enough that Michigan has only beaten Ohio State once in the past decade. Now the fans of the blue-and-maize have to pretend to be excited about Michigan hiring San Diego State Brady Hoke.

Jim Harbaugh? Off to the NFL. Les Miles? Staying in the bayou.

Instead, Michigan gets a native of Ohio whose biggest accomplishment was having one great season at his alma mater … Ball State. “The job was never offered to them,” said Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon, speaking about Harbaugh and Miles. “We did have different discussions with them that were helpful and positive.” Brandon insisted that hiring Hoke, who was an assistant coach for one season (1997) at Michigan, was Plan A. “Brady Hoke understands Michigan, and he wanted this job because it has been his dream job,” said Brandon of Hoke, who also interviewed for the Minnesota coaching position after only two years at San Diego State. “We won’t have to teach him the words to ‘The Victors’, and I believe our players will respond to him.”

Color me skeptical. Hoke’s career record is 45-50, and has coached teams to winning seasons in only three of his eight years as a head coach. Hoke turned around his alma mater, Ball State, but, after one good season, left for San Diego State. After two years with the Aztecs, Hoke was openly shopping around for another job.

Is Michigan Hoke’s dream job? If he is successful, will he cast his eyes on the NFL? If he is not successful …?

Oregon State loses one brother; keeps another

Oregon State junior tailback Jacquizz Rodgers will be turning pro this spring.

Rodgers, a 5’7″, 191-pound junior, finishes with 3,877 career rushing yards, second in school history. Rodgers was also the Beavers’ career receiving leader amongst running backs, with 151 career catches.

Meanwhile Rodgers’ older brother, James, will return to Corvallis next fall. Rodgers was given a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA after suffering a knee injury early last season.

While Colorado would not have faced either Rodgers as the Buffs do not play Oregon State in 2011, the announcement is significant, as Jacquizz Rodgers would have been a significant contributor for a team trying to stay with two top five teams in their own division, Oregon and Stanford.

January 10th

Petersen says “no thanks” to Stanford

Boise State head coach Chris Petersen will be staying with the Broncos.

Petersen issued a statement, going only so far as to say he “would continue directing the football program”. Petersen also welcomed his new offensive coordinator, Brent Pease, and his receivers coach, Robert Prince. Pease did not have to spend much time getting reacquainted, as he was the receivers coach for Boise State last seaason. On December 30th, Pease took the offensive coordinator’s job at Indiana … before Boise State offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin took the same job at Texas, prompting Pease to return to Boise.

The name Robert Prince will be familiar to Buff fans, as Prince was the passing game coordinator for Colorado last season. Prince is also familiar with Boise, having been the wide receivers coach for Boise State – and Dan Hawkins – in 2001 and 2002.

So where will Stanford turn? … With Petersen out of the picture, the guess is that the Cardinal will likley turn in-house, choosing between offensive coordinator David Shaw and associate head coach Greg Roman. Both have had discussions with Stanford athletic director Bob Bowlsby.  

Les Miles the front-runner for Michigan job?

ESPN is reporting that Les Miles will be meeting with Michigan on Tuesday. Miles, who played at Michigan, and was an assistant coach in the early 1980’s, did not commit to anything on Monday. Miles said he was “extremely happy” at LSU, and that he could not speculate on any potential meetings with Michigan.

Meanwhile, another source indicated that, if Miles does not work out, that Michigan will turn to San Diego State head coach Brady Hoke.

 

January 9th

Les Miles to interview for Michigan job?

Stop me if you have heard this before …

Three years after LSU head coach Les Miles was a potential candidate for the head coaching job at Michigan, Miles is a candidate again.

In 2008, Michigan opted for West Virginia head coach Rich Rodriguez instead of Miles, with poor results. Now, three seasons later, Rodriguez is unemployed and Miles has posted three more successful seasons with the Tigers. ESPN is reporting that Miles is trying to finalize a time and place to talk with Michigan. LSU athletic director Joe Alleva, however, reports that he has not been contacted by Michigan about meeting with Miles. “I have not been contacted by anyone from the University of Michigan about Les Miles,” said Alleva. “Les Miles is LSU’s head coach, and we are going to do everything we can to keep it that way.”

Why the interest in Miles?

Miles is a “Michigan man”, an offensive lineman under Bo Schembechler before later joining the staff as an assistant. In 1982, Miles left with the Michigan staff with the Wolverines’ defensive coordinator when the defensive coordinator was offered a head coaching job in the Big Eight.

The defensive coordinator’s name? Bill McCartney.

January 8th

Stanford looking in-house?

With less than a month before signing day, and a strong recruiting class already lined up, Stanford may look in house for its next coach.

Jim Harbaugh is off to the NFL, but Stanford athletic director Bob Bowlsby may not be utilizing a nationwide search. The next Stanford head coach may come from a list of existing coaches: assistant head coach Greg Roman; offensive coordinator David Shaw (who would be my pick); and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio.

Quarterback Andrew Luck has already stated that he will return to Stanford next fall, regardless of who is the new coach, but continuity on the part of the Cardinal coaching staff would only serve to solidify Luck’s decision.

Utah already out of debt

Colorado and Utah are joining the Pac-12 together, but not on equal financial footing.

The Big 12 Buffs, in sacrificing its “exit fee” from the Big 12, going without a full share of revenues from the Pac-12 in 2011, and paying off Dan Hawkins, are looking at a $15-$17 million “shortfall” over the next few seasons, as Colorado waits for Pac-12 revenues to start to flow in.

Utah, meanwhile, is only about $2 million short, as that is all the Utes were expecting to receive from the Mountain West Conference next fall.

Make that “was” only about $2 million short.

Utah will forego all television revenue from the Pac-12 in 2011, but the new $25 million contract with Fox Sports is “new” revenue, as it is for the extra nine regular season conference games Fox can televise, along with the championship game. The revenue sharing agreement of the new Pac-12 will net Utah about $2 million. “What it does is allow us to start the year without a $2 million deficit, which is what we were looking at,” said Utah athletic director Chris Hill. “It’s obviously good news”.

Unlike Colorado, Utah will not be a full partner in the Pac-12 until 2014-15. After foregoing revenue in 2011-12, Utah will receive 50 percent revenue in 2012-13, 75 percent in 2013-14, before becoming a full-share member in 2014-15.

But then again, Utah doesn’t really mind.

January 7th

Harbaugh agrees to deal with San Francisco 49ers

ESPN is reporting that Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh has agreed to become the next head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. “Sources” are confirming that Harbaugh will sign a five-year, $25 million contract.

Harbaugh reportedly met with Stanford officials on Thursday, in order to give the Cardinal one last chance at retaining their coach. Stanford, which had offered a contract extension and salary increase to Harbaugh in December, reportedly upped their offer even higher, but it was not enough to persuade Harbaugh to stay.

Two candidates whose names are familiar to Buff fans are already being circulated as possible replacements for Harbaugh. One is Stanford offensive coordinator David Shaw, who was considered a candidate for the Colorado head coaching job a month ago. The other is Boise State’s Chris Petersen, who has had a tremendous five year run as the head coach of the Broncos.

Andrew Luck, the Stanford quarterback, was not swayed by Harbaugh’s announcement. Luck stated that he still intends to return to play for Stanford next fall.

UCLA safety also going pro

Rahim Moore, rated the best safety prospect in the nation by one draft expert, will forego his senior season at UCLA and participate in the 2011 NFL draft.

“It’s time to move on,” said Moore, who had 77 tackles last season. “I have a chance to fulfill a dream, so why not take it?”. Moore is a two-time All-American, and ranks fourth in UCLA history with 14 interceptions.

The list of Pac-12 players going pro has reached seven:

Joining Moore in the NFL from UCLA is linebacker Akeem Ayers

USC loses two players – defensive tackle Jurrell Casey and offensive tackle Tyron Smith.

Cal running back Shane Vereen;

Utah will play without cornerback Brandon Burton; and

defensive end Thomas Keiser of Stanford.

On Friday, Arizona State All-Pac-10 cornerback Omar Bolden announced that he will return for his senior season. With 20 starters coming back in 2011, some are considering Arizona State to be an early favorite to represent the Pac-12 South in the first Pac-12 championship game.

 

 

January 6th

Andrew Luck says “no thanks” to the NFL

Colorado travel to Pal Alto on October 8th, and the Buffs may be taking on the front-runner for the Heisman trophy when they do so.

Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, the likely the No. 1 pick in the 2011 NFL draft, will instead play for Stanford one more fall. “I am committed to earning my degree in architectural design from Stanford University, and am on track to accomplish this at the completion of  the spring quarter of 2012,” said Luck in a statement released by the University.

Not that the Buffs would have been favored on the road against Stanford next season, but with Luck returning, the Cardinal will likely be co-favorites along with Oregon to rule the new Pac-12.

As yet undecided … who will coach Luck in the fall. Head coach Jim Harbaugh spent five hours with the 49ers on Wednesday, and is reportedly meeting with the Dolphins today. The Dolphins are reportedly willing to make Harbaugh the best-paid coach in the NFL, at $7 – $8 million per year.

It is looking more and more likely that Harbaugh will join his brother in the NFL coaching fraternity, rather than staying at Stanford or moving back to Ann Arbor to coach at his alma mater, Michigan.

And the Broncos? “I don’t believe anyone that NFL experience can make that jump … other than Harbaugh,” said new Denver Broncos executive vice president John Elway. “There’s nobody else in the college ranks we’re interested in talking to.”

First Pac-12 championship game worth $14.5 million

Did everyone remember to send Larry Scott a Christmas card?

The Pac-12 commissioner has made the last seven months bearable for the Buff Nation, first by inviting Colorado into the Pac-12, and ever since by the promise of a great future for the University of Colorado in the new conference.

The latest gift came Thursday when it was announced that Fox Sports had agreed to pay the Pac-12 $25 million to televise games next fall, which figures out to be $10.5 million for an existing contractual obligation and $14.5 million to broadcast the Pac-12 title game on December 3rd. As the members of the new conference have agreed to share revenue equally, the contract works out to over $2 million for each school, including cash-starved Colorado.

The details of the deal, according to Sports Business Daily’s Michael Smith and John Ourand: “Industry sources said Fox is paying the Pac-12 $25 million for the championship game and other game inventory that is the result of the conference’s expansion from ten teams to 12. The Pac-12’s championship game is valued at around $14.5 million, sources said; the other $10.5 million is part of a prior contractual obligation.”

Fox Sports has also entered into an agreement with the Big Ten to televise its first conference championship game, also to be played December 3rd. The Big Ten title game will be conducted at the dome home of the Indianapolis Colts, while the Pac-12 title game will be played on the home surface of the division champion with the best record.

The move is not only an immediate boon to the Buffs, but the fact that it is a one year contract bodes very well for the future. The Pac-10 is in transition to the Pac-12, and Larry Scott is looking for a long term television contract for his new league. The Fox contract for the 2011 Pac-12 championship lets all potential suitors (paging ESPN!) know that the minimum amount for the annual contract has been set, and a long term deal will command even more $$$ for the league.

Think it’s too late to send Larry Scott a “thank you” card?

January 5th

This time, it’s for real …

“I have completed a systematic and thorough review of our football program, and believe that a change in leadership is necessary,” said Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon in a statement Wednesday morning. “We have not achieived at a level I expect.”

So ends the Rich Rodriguez era at Michigan.

Rodriguez was 15-22 in three years, but 0-6 v. Ohio State and Michigan State, just 11-11 at home, and 6-18 in Big Ten play.

Speculation, of course, is that Stanford head coach Jim Harbargh is a leading  candidate, but the Detroit Free Press is reporting that  Harbaugh does not wish to make a “lateral move”, even if it is to his alma mater. If Harbaugh is out of the picture, Brady Hoke from San Diego State is a possibility (Hoke is from Ohio, and was a successful coach in the MAC before  heading west), or, once again, Les Miles of LSU (though Miles “tweeted” Wednesday that he had not heard from Michigan).

And Jim Harbaugh?

Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh, according to ESPN, met Wednesday with the San Francisco 49ers. Speculation had been all season that Harbaugh would be a prime candidate to return to his alma mater, Michigan, if Rich Rodriguez was fired, but it now appears that Harbaugh might be setting his sights a little higher.

“When you have a bunch of billionaires chasing you around to be a part of an NFL program … If Jim feels likes he is ready for that, who would blame him?”, lamented Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon.

Other teams reportedly interested in Harbaugh’s services include the Denver Broncos, the Miami Dolphins, and the Oakland Raiders.

USC loses offensive linemen

USC guard Michael Reardon will not be on the sideline in 2011.

Reardon started the final five games of 2010, and had a year of eligibility remaining, but instead chose to graduate and move on. Reardon has suffered injuries throughout his career, and would require an additional surgery on his hip if he were to return for another year of competition.

USC head coach Lane Kiffin at one point thought he would have four starters returning along his offensive line. Instead, with Michael Reardon moving on to the real world, and offensive tackle Tyron Smith moving on to the NFL, the Trojans will be down to two returning starters – juniors Matt Kalil and Khaled Holmes.

How desperate are things for USC? The Trojans signed two junior college offensive linemen in December – Jeremy Galten and David Garness – and both are expected to compete immediately for playing time.

January 4th

Ashley Ambrose hired on at Cal

Colorado takes on two coaches from Arizona; California has now taken on two former Buffs.

Joining Eric Kiesau on the Cal Bears staff is Ashley Ambrose, who was a coach at Colorado the past three seasons. Ambrose will be the new secondary coach, replacing Al Simmons. “I’m excited about the opportunity to work with Jeff Tedford and his staff,” said Ambrose. “He’s a proven coach with a winning program and a great staff that knows how to recruit and coach.”

If the reason that Ambrose was not retained is that Jon Embree felt that he could better allocate coaching and recruiting resources better elsewhere on his staff, then so be it. We’ll wish Ashley Ambrose well (except when Colorado plays Cal). If Ambrose wasn’t kept simply due to insufficient funds for coaches at Boulder, then this is a sad day for Buff fans. Ambrose was one of the coaches I was hoping Embree would decided to keep.

Sigh.

Rodriguez out? Harbaugh reportedly not interested

Two sources – the Detroit Free Press and a television station in Detriot – are reporting that Rich Rodriguez will not be retained as the head coach at Michigan. Rodriguez has posted a 15-22 overall record in three seasons at Michigan (6-18 in Big Ten play; 0-6 v. Ohio State and Michigan State). Rodriguez would be due $2.5 million if the remaining term of his contract is bought out (he would have been entitled to $4 million if he had been fired prior to January 1st).

Meanwhile, there is another report, also from the Detroit Free Press, that Stanford head coach – and Michigan alumnus – Jim Harbaugh is not interested in the Michigan job. It is also being reported that Harbaugh might be interested in going to the NFL, to coach for either the San Francisco 49ers (Harbaugh and the likely new GM share an agent), the Denver Broncos (John Elway a Stanford alumus), the Carolina Panthers (who hold the first pick in the draft, likely to be none other than Andrew Luck), or even the Raiders (Harbaugh actually gets along with Al Davis).

Nothing is official on any of this, but the speculation continues to  pour in …

Ron Franklin fired

Longtime ESPN college football announcer Ron Franklin has been fired by the network. Franklin reportedly made inappropriate remarks to a female colleague, calling her “sweet baby”. Franklin issued an apology Monday, but was terminated nonetheless.

While not knowing all of the details, and not condoning what may have taken place, I must say that I will miss Ron Franklin. He handled football and basketball games for ESPN for over 20 years, and did mostly Big 12 football games. I believe his game calling was excellent, and his knowledge of  the game refreshing.

He will be missed.

Ayers to enter NFL draft

UCLA junior linebacker Akeem Ayers will forego his senior season and enter the NFL draft.

“I will miss playing with my UCLA teammates next year, but I feel the decision to go to the NFL is what is best for my family,” said Ayers in a statement. Ayers was a second-team Walter Camp All-American and a Butkus Award finalist. This past season, Ayers had 68 tackles, four sacks, ten tackles for loss and two interceptions. He is projected to be a mid-first round pick in the 2011 NFL draft.

January 3rd

Who?

After being spurned by Tulsa athletic director Bubba Cunningham, Kansas has turned to … Sheahon Zenger.

Yes, that Sheahon Zenger.

The 44-year old athletic director from Illinois State will take over for the retired Lew Perkins on February 1st. Zenger has coached football at Drake, Kansas State, South Florida, and Wyoming. Zenger is a Kansas native, and earned a bachelor’s degree and master’s at Kansas State and a doctorate from Kansas.

Zenger had four successful years at Illinois State, and now will take over for the Jayhawks.

At least it wasn’t Mike Bohn …

Maryland steals UConn coach

Randy Edsall, the head coach at UConn until Sunday night, is now the head coach at Maryland. Edsall was the head coach for the Huskies for 12 seasons, going 33-19 the past four seasons. This past year, Edsall led UConn to the Big East title and a Fiesta bowl berth. For Edsall, the move to College Park is a homecoming, the site where Edsall saw his first college game.

What about Mike Leach?

“Coach Leach came in here, did a great job. I had a wonderful experience with him,” said Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson. “But there were some other opportunities out there I wanted to pursue. Fortunately, I waited long enough for Randy to become part of our pool.”

 

 

January 2nd

Big Ten sets bowl records …

… but not in a good way.

The Big Ten went 0-for-5 in New Year’s Day bowl games (Quickly, for those of you who were recovering from New Year’s Eve revelry and missed some of the action: Northwestern lost, 45-38 to Texas Tech in the TicketCity Bowl; Big Ten co-champion Michigan State was embarrassed by Alabama, 49-7 in the Capital One Bowl; Michigan may have said good-bye to Rich Rodriguez after being humbled by Mississippi State, 52-14, in the Gator Bowl; Penn State fell to Florida, 37-24, in the Outback Bowl; then Wisconsin finished off the day of imfamy in the Rose Bowl, losing to TCU, 19-17).

2011 represented the first New Year’s Day in which the Big Ten went without a victory since 2002. How bad was it? Michigan State, which felt it deserved a BCS bid, lost in the most lopsided Capital One Bowl, which has its origins going back to 1947. Michigan suffered its worst bowl loss in school history (the good news for Wolverine fans: the buyout for Rich Rodriguez just dropped from $4 million to $2.5 million). Wisconsin, which was averaging 48 points per game the last seven games of the season, scored exactly six points against TCU in the second half of the Rose Bowl.

The Big Ten will be looking for redemption when Ohio State takes on Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl on January 4th … trying to ignore the fact that the Buckeyes have gone 0-9 vs. the SEC in bowl games in their history …

The only bad news? Nebraska fans, still hurting from their 19-6 loss to a 6-6 Washington team in the Holiday Bowl on December 30th, can crawl out from underneath their rocks this morning. The Big Ten isn’t looking so difficult right now …

8 Replies to “The Colorado Daily – January”

    1. JRBuff,
      It’s really just a function of time. Perhaps now that we have a few weeks before spring practice, I’ll be able to post more often.

      Also, I don’t want to be seen as just posting so as to shill for CU at the Game. I do appreciate it when links to this website are posted (Thanks, VK!). If a positive note comes from a third party, readers are more likely to check out CU at the Game.

      Stuart

  1. Stuart …. tried to “mail” you an article from the Honolulu Star Advertiser. Front page, sports, titled “COLORADO SCORES BIG IN HAWAII TOP 10”, BY Ferd Lewis.

    Check it out, you’ll feel really good about what the new Coaches have done so far.

    Go Buffs,

    jim

  2. Stuart your website is the best!!! I have spent many hours at your site the last couple of days to find out all the letter of intent stuff I could find. Your site is the most informative Buff site out there and I really enjoy it. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!!

  3. Because they are appealing penalties, the Trojans are expected to sign close to the maximum number of 28 players on Wednesday. With all the current signees on board that only leaves four spots open. Marcus Martin seems to be the odd man out with the other four remaining recruits all be higher rated then he is.

    George Farmer
    WR
    Gardena, CA
    Junipero Serra
    6’2″
    192
    4.4
    5 stars

    Marqise Lee
    ATH
    Gardena, CA
    Junipero Serra
    6’1″
    187
    4 stars

    Marcus Martin
    OL
    Los Angeles, CA
    Crenshaw
    6’3″
    357
    5.2
    3 stars

    De’Anthony Thomas
    ATH
    Los Angeles, CA
    Crenshaw
    5’9″
    160
    4.4
    5 stars

    Antwaun Woods
    DT
    Woodland Hills, CA
    Taft
    6’1″
    322
    5.0
    4 stars

  4. OMG – CU is already playing three of the five teams which finished in the top five in the nation in 2010 – Oregon, Stanford, and Ohio State. Please tell me the Buffs don’t want to make it four out of five!!

    Or … we could just dump Hawai’i, pick up Auburn, and go for five-for-five!

  5. Here’s a heads up on a potential candidate to fill the Sept. 10th vacancy in the Buffs schedule this season:
    http://sports.espn.go.com/dallas/ncf/news/story?id=6038367

    TT dumped their Sept. 10th date with TCU to make room for the round robin play in the Big12 this year. So TCU has a need to schedule an opponent for Sept. 10th. The added kicker is that they are looking for a BCS conference opponent to help their BCS rankings.

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