September 23rd

The Bricks are back

While the return of the Brick Wall in the Dal Ward Center did not take place as soon as head coach Jon Embree had hoped, it did make an appearance before the Buffs left for Columbus.

Here is the video and story about the return of the Wall.


Embree fondly remembered the “big-game bricks” from his 10-year stint as an assistant on the CU staff. “Every time we went out to practice, to play a game, we had to walk by those bricks…you guys are going to get a sense of what that feels like,” he said.

At his first team meeting when the Buffs reported in August, Embree called every player and assistant coach to the front of the Dal Ward Auditorium and gave each a brick, symbolizing the restoration that was beginning. The bricks, nearly 120 total, had been donated by Embree’s former CU teammate, Conley Smith, the owner of a local landscaping company.

“When Conley gave me all those bricks, he did something,” Embree recalled. “He put this on a brick he gave especially to me. It says “1986, 20-10; Coach Embree, Bring Back The Bricks.” It was the score of one of Embree’s and Smith’s most memorable wins – CU defeating Nebraska for the first time in 18 years.

“I came to Colorado (in 1983) to help change things, to help change the culture,” Embree continued. “Growing up there were three teams I didn’t like – Notre Dame, CSU and Nebraska …”

Embree then held up the black brick Smith had given him and told his players, “This brick represents a lot of things. Every time as a coach I walked out through that hallway and I saw this brick, it would talk to me. This brick means this: starting that season 0-4, we lost three road games by four points or less – Oregon, Arizona, Ohio State. This brick means to me 18 years we had gone without beating Nebraska, 18 years. They were No. 3 in the country.

“When you walk by those bricks, they will talk to you. They’ll tell you a story. It ain’t about just that game…they talk about the struggles, the special things that happened in that game, in that season, the people, the sacrifice of putting that brick up in the wall.”

The Buffs didn’t “bring back the bricks” on the Hawai’i trip, losing their opener 34-17. Their home opener the next week brought a gut-wrenching 36-33 overtime loss to California, once again delaying the bricks’ return. But last weekend in Denver, the Buffs presented Embree with his first win – 28-14 over Colorado State – and a reason to refurbish that wall outside their locker room.

After Thursday afternoon’s practice, with their teammates crowded in the hallway around them, CU’s captains – seniors Tyler Hansen, Ryan Miller, Anthony Perkins and junior Jon Major – ripped off brown paper that had been taped over the approximately 8’ x 19’ wall. Featured on it were 53 bricks, 51 of them gold with black lettering and bearing scores of significant wins, one black one with gold lettering – the 2011 CU-CSU game – and one gold brick asking “WHO’S NEXT?” in bold, black letters.

Embree had wanted the lone black brick to signify an opening win in Hawai’i and an end to CU’s unsightly road losing streak, which stands at 19 overall as the Buffs prepare for Saturday’s game at Ohio State. They can earn a brick there, too.

The plan was for the single black brick to be a reference point for Embree, his players and anyone who views the wall. It still will be. The overriding hope is that it signifies a turnaround date and game, and said Embree, “For everybody who walks in, that brick is going to stick out. That brick is going to tell a story about how all those other bricks got back up there. That brick’s going to be the one, when you guys come back here 5 or 10 years from now, they say that was the brick that turned it around. That was the game.”

After the brown paper had been ripped away and the wall of mostly gold bricks exposed, players went to the locker room. All appeared touched in some way.

“It means all the tradition, all the past great players who have been here, all the hard work and everything they did has been put back on that wall,” Perkins said. “Just to see that is definitely humbling…and it just reinforces what we’re trying to do. We have to be able to build this program back up; it’s imperative that we do so.”

Miller was clearly moved. “That’s pride, that’s tradition… they’re back. They are back. We all knew something was coming, but not like that. To see it back like that and to have those great memories of walking those halls when I was younger is great. But now to finally be a part of it and see it, and to be able to put our legacy on that wall, that’s special. That’s really special.”

September 22nd

Buffs to face a true freshman at quarterback

Freshman Braxton Miller will make his first start at quarterback for Ohio State on Saturday when the Buckeyes host Colorado, OSU coach Luke Fickell announced Thursday.

“It’s to give him a shot,” Fickell said of the decision to start Miller over senior Joe Bauserman, the starter in the first three games. “We still know we need both of them.

“And the thing is you’ve got to make sure you can handle these things in the locker room. How you handle them professionally is really important to the team. That’s why we didn’t make a big deal of it (publicly). I know it is a big deal. … but we need both of them.

“The way we handle it is the key, but it’s time to give him a chance.”

Miller, considered the No.1 dual threat quarterback prospect nationally by in the 2011 recruiting class, shared time with senior starter Joe Bauserman in the 24-6 loss at Miami last week. Neither could lead the team to a touchdown on a night when each completed just two passes, but Miller seemed to bring a spark when on the field, though he also suffered two costly turnovers, an interception and a fumble.

Fickell indicated Bauserman still could see some playing time against Colorado, but he offered no set plan. It’s more about turning to Miller who has shown his potential since enrolling in January after leading Wayne High School of Huber Heights to the Ohio Division I state championship game last year.

“He’s got a lot of ability, and we’re going to give him some opportunities to play with his ability,” Fickell said. “It’s what we think right now the team needs.”

Bauserman started Ohio State’s first three games, completing 30 of 60 pass attempts for 365 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions.

But the senior struggled mightily in the loss to Miami (1-1), completing just 2 of 14 passes for 13 yards. Miller was 2 of 4 passing against the Hurricanes with an interception and a lost fumble.

Miller will be the first freshman quarterback to start for the Buckeyes (2-1) since Terrelle Pryor in 2008. Pryor also started his first game in Week 4.

Miller, who sat out against Toledo in Week 2 with a minor injury, completed 8 of 12 passes for 130 yards and a touchdown in the season opener Sept. 3 against Akron.

September 21st

David Bakhtiari cleared to play

Sophomore offensive tackle David Bakhtiari will not be limited in his snaps against Ohio State, CU head coach Jon Embree said Wednesday.

Bakhtiari, out since the seventh play of the opener against Hawai’i with a sprained knee, has been listed as “day-to-day” ever since. Earlier this week, Embree hinted that, while Bakhtiari might be ready to play against the Buckeyes, that he might be limited as to the number of plays he could be out on the field. Now, however, Bakhtiari is apparently up for playing the entire game.

Good news for Buff fans … and Tyler Hansen’s back …

Jon Embree Post-Practice Quotes

On the players’ attitudes, coming off of a win – “We have good focus. We’re better at communicating. It seems like we’re continually improving, and that’s good, because we need to get better each game”.

On having two punts blocked already this season – “The punter being too close to the shield. That, and it was a low kick; a bad combination … We were a yard and a half too close, and we kicked the ball too low”.

On the number of snaps he expects to see offensive tackle David Bakhtiari – “Let’s say 85 snaps (the most offensive plays CU has run this year is 82, in the overtime game against Cal). We’ll put the over/under at that. I’m counting on him to be able to do that. He’ll be helped by the fact that there will be good weather … If it was a cold game, coming in and out, and it’s stiffening up on him. The fact that it’s September, and it should be 70 – that will help him”.

On covering for the injury to Travis Sandersfeld – “Obviously, Deji (Olatoye) got more reps; (Josh) Moten got more reps; Terell Smith reps on the inside. There have been a few guys who have gotten more reps. Not necessarily at Travis’ position, but at other positions in the back end.”

On the differences between Daniel Munyer (who was injured against Colorado State) and Gus Handler at center – “You’d have to ask the quarterbacks if they feel any difference, but … I guess Daniel’s a little more athletic than Gus, but I think they are both outstanding players. We have to find a way in the future to play them both, maybe moving one to guard. But I think they are both really good football players.”

On preparing for playing against two quarterbacks (Ohio State has not named the starter for Saturday’s game) – “It really isn’t (any different). Because when you get a running quarterback that’s a good passer, you’ve got to do that anyway. It’s something you are going to have to do in this league, when you get a mobile quarterback. You have to have two plans – one when they are in shotgun, and one when they are under center. So, it doesn’t put that much more added stress on you.”

September 20th

Jon Embree Pac-12 Press Conference Quotes

On if he will do anything different on the road in Columbus versus in Hawai’i earlier the season –

“I thought when we went to Hawai’i that our road mentality was good. We didn’t start fast but we didn’t start fast at home either. I look back at the Hawai’i game, we missed a sack which would have forced them to punt and we would have been down 10-0 at halftime. You have to make those plays. I think what happens on the road, and I feel that our kids understand this a little bit, is that missed opportunities are magnified a little bit more, especially when you go to a place like Columbus, when you are playing in the ‘Shoe’. It’s 108,000 people are trying to will their team to victory, and so when you miss an opportunity and it can create a momentum shift, when you do a play on the road at a place like this, it is magnified where as if it was a home situation, maybe it wouldn’t be as glaring. I feel like they played hard, they competed in Hawai’i, we just didn’t start fast, but we haven’t started fast at all, period. So I don’t think you can necessarily say that that is a road issue. We’ll just go out there and keep plugging away and get after it and end this streak at some point.”

On if he scripts plays –

“We do. Maybe we have to get that script changed. Take the second half script. We do script plays, and for whatever reasons, either an errant pass, a dropped pass, a missed read, a missed block, it seems like when we start the game we always put ourselves in a negative situations. We have to stay ahead on the chains and we have to keep the chains in our favor. We can’t be in third-and-long, even though we were better in third down situations this past week, we have to be better about having manageable third downs. We script the first 15; you can maybe talk to Eric [Bieniemy] about that.”

On what Ohio State’s biggest weakness is

“I haven’t looked at all of their special teams yet. There are not a lot of weaknesses with that team and with that program. I know people are down on them around their program, but to me, it is more that they have been so successful and they have done so well and all of a sudden they lose a game and it is supposed to change, I don’t see it. I think they are very good defensively. They are very physical. They are very good upfront. When you look at their offensive line, every guy is at least 6-5 and every guy is 305, 315, 320-they are some great looking guys, very athletic. Of course I always look at the other team’s tight end and see what they do, and their tight end has been a threat in the red zone and he has done some good things and they have some speed on the edge. They’re a program right now-I know that they are going through a quarterback controversy, so to speak, and I’m sure whoever they put out there will be up to the task.”

On the Ohio State quarterback situation

“I hate cliche, but too much credit is given to the quarterback when it is good and too much blame when it goes bad. It takes a lot of people. A passing game from a throwing standpoint is protection, it is guys catching the ball, it is guys running the routes at the right depth, so there are a lot of things that can go into their issues. I don’t think it is just a one guy problem with the passing game. The other games they were doing ok with it, so I’m not buying the sky is falling in Columbus.”

On if his offense closer to getting the balance he wants

“We are getting close to the balance. That last drive we had of 10-plus minutes, I think was a testament of that. I think we are starting to get into a groove of running the football. We still have a ways to go, but again, it was another step forward in the right direction. That is the one thing that I am encouraged about of this team, is that each week we have improved in some things, whether it is red zone offense, whether it is tackling, whether it is running the football, whatever it is we have improved. I just want to continue to see us improve and keep making strides and see what happens.”

On using more screen passes

“I don’t know whose idea it was. To me, that is the most underused play in college football because unlike in the NFL, you can be down the field blocking. I’m a big screen guy and I think a lot of guys on our staff are big screen guys. It is another way to get the ball to [No.] 5, get the ball to [No.] 6; we can use other guys on screens. I look at it a couple of ways. One, having our linemen down the field helps with the pass rush and my philosophy is some people look at screens as trying to create big plays and all that, to me, let’s just get four yards. It is an extension of the run game to me. I think as long as you have that rule in college football, that you should be using it to your advantage. It is a big advantage for the offense.”

On offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy getting comfortable calling the game in the box

“Yeah he is and he is definitely comfortable up there and is doing a good job of seeing things. I think him and [quarterbacks coach] Rip [Scherer] do a very good job up there. I think that is part of the reason of why we have been successful in the second half of football games, the ability to make some adjustments, ability to tweak a few things here and there and take advantage of what we are seeing and what is happening.”

On how big of an issue the penalties are

“We’ll see this week. The team is just trying to do what I’m asking them to do. I’m not going to overreact on some of the things. I made a statement at halftime that if there were any more personal fouls that they wouldn’t be going to Ohio State. We didn’t have any in the second half. I’m not overly concerned about those. Holding, it happens here and there; it is what it is. The kicking the ball out of bounds, being offsides, those are the ones we have to fix. We might have a solution to kicking the ball out of bounds, we’ll see this week.”

On if he has settled on a kick returner

“I think we will still go with the same two guys, [Toney] Clemons and [Kyle] Washington right now.”

On Kyle Washington being a kick returner

“He’s done it and been successful at it in high school. I thought he was a good running back coming and I think he’s a good football player. Obviously having him handle the ball as much as he did as a high school player, you trust him with the ball security issues. He has good size so you are not worried about if a guy comes free on a block and takes a shot that he is not going to give the ball up. Those were two of the factors that we looked at when we put him back there.”

On QB Tyler Hansen running more

“I think part of it is Tyler becoming more comfortable and I’ve told him that it is ok to run. I think he is just making good decisions at the opportune time, when to run and when to throw it away. He is very good in being aware of down and distance. I think what Tyler has done so far this season so far is making good decisions. Understanding when it is ok to throw it away and live for another down, when it is, ‘Oh, I better get something out of this.’ A good example was right before half (versus Colorado State) in the two-minute, faking like he was going to go out of bounds and then stayed and cut back and picked up the first down and moved the chains. Understanding what the clock situation was then, understanding our timeout situations, us not having any. All those things I think he does a good job of understanding that and making good decisions to go with it, and then when he threw that touchdown pass to Kyle [Cefalo], moving with his feet and just being patient and not panicking and giving Kyle a chance where if he didn’t get it, we could still get some points with the field goal.”

On Tyler’s decisions becoming more important now that the team is going on the road

“It is important every game. At home, away, neutral site, it doesn’t matter. When you are the quarterback, those decisions, you have to be good at that at all time to give your team a chance to win.”

September 19th

Jon Embree Post-Practice Quotes

On the return of David Bakhtiari – “It looks like it, so that helps. I don’t know how (red-shirt freshman center Daniel) Munyer’s going to be. He’s day-to-day.”

On where Ryan Dannewitz will line up against Ohio State – “He’s done a good job for us at the left. He may have to prepare for both (right and left tackle positions). He might have to be the swing tackle. I don’t know how long ‘Bahk’ can go … Everyone feels good on Monday. Let’s see how everyone feels after practice on Tuesday and Wednesday. So, ‘Danno’ will have to prepare at both of those spots.”

On the return of senior offensive lineman Shawn Daniels, who was injured during fall practices, and has not yet played in 2010 – “I know he’s running, but he’s still a few weeks away, though. If I recall correctly, I think they were targeting Washington (October 15th) possibly being the week that he could come back.”

On who he heard from after his first victory as a head coach – “I heard from a lot of people. Former coaches – DiNardo, Barnett, Mac, Chan Gailey – I heard a lot. There were a lot of people that I heard from, so it was good.”

On bringing back the bricks – “We’ll try and get them up this week, and let the players see them. The players haven’t seen them, so it would be cool for them to see what it will look like.”

On what, if anything, he is looking for as the Buffs go back on the road in search of a win – “I think they prepare. They had a good business attitude out there (before the Hawai’i game). To me, it’s what can we do early. We can’t go down 17-0. We have to make sure that at halftime we’re in the game, then get to the fourth quarter where we have a chance. I am pleased with this ballclub, with what we have done in the second half (CU has a 35-14 scoring edge so far in the third quarter of its first three games). We have to get to where we start better. What they have done in the second half speaks well, not just for them, but to the adjustments the staff has made, tweaking some things here and there to give us a chance. For me, I’m just going to look at how we start, and how we handle the crowd early.”

On his being recruited by Ohio State out of high school in 1983 – “Yeah, I went out there. I think it was Bill Miles, who is an assistant athletic director out there now (who recruited him). John Frank (a fellow recruit at the time) was around me a lot during my recruiting trip. It was real interesting. I talked with John Frank about being recruited, and this was late in the process, and he told me that he would have gone to Pitt if Pitt would have offered him, because he was a Pittsburgh guy. And he thought that, if he had the chance to play at home, that should mean something. So that went a long way with me (and, indirectly, helped him decide to stay home and play for Colorado) … I remember Earl Bruce was the coach. It was my very first recruiting trip ever, so that was kind of crazy. My roommate was Tommy Streeter, who I ended up rooming with here (at CU) … I met Bobby Knight as he was walking through the arena, because Ohio State was playing Indiana. Indiana was No. 1, and I was in the arena looking at pictures, and this guy comes up behind me and points at a guy in a picture and says, ‘yeah, that guy was awful’. I turn around, and it was Bobby Knight. Ohio State beat them that night, they beat No. 1. So it was a memorable trip, it really was.”

David Bakhtiari may be back for Ohio State game

The Colorado offensive line, while it produced a season-high 145 yards rushing against Colorado State, also surrendered two sacks, and was guilty of four major penalties.

Similar stats against Ohio State will not likely produce a victory.

While senior Sione Tau did play ever snap at one tackle position, in the first start of his career, and did grade out at over 80% against the Rams, it is still good news that the original starter, sophomore David Bakhtiari, may be available to play this weekend.

“I think we are, it looks like it,” head coach Jon Embree said Monday when asked if they will get David Bakhtiari for this week’s game.

Bakhtiari, who started 11 games as a freshman last season, was in for only the first seven plays of the Hawai’i game before suffering a sprained knee.

Colorado to play an unranked team in Columbus

For the first time in seven years, the Ohio State Buckeyes are unranked.

Ohio State had been in every poll since November, 2004, a span of 103 weeks (Colorado’s best run, from 1989-97, went for 143 weeks), but after a 24-6 setback against Miami, the 17th-ranked Buckeyes were dropped from the Associated Press poll.

For Ohio State, it’s been a year of losses and embarrassments stemming from NCAA violations committed by players who traded memorabilia for tattoos.

Coach Jim Tressel was forced to resign on Memorial Day, star quarterback Terrelle Pryor left school early for the NFL with further NCAA scrutiny looming and several key players serving NCAA suspensions.

The loss of Pryor, who would have been a senior, has left Ohio State (2-1) with huge problems at quarterback, and not until the sixth game of the season will the Buckeyes get three other key offensive players back in the lineup — running back Dann Herron, receiver DeVier Posey and tackle Mike Adams.

The Buckeyes are 95th in the nation in passing offense (172.3 yards per game) and 85th in total offense (342 ypg).

Those offensive issues were exposed against Miami. Ohio State quarterbacks Joe Bauserman and Braxton Miller completed only four passes for 35 yards.

“I’m kind of shocked,” Ohio State’s Carlos Hyde said after the game in Miami. “I wasn’t expecting to lose to these guys.”



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