November 16th

Neuheisel No. 1 on the “hot seat” rankings; Buffs fall out of “Bottom Ten”

At his weekly press conference, Jon Embree called UCLA head coach a “survivor”.

Well, if Neuheisel is going to survive this season, he had better win this Saturday. According to Coaches Hot Seat Ranking, Neuheisel is No. 1 on the list of coaches who need to win now.

Interestingly enough, Colorado State head coach Steve Fairchild rates a No. 2 ranking on the hot seat least. The Rams are 3-6 after a 3-1 start, and are staring at a trip to Dallas this weekend to face Boise State buster TCU. A losing season is all but inevitable, and Fairchild, with an overall record of 16-30 in Ft. Collins, may not be back to face the Buffs next September.

Other names of note … fourth on the list is Washington State head coach Paul Wulff, whose lot improved last weekend with an upset of Arizona State, but who must take down Utah on the road, then Washington at home, in order to have the Cougars become bowl eligible … Fresno State’s Pat Hill is No. 8 on the list. The Buffs take on the Bulldogs in their first road game of the season next fall, and Fresno State has fallen upon hard times. This fall, the Bulldogs are 3-7, and Pat Hill, despite his 111-78 mark in 15 years in Fresno, may have worn out his welcome …

In case you’re wondering, Colorado’s Jon Embree is ranked 54th on the list of 120 coaches. (Of course, until a few weeks ago, Joe Paterno was ranked 99th).

Buffs out of the Bottom Ten

It’s nice to win a game …

While still stuck with a 2-9 record, and still staring at the first 11-loss season in school history, the Buffs are, for at least a week, out of the Bottom Ten.

Colorado’s win over Arizona “propelled” the Buffs out of the Bottom Ten, but almost put the Wildcats in, as Arizona, at 2-8, has joined the “Waiting list”. Also on the waiting list are two of the Buffs’ first three opponents in 2012, Colorado State (3-6) and Fresno State (3-7).

What one road win in the last two games would do to propel the Buffs into next fall with a good frame of mind, and a schedule tailor-made for early success.

Dare to dream …


November 15th

Jon Embree Press Conference Quotes

On Whether He Has Any Second Thoughts About Predicting A Win Versus UCLA – “No. Our guys expect to win and they expect to win every week. I don’t get caught up in that. I know what Tyler (Hansen) said and what they said in the locker room and I’m sure they say the same thing every week, each team thinks they are going to win and it is no different here. We think we are going to win this week, we thought we are going to win last week and think we are going to win in the future. It has to be a mindset that you think you are going to win every time you are out there. You have to expect that you are going to win. Every time you go out there and are competing for something. That is the first step in being able to win, believing that you can.”

On If He Is Seeing Anything Particular From His Team To Think His Team Can Beat UCLA – “No, I say it every week that we are going to win. I do like how we are playing, we are playing better. I think a lot of it is due to the fact that we have continuity, our skill guys are back, our line is playing together and starting to figure some stuff out and making adjustments during the game and stuff that we might not have necessarily talked to them about – now they are communicating and getting to the point where they are doing that well. And defensively, I thought that was our best game communication wise. I’ve been hammering those guys to communication and over communicate, and there were four or five great examples – one, Jon Major, we had a blitz coming and he let (David) Goldberg know that he had the back if the back did a swing route. Goldberg and him made eye contact and acknowledged it and it happened and Goldberg was there to make a fortunate completion. Things like that earlier in the season weren’t happening. We gave up a big play to Cal right before half because the defense didn’t communicate the call. I think all of those factors are a reason why we are playing better.”

On If It Is Wise To Make A Guarantee At A Press Conference – “I don’t know. First off, I guarantee Taylor (Embree) said something to them about me saying that we are going to go in there and win, and he has guaranteed that they will beat us, now are we going to play any harder? It does not change how teams are going to play. Rick Neuheisel wants to beat Jon Enbree’s behind in anything we do. It goes back to doing hoops when he was here as an assistant. I don’t expect it to change. There is not a coach in America that goes into a game not thinking his team is going to win. Whether it is said in the locker room, whether it is said publicly, to me it doesn’t change.”

On If This Team Is Taking On The Character Of The Head Coach – “I do feel like it is starting to do that. I do believe as a position coach and as a player, that your players reflect you and I do see that in our team. They are having fun now. We had a timeout right before the first touchdown and Ethan Adkins told me that when they score, they are all going to get together and do this dance called the ‘Bernie’ from Weekend at Bernie’s. I said, ‘Alright, you better score,’ and they did and they did their thing and they did it in a way that it wasn’t an excessive celebration and got off the field. For them to come and say that to me and some of the things like that, that was how I was like as a player and as a person. I’m out there and I want to let you know what we are going to do and then I want to do it. That is just how I am. I believe in reaching success and obtaining things, you have to say it. If you want to win a championship, then you have to say, ‘I expect us to win a championship,’ and then you have to go and do it. I think every team that has done it and has had that success, that is what they have done. You don’t just sit there and sneak up and get in after the fact. If you believe in something so strongly that you say it, then all of your actions that you do from that point forward have to be to get success in those goals.”

On The Similarities Between CU and UCLA – “I look back at my times at UCLA fondly. We were part of their fifth 10-win season ever in 2005 and we had six comebacks for the ages. Every time you did one you thought you can’t top it and then something crazy would happen the next week and you would find a way. It is a special place. UCLA is a unique place, it is similar to Colorado in a lot of ways from recruiting, from administration, and from different things like that.”

On Why The Rose Bowl Is So Special – “I grew up always wanting to play in that bowl game. When you go, there is something about it, the turf is always perfect and you have the mountains in the background, there is something about growing up and wanting to be a part of that game. I remember EB (offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy) and I, the first game we played in there and we were like, ‘I can’t believe we are playing in the Rose Bowl.’ That added to my disappointment when we didn’t get in to play Miami in 2001. Besides the fact that that was the national championship, but then the fact that it was in the Rose Bowl, I still really haven’t gotten over it. The history of it, there is just not a better bowl out there and I haven’t had the chance to be a part of it, but I’m telling you, when we get that opportunity, can’t wait.”

On The UCLA Offense – “They run the pistol, they run the ball, they do a good job of doing a little misdirection. I think (QB) Kevin Prince is playing well running it. Last week, Utah contained him a little bit, but before that, he had done a good job of running the ball. That is kind of how they base their offense. Defensively, they are good up front, they get after you, they are physical in the back end. We have to have an effort like we had last week if we are going to win this one.”

On If UCLA’s Run Game Is A Concern – “Yeah because that is what they do the best. Any team you play, like last week, the pass game is what they (Arizona) did the best, you have to try and take away their strengths if you are going to have success. They (UCLA) have a good one-two punch and if you don’t stop that, then you are in trouble.”

On If He is More Confident With His Secondary – “Those pieces are coming together and getting guys back. Some of the issues we had back there was communication also. (Anthony) Perkins did a great job in getting guys lined up and then when we went down and we had younger guys in there, then all of sudden (Ray) Polk was done, we had some problems with that from a communication standpoint. That is significantly better now that those guys are back.”

On Why We Haven’t Seen More Big Games From WR Paul Richardson – “I think right after his big game (against Cal), he really pressed against CSU. That was some opportunities and unfortunately he had some drops. Then he got hurt and I think he is still getting his legs back underneath him and getting within the flow of things. A lot of quarterback and receiver relationship is actually getting out there and doing the timing. I think you see the timing and the rapport that Tyler (Hansen) has with 7 (Toney Clemons) now. With him and Toney because they threw all the time why he (Richardson) was out. A lot of times you ask for a guy to throw in spots and when you are doing things and if 6 is indecisive at all or people are rolling coverage in a certain way and is coming off of it quick and going to his other options. I think it is a combination of factors. I would love for him to have – as I’m sure he would – to have another breakout game this weekend against UCLA and going back home. It is not a lost skill or confidence with him, it is just getting your legs back – especially when you are talking about a knee injury with a receiver and the kind of player he is and if he is thinking about it at all. I know he will say he is, but he is not 100 percent. I think all of those factors played into it and why he hasn’t followed up those games with other big games.”

On Having Paul Richardson On The Field – “It keeps people off of 7 (Toney Clemons). I think it helps 5 (Rodney Stewart) run the ball. It still gives us a deep threat. The ball that Tyler threw to Toney down in the corner, what we call double-go, and if you watch that on tape, P-Rich made the corner fall down, but as  a quarterback you have to go up and pre-snap look and take a side. You can’t flip sides of the field. He threw it and Toney made a great catch. That showed me that he still has that explosiveness and ability to get down the field. I think after that, I think guys were getting a little softer on them, because anytime – especially if you are that DB – and that guy put a move on you and you fell down.”

On What Offensive Coordinator Eric Bieniemy Has Done Better The last Few Games – “One was getting his playmakers back, that makes it easier. The other thing is just getting more comfortable up there (in the booth) and seeing things. There is always an adjustment from going from the field to the box and you see things and want to do certain things. I think it is a combination of all of those things. We really have gotten better each week in that department and everybody finding their rhythm.”

On Having P Darragh O’Neill Not Attempting Rugby Punts – “That will be something that we will handle in the offseason. Part of it is what we have to do in certain situations because of what we do in the protection. It is easy when you are in section 108 to say never do it again, but you have spent all this time, so you can’t just jump into a different boat right now. That is something that we will evaluate and see what we can do to remedy that.”

On Darragh O’Neill Still Having A Good Season – “Yeah, he’s had a real good season. I’m not down on Darragh. It just happened, it was like slow motion too.”

On The Rugby Punts Being Kicked Low – “We would like it to be executed differently. Unfortunately, we aren’t able to do that sometimes. That isn’t his (Darragh O’Neill’s) fault, that is Jon Embree’s fault. That is on me. Two more games and then we’ll see if we can get that fixed.”

On What He Wants To See From His Team In The Final Two Games – “I want to see them continue to play with the passion and energy and enthusiasm as they have played with the last couple of weeks. The USC game, we just couldn’t consistently sustain it. I want to see them continue to play that way because that is how we have to be every game next year. I want to see them do that. I want to see those kids continue to have success and have fun. I think they are having fun. Just finish this thing right, end the streak and see if we can start a road win streak and leave behind – just like how this road losing streak has been an anchor – put that on next year’s team and, ‘Hey, there is a two-game road win streak that you have to uphold,’ and try and build it in that manner and get kids to think that way. I talk about expecting to win, go in there and expect to win. Understanding, ‘Hey, Tyler Hansen, Josh Hartigan, all of these guys left us a road win streak, let’s keep it going.'”

November 14th

Sandersfeld named Pac-12 Defensive Player-of-the-Week

Oil and vinegar.

Colorado defensive back and Pac-12 Defensive Player-of-the-Week.

Alex, I’ll take things that don’t mix for $400 …

After the Colorado defense surrendered over 500 yards of total offense for five consecutive weeks (an ignoble school record), one of the last pairings one would have expected to hear Monday was “Colorado defensive back” and “Pac-12 Defensive Player-of-the-Week”.

Yet that it exactly what happened after senior defensive back Travis Sandersfeld became the second Buff (joining Paul Richardson, who was named the Offensive Player-of-the-Week after the Cal game) to ever earn Pac-12 Player-of-the-Week.

On senior day, the former walk-on posted 14 tackles (earlier reported as 11), includng 11 solo tackles, against Arizona in CU’s 48-29 victory. In those 14 tackles, Sandersfeld had three tackles for loss and a sack. Then, for good measure, Sandersfeld threw in an interception in the final minute of play, the third of his career.

Pac-12 Trophy unveiled

The Pac-12 trophy will be awarded on December 2nd (probably to Oregon, as the Ducks will likely host the inaugural game, and do so against Arizona State – losers of two straight games, and a team Oregon has already defeated – or against a very unpredictable UCLA Bruin team).

Here’s what the trophy looks like …  










It may take a few years, but hopefully, by mid-decade, this will be the trophy raised by Jon Embree, players, and staff at the 50-yard line at Folsom Field!

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