is doing interviews of CU bloggers. My interview can be found at … and below:


1.) This past year was a huge one for CU, as we inched past the official inclusion date for the Pac-12. What struck you most over the past 12 months about the new conference?

What has struck me the most about the Pac-12 conference this year has been the extraordinary success commissioner Larry Scott and his staff had in negotiating the Pac-12 television contracts. We knew that the revenue numbers would be significant, but a 12-year, $3 billion agreement? That was unthinkable a year ago.

Three aspects of the contracts need to be emphasized.

First, there was the agreement last fall by every school in the new league for equal distribution of television revenue. That’s huge (and the main reason why it is highly unlikely that Texas will ever become part of a Pac-16 – the Longhorns don’t like to share). True, USC and UCLA received a concession last fall that they would receive extra revenues ($2 million apiece) if the television contracts did not exceed $170 million per year – but that concession seems to have worked out fairly well for the rest of the league! Now, unlike the remnants of the Big 12, where teams like Kansas State, Iowa State, Baylor, and Texas Tech will slowly fade into obscurity under the shadows of Texas and Oklahoma, Pac-12 teams will be operating on a (relatively) level playing field for the foreseeable future.

Second, securing ESPN and Fox Sports as television partners was a major coup. Fox and Comcast were in the lead for the contracts, with some unpalatable and unpleasant baggage coming with each option. ESPN was seen as an out-bet, as the “mother ship” had too much inventory (contracts with other leagues) to justify bidding for the Pac-12 rights. The combination of ESPN and Fox was a brilliant move, and guarantees that the Pac-12 will be a focus of national media coverage for the next decade.

Finally, the reality that the Pac-12 was able to obtain the largest television contract in college football history, while at the same time reserving for itself high profile football games, along with most of the basketball inventory, is remarkable.

Colorado fans – indeed Pac-12 fans – will be celebrating the events of the past 12 months for years to come.

2.) New conference, new coaches, new media deal, new basketball facility – That is a lot to come to fruition over the course of just one season, but we as fans are never happy. What big milestones do you expect in the next 12 months?

Colorado fans will not have to wait months for the next big milestone – it should be coming in the next few weeks. The Pac-12 Network, under the umbrella of Pac-12 Media Enterprises, will be another eye-opener for the world of college football, and it should be outlined for the public in August. By reserving the rights to high profile football games, along with most of the men’s basketball inventory, the Pac-12 Network has positioned itself to be a highly sought after commodity by cable and satellite operators.

Will the league opt to take over an existing channel (upside: immediate distribution network; downside: having to share revenue with the provider)? Will the Pac-12 opt to start its own channel (upside: 100% control and 100% of profits; downside: significant start up costs)? Or will the league go off the charts, and team up with Google or Apple to provide its Network in an entirely new format?

Or – more likely – will it be some combination of the three above choices? Hard to say. However, with the track record Larry Scott has built up in his two years as the commissioner of the Pac-12, chances are very good that Colorado fans will be pleased with the announcement.

3.) In-line with the theme of new we’ve been tracking down for the previous questions 2011-12 brings a new era to Colorado Football, most fans know a lot about Coaches Jon Embree and Eric Beineimy, but who else on the staff has caught your eye in the past six months? Why?

With no on-field results to critique, you have to look at the recruiting results to date. This group of coaches came in late on the Class of 2011, and is just getting started (but doing well overall) with the Class of 2012. It is hard to ignore the work that the new coaching staff is doing in Texas. As has been pointed out (thanks, SD Buff!), there have been as many commitments from the state of Texas in the past six months as there were in five years under the Dan Hawkins’ regime.

You have to give a tip of the Buff cap to wide receivers coach Bobby Kennedy and defensive line coach Kanavis McGhee. Kennedy was the recruiting coordinator at Texas, and has already received commitments from two Texas receivers for the Class of 2012 (after picking up Texan wide receiver Austin Vincent to supplement the Class of 2011). Kanavis McGhee was out of coaching when he returned to Boulder from Houston, and he just received a commitment from highly-rated defensive end Victor Irokansi, who plays in the Longhorns’ backyard near Austin.

Will these players pan out? Will Kennedy and McGhee be able to produce results at the BCS level? Time will tell – but these coaches are off to a good start.

4.) What big questions do you expect to see resolved in fall camp?

When a team has a new coaching staff, and is coming off of five straight losing seasons, there will always be more questions than answers in August. What needs to be resolved in fall camp? On offense, the Buffs need to identify the No. 2 quarterback and No. 2 running back. Tyler Hansen and Rodney Stewart are set as starters, but both have gone down to injuries in their careers. None of the other Buff quarterbacks have thrown a pass in a BCS game. Brent Burnette, Nick Hirschman, or Stevie Dorman has to take charge of the backup role. As for the running backs, Speedy is a workhorse, but there is little depth behind him. Brian Lockridge only had 35 carries for 146 yards last season. Is he fully ready to go after his 2010 ankle injury? Will Josh Ford or Tony Jones step up?

On defense, there are obvious concerns in the secondary. Colorado starts the season, on the road, against the 2010 No. 1 passing offense. Colorado took care of business against the Hawai’i Warriors’ pass offense in Boulder last season (if surrendering 330 yards passing is “taking care of business”). How will the Buffs fare without Jimmy Smith and Jalil Brown? The Buffs can’t wait until September to try and figure out this dilemma. The answers must come in August.

5.) Other than the coaching what areas do you expect to see a notable improvement in from our team in 2011?

In a word – Attitude. I had the unfortunate circumstance to travel to Ohio for the Toledo game in 2009 (I had a chance to go to the Ohio State/USC game in Columbus, and saw a chance for a CFB doubleheader. I never thought I would ever again have the opportunity to see an Ohio State home game – who knew Colorado would schedule a game in the Horseshoe so soon?). What I witnessed on the Colorado sideline during the debacle in Toledo was … indifference. There was no spirit, no cheering on the other units to make a play. It was as if the players were already on the plane home before the end of the second quarter. It was a depressing site. With the new coaches, I would be very, very surprised if Colorado did not play with a positive attitude at all times, play with a chip on their shoulder all season, and – despite recent history – a bit of a swagger.

On the field, I expect to see dramatic improvement in special teams. Okay, this is not really a going out on a limb in terms of a prediction. Seeing improvement in Colorado special teams in 2011 would be akin to seeing a team go from 1-11 to 2-10 and cheering, “We doubled our win total!”. Special teams cannot help but improve in 2011 – there is no other option. Quality special teams play used to be a Colorado staple, and needs to become that again for the Buffs to be competitive in the Pac-12.

6.) What is your area of greatest concern?

Losing to Hawai’i. Again, this is an oversimplification. However, I do believe that “bringing home the brick” after the season opener will have a huge impact on the remainder of the season. Win, and the road losing streak – “the Hawkins’ monkey” – will be off the Buffs’ backs, and the team – and the program – can move forward. Will winning on the islands portend a winning season and a bowl game? No. The Buffs will still have one of the most difficult schedules in the nation to overcome. But it will reinforce the momentum built up over the past eight months.

A loss at Hawai’i, though, would mean that the “longest losing streak in school history” would follow the team for weeks – and perhaps the remainder of the season. A win at Columbus? More plausible than before, but still not likely. At Stanford? No. At Washington? Possible – but now you are into mid-October, and the specter of Dan Hawkins remains, looming over the program like a bad dream.

7.) Can you pick a break out player for us? And can you pick a freshman to contribute?

The trendy pick here is defensive tackle Conrad Obi, who had an excellent spring after three years of obscurity. My pick though, would have to be a member of the defensive backfield. With Jimmy Smith and Jalil Brown off the NFL, it will be sink-or-swim for several members of the secondary. If I would have to pick one, it would be Parker Orms. A sophomore, Orms was ready to contribute last season, but was cut down in the first quarter of the first game (so, yes, he is a sophomore. He will get a sixth year after his senior year down the road, but we don’t get to count his extra “red-shirt” year just yet). Orms has had an extra year to learn, an extra year to get stronger, and an extra year on the sidelines – tough on what was a two-way starter for state champion Wheat Ridge a few years back. I look for Orms – who was already talented – to be very hungry this fall to see some action … That’s a pretty good combination.

As far as true freshmen are concerned, I would like to see a defensive line recruit – either Stephan Nembot or Juda Parker – step in and contribute immediately. I am a bit leery, however (after Nick Kasa did not turn out to be all-world from day one). about expecting too much from a defensive lineman fresh out of high school.

So let’s go with another defensive back (detecting a trend here?), Will Harlos. At 6’4″, 200-pounds, Harlos is perhaps too small to be a linebacker; perhaps not fast enough to be a true defensive back. However, Harlos was a gamer in high school, and I can see him finding his way onto the field of play as a true freshman.

8.) A number of people have asked me if our main coaches (JE & EB) lack of experience calling a game is a concern to me. What is your take on that?

Shhhh – let’s just keep that as our little secret. Yes, the lack of game experience in the coaching staff is a concern. If Colorado struggles this year – and again, the schedule does not lend itself to over-confidence – game-calling will certainly be called into question. Jon Embree built his staff to be able to recruit. When you think of Embree, Bieniemy, McGhee, Kennedy, and Tuiasosopo, my first thoughts are that they are all excellent recruiters. How well they gameplan, develop players, and coach on gameday, though, remains to be seen.

Then again, Bill McCartney was the defensive coordinator at Michigan when he was hired at Colorado. Before coming to Boulder, Coach Mac’s only head coaching experience came in the high school ranks – and he turned out pretty well.

One final question – As a CU fan community what can we at AllBuffs do to help out CU at the Game?

There are over 30 seasons of games archived at CU at the Game. If you can’t remember who scored the Buffs’ lone touchdown in the 1991 Orange Bowl, or who returned the interception for a touchdown in the Big 12 title game in 2001, the answers are in the Archives.

But I want the CU at the Archives to be more than a repository of facts. I want it to be a warehouse of great CU fan stories, and that’s where AllBuffs fans are uniquely qualified. Everyone has a story or two: Your first CU game; your favorite CU game; your first/favorite/worst road trip. Suffering through the toughest losses; celebrating the greatest victories.

Let me put it this way, dear reader: Colorado hasn’t had a winning team since 2005; the Buffs are about eight months removed from their last game; and about eight weeks removed from their next game. Yet here you are, reading about the Buffs, in mid-July. You can’t tell me that you do not bleed black-and-gold. You can’t tell me you don’t have a CU story or two in your past.

Want to contribute your favorite CU story? Just go to the CU at the Game website, click on “Archived Seasons”, find the game of your choice, and hit “Post your own memories”. It’s that easy.

5 Replies to “My AllBuffs Interview”

  1. Excellent article. I am also concerned about the Hawaii game. They play much better at home rather than on the Mainland. As you said, this is a very important game for us. With a suspect defensive secondary against a passing-oriented Hawaii offense, this will be tough. Finally, hope will can begin keeping more blue-chip recruits at home. We will see what the season brings and then, perhaps, see a couple of surprises come signing day in February.

  2. Great article. I too am concerned about the Hawaii game. I also agree that it will be a very important game for us to win. I also know that Hawaii is much tougher to beat on Oahu than on the Mainland. I wish we were doing better at keeping the Colorado blue-chippers at home. Nebraska and Auburn? Not good. But, if we show fight, spirit and pride this year, things will come around and, by signing day in February, there still might be some surprises. Go Buffs!

    1. Noted and corrected, Adam. Thanks!

      I haven’t watched too many Colorado high school games, but the title game a few years ago when Parker Orms starred on both sides of the ball was certainly memorable!

      I can’t wait to see what he can do for the black-and-gold this fall!

  3. Tony Jones and Josh Ford looked pretty darn good in the spring game. I don’t see a problem there

    That lack of spirit you saw at Toledo was completely obvious at the previous CSU game. Hawkins should have been fired immediately after that one.

    I too worry about the Hawaii game but I don’t worry about the game day play calling. Either you have that poker or chess playing attitude or you don’t. It doesn’t come automatically by being a head coach. I get so tired of hearing that. Everyone who has been a head coach was a rookie as a head coach.

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