Colorado Daily – Fresno State

September 14th

Will Pericak moves from defensive tackle to defensive end. Solid move, or act of desperation?

Senior defensive lineman Will Pericak was supposed to be the one sure thing along the CU defensive line. There was hope that juniors Nate Bonsu and Chidera Uzo-Diribe would be more productive, to be sure, but it was Pericak which was to lead a unit which was devoid of depth … leading to nine defensive linemen joining the team on Signing Day in February.

Pericak led the team in consecutive starts coming into the season, with 37, and was mentioned on several pre-season All-Pac-12 teams.

So, two weeks into the season, it’s going so well for Pericak … that he is changing positions.

From … A defensive tackle/nose tackle for most of his football career at Colorado, senior Will Pericak now is primarily a defensive end. He’s played the position sporadically over the past three years, but now it appears he’ll finish out his career on the outside.

“As of right now,” Pericak said, “it’s permanent . . . I’ve always played some out there, I’ve just never been featured there.”

Of course, things can change by the week, and both of CU’s D-line coaches – Mike Tuiasosopo (tackles) and Kanavis McGhee (ends) – said the 6-4, 285-pound Pericak could be an “on demand” tackle once again during the season.

But for now, he’s on the outside looking in.

Pericak’s shift was made after the opener against Colorado State in an attempt to get the team’s best defensive linemen on the field. As of now, those would be junior Chidera Uzo-Diribe and Pericak at ends and freshman Josh Tupou or junior Nate Bonsu at nosetackle in the Buffs’ 3-4 base defense.

Continued progress from freshmen tackles Justin Solis and Tyler Hennington also factored into Pericak’s shift. McGhee said the backups at end remain sophomores Kirk Poston, who started against CSU, and Juda Parker and freshman Samson Kafovalu.

The biggest adjustment in moving outside from inside, said McGhee, “is there’s a lot more space. I think to this point Will’s handled it pretty well. We’ve worked on a few things . . . but you’ve got to understand when you’ve always played inside, it’s different when you’ve got that kind of space. But the kind of athlete and ball player he is, he’s smart, he’s strong and he’s a veteran player.”

“It’s different,” Pericak admitted. “It’s something I’ve got to get used to, and I’m not used to it yet. But it’s something I really think I can do well at. It just takes time.”

In two games, Pericak has made 16 tackles – the fourth-highest on the team. Included in that number are two tackles for loss and a pair of third-down stops. Six of his tackles (five solo) and one for loss came last weekend against Sacramento State – his first full game outside.

He believes he can “definitely can make plays out there . . . I think I can do some good things with it.”

Double teams are more likely to inside than out, said McGhee, and that’s one of the adjustments Pericak must make: “A lot of times you’re more used to working in a confined space (inside) so you get bumped a little more. When you’re outside, you’re expecting it, but it might not come. That’s the only thing. It’s a weird feeling for him, but that’s it, the only thing I can see as the biggest adjustment.

“As far as having the strength and power and the knowledge to play that technique, he’s got all those. It’s just him saying, ‘Wow, I’m expecting something that’s not there.’

September 13th

Parade of Buffs coming September 27th!

Still with your team? Well, here is an opportunity to show your Buff Pride … and if you have never heard Bill McCartney speak in person, please plan on attending. Coach Mac can inspire like no other coach I have ever heard speak, and I’m sure he will be there to assure you that the future of Colorado football is very bright, indeed!!

You and your families are cordially invited to attend the Parade of Buffs Shoulder-to-Shoulder Pep Rally!  Please RSVP online at










Hot and sweaty

Colorado practiced in cool temperatures and misty rain Wednesday, a stark contrast to what awaits them in Fresno this Saturday.

The forecast high for Fresno for Saturday is 102-degrees. At kickoff, scheduled for 5:04 p.m. local time, could see a temperature close to a record for the Buffs. The warmest kickoff temperature for a CU game was in 2007 against Arizona State, when it was a sizzling 102-degrees at kickoff for the game against the Sun Devils.

Ironically enough, one of the warmest kickoff temperatures for the Buffs in a home game came against Fresno State, in the Jim Thorpe Classic in 2001. That evening, the thermometer read 91-degrees at kickoff.

September 11th

Note: The full transcript of Jon Embree’s press luncheon quotes can be found below, after the Derrick Webb story …

First signs of hope … Derrick Webb calls a team meeting

For those of us who have been looking for any sort of ray of hope to hang our Buff hats upon, one positive story …

From … Two bad losses, it hasn’t penetrated the inside. Not much of it anyway. The Colorado football program is hardly immune to criticism these days, but Derrick Webb and most of his Buffs teammates have done an admirable job of avoiding the anonymous incoming flak.

“I don’t know what’s being said and I don’t care,” senior defensive lineman Will Pericak said. “I’ve never looked at or listened to any of that stuff . . . I tune it out.”

So has Webb, a junior inside linebacker. But “D-Webb” is in tune with his team, and he’s not liking what he’s seen and felt during and after debilitating losses to Colorado State (22-17) and Sacramento State (30-28).

Following Monday afternoon’s practice, he called a players’ only meeting in the Dal Ward Athletic Center auditorium. It was a career first for Webb. He was nervous, but he knew he couldn’t remain silent for another week.

Webb reminded the Buffs of “where we are right now as a team, sitting at 0-2, and the possible directions we can go,” he said. “One direction, worst-case scenario, is straight down. Two losses and now our schedule is getting harder . . .

“Something needs to change in this room. The coaches can give us all the help they want but unless something changes in our attitudes and minds as a team, unless we do something about it ourselves, we’re going to find ourselves in a similar situation as last year, where one loss turns to two, two losses turn to a losing streak.”

Webb had considered addressing the team since leaving a funereal locker room last Saturday afternoon. “I’ve been around a couple of years and seen teams fall into this pattern of thinking, ‘We’re OK because it’s only two games,'” he said.

“Then halfway through the season, it’s like, ‘Let’s go; we need to win six games to get to a bowl game.’ People like to wait until we’ve got six games left. I just wanted to say, ‘hey, let’s get ahead of that and nip it in the bud. Let’s go right now.'”

Proof will come Saturday night at Fresno State, but he believes his teammates took him seriously. “I didn’t expect it to be like when coach (Jon) Embree talks: you can hear a pin drop in there,” he said. “But everybody was totally attentive and looking me in the eyes; you could tell they were really thinking about it.”

Count junior defensive back Parker Orms among those who were focused. Said Orms: “He let us know how he feels. He let us know he’s focused this week. Everyone looks up to him . . . we want to follow him.”

If a meeting like that is what it takes to put the Buffs’ minds right in a season that’s started with a whimper, the coaching staff is all for it. Embree said at his weekly media luncheon that he senses players – guys like Webb and others – taking as much ownership in the back-to-back losses as him and his assistant coaches.

“We’re going to keep being competitive, we’re going to keep grinding and fighting,” Embree said. “It’s who I am as a person and it’s what my staff is comprised of – a lot of competitors and guys who will fight. We’re spreading that attitude to the team.”

Make no mistake, Embree is frustrated. He didn’t walk away from a budding NFL career to step into quicksand at his alma mater. Neither did offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy and other CU staffers. Although his record (3-10 last season, 0-2 in this one) is no reflection, Embree insists progress is being made.

“I do believe we’ve gotten better, our record doesn’t show it, but we are better than what we were in the past,” he said. “I just look at our players, how they’ve changed . . . I see a significant change in our team from what we were a year ago.”

Orms agreed: “You can either let bad times destroy you, define you or make you better . . . I think for a long time we’ve let that destroy us and define us a little bit. This time we’ve got to use that to strengthen us and use it as motivation and don’t let what previously happened happen (now).”

By Embree’s count, eight plays that went unmade cost the Buffs their first two games.  “Any one of eight made on either side of the ball and we win the game,” he said. “Last year our games weren’t like that . . . we had leads of 11 points (vs. CSU) and 14 points (vs. Sac State). We have to learn how to finish.”

Embree has fielded “hang in there” phone calls from longtime friends, former coaches and teammates, as well as others who understand his challenge. CU basketball coach Tad Boyle dropped by Embree’s home and stayed for over an hour on Sunday afternoon, “just talking about different things . . . him going through things at different stops . . . sharing some things that helped him get through it,” Embree said. “I’ve heard from a lot of people in the coaching business.”

And on Monday morning, Paul Richardson, the Buffs’ bona fide deep threat who is using his redshirt season to continue his knee rehabilitation, spent more than an hour in Embree’s office. “P-Rich” asked his coach what more he could do in his inactive role and offered Embree observations about the wide receiver position and the offense. Don’t believe for a second that because Richardson isn’t in uniform he’s detached from this team. And don’t think he’s not feeling the pain.

This was among Richardson’s observations: The Buffs have to learn to punch back. They’ve demonstrated the ability to start a fight, but counterpunching and finishing are problems. Embree picked up on that theme during Tuesday’s media conference.

“We have to understand the other team is going to come back, fight back, and we have to keep our foot on the gas and keep doing the things we have in the previous drives to keep putting pressure on the other team,” he said.

“Sometimes when you’re young you don’t understand that. We have to be better at when momentum swings, gaining it back. I thought we were better at it Saturday, but obviously when we seize it we have to be better about extending leads.” (The Buffs have held 14-3 and 14-0 first-half leads, but have scored only 10 second-half points in the two losses.)

Embree is a target but he’s not close to being embattled, yet unlike his players, tuning out the negativity hasn’t been as easy for him. He dropped his university twitter account because of “some inappropriate stuff . . . and that’s fine. It is what it is with that,” he said. The account served more as a recruiting tool and “a way for me to stay in contact with my kids and see how they’re doing. I’ll find other ways.”

The past two weeks have been enlightening in other ways, too. He has reminded his players that their true friends will become evident, as will “the handful of people that really believe in you. When you go through hard times you find out who those people are. The good news about is, you only need a handful of people to believe in you if you believe in yourself and trust the process, the direction and how you need to do it to be successful. You’re always going to have challenges, you’re always going to have people waiting to say, ‘I told you so.'”

Embree recounted that landing in his current job wasn’t easy, just as it hasn’t been easy for some of his players to land at CU. “You’ll always have struggles, conflicts and issues; you’ve got to know that from the jump,” he said. “I knew when I took this job and when these coaches came in that it doesn’t happen overnight. You want it to, but it doesn’t. But you don’t stop working . . .

“It’s going to turn. You’re doing it the right way; you keep grinding and pushing and fighting through it. A lot of times, I told the players, the closer you get to something, the harder it is. Whether we’re being tested about how strongly we believe in what we’re doing or what we believe, or whether we’re being tested about our abilities, that’s when you have hunker down more and get in it.”

Transcript of Jon Embree Press Luncheon Quotes

General – “Getting ready for Fresno State, our first road game, so our preparation will start today.  Well, it actually really started yesterday; we got some work done pertaining to that.  We watched tape as far as Sac State and looked at a few things, identified a few things that we can keep doing to improve.  We are going to keep being competitive, we are going to keep grinding and fighting.  As I said at my press conference afterwards, that’s who I am as a person and that’s what my staff is comprised of, a lot of competitors, a lot of guys who will fight, and we are spreading that attitude to the team.  The players were great in their meetings, we talked about details; some of the issues that have kept us from winning.  Some details and how we can fix it as coaches and players.  So we showed some video and talked about some other stuff that pertains to that and I think that they understand that now.  The way they went out there and practiced and some of the things they did yesterday shows me that they are still willing to compete and fight.  So we are looking forward to going to Fresno and we will see what happens.”

On The Team Taking Ownership Of The Losses –  “Yeah, we all have, coaches too.  In the video, there were basically eight plays that if we make any one of those eight plays on either side of the ball, you win the game.  Last year, unfortunately our games weren’t like that. Now as a team, we have to learn how to continue to finish. We have a 14-point lead early, we have an 11-point lead early in the other game and we just need to be better about understanding that the other team is going to come back and fight.  We have to keep our foot on the gas and keep doing the things we have that have been successful on previous drives to keep putting pressure on the other team.  Some of that is when you are young, sometimes you don’t understand that.  Then there are some things we can do as a coaching standpoint too that can help those guys.”

On Fresno State QB Derek Carr – “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.  I don’t know if it was his mom or dad in the family that had the arm but they passed the gene down.  He is a good player, he has a great release, a lot of velocity on the ball, and he is accurate.  He isn’t afraid of sitting there, wait for his receiver and make the throw. He is a very good player.”

On How The Games Keep Slipping Away – “It is a part of competition.  When you are going against teams that are competitive like you, they are going to come back at some point, or they are going to do something to try and create something to give them momentum. We have to be better when momentum swings, of regaining it back.  I thought we were better at it Saturday, but obviously when we seize it, we need to be better at extending leads.”    

On Seeing Progress – “Yeah, I do believe we have gotten better.  Our record doesn’t show it but we are better than what we were in the past.  I just look at our players; I look at how they have changed.  I look at the plays that they are making, I’m looking at some of the young kids who are going to be really good players as they get more comfortable.  I see a significant change in our team, than what we were from a year ago.”

On RB Christian Powell – “Christian was the guy when we were recruiting him, he showed some ability as a tailback.  We felt he could maybe be a guy who eventually might be a tailback and who had that skill set.  When we were able to have this opportunity arise this past week of putting him in there, he obviously did a very good job.  He left a lot of yards out there, but that is just from inexperience and some things with his footwork in which [running backs coach] Eric [Bieniemy] is getting him corrected on.  He is the guy when there was two yards there, he was getting five and six, and that is what you like as a back so he doesn’t always have to be blocked perfectly. We will go with him again this week and see if he can continue to build on what he did last week.”

On Re-evaluating Every Position – “Yeah, we looked at it.  We just wanted to see where we were and are we getting the best 11 on the field, those kind of things.  We are going to get [QB] Connor Woods some reps this week in the game, trying to get him going and see how he responds to some stuff.  The week before, we moved [Will] Pericak from inside to outside to defensive end. I think we will continue to make sure those young guys inside are getting some reps: [Tyler] Henington, [Justin] Solis and [Josh] Tupou along with Nate Bonsu. Linebackers, now that [Doug] Rippy is out, getting Brady Daigh going more-he had earned more playing time anyway.  So now that Doug is down for a while, we will get him doing some things.  Same with Kyle Washington, he has been making a lot of plays and doing some stuff for us on [special] teams.  So those are all guys that we will continue to get involved more.”

On How Close The Games Have Been – “It was a couple plays here and there.  When you are going through what we are going through, every game is going to be like that.  We are going to have a lot more games where it’s going to come down to some stuff and it’s just whether or not we execute and do it or we don’t.  Unfortunately, that is a part of the process that you go through with a team that you have guys playing a lot of ball for the first time, so that’s part of it.  But as you win, you hope that builds confidence so that the next time they are in that situation, they know how to finish or know how to make a play so that we can win the game.”

On The Team’s Attitude – “It is significantly better. Our kids expect to win and that is good.  You heard me say that last year, we didn’t really expect to win.  You can tell how they react after a loss immediately in the locker room, and then how they come to work on Monday and the accountability to their teammates, that has changed significantly.  They care about each other; they know about each other, they help each other.  The stuff they are doing off the field, in the classroom, is night and day.  There is a lot of “want to” and so there is just a matter of time before it clicks for them.  Something will happen where it will help them have success and then as you get some success, you will get some confidence and things will get going.”

On The Coaches Meeting After The Game – “Well the first thing about that meeting was that I wanted to reassure the coaches that we are in it together.  I know there is outrage and whatever else is going on, but I wanted them to understand that I still believe in them, that they are good coaches, which they are.  And what we need to do is that we need to make sure that we are doing our do-diligence as far as continuing to give our kids the opportunity to win.  Then it comes up to players to make plays. That pass to Gerald Thomas was not drawn up that way, but he is a playmaker and he made it into a very good play.  So what we have to do is make sure we are giving our players opportunities.  Whether we will have to continue to streamline stuff, whether we have to continue to tweak personnel, whatever it is, we have to do to give them the opportunity to have success.  So I just wanted to make sure that as they went home that night and watched the tape, that we were watching it with that in mind.  Like I said, ‘It’s okay to be disappointed, but don’t be discouraged.’ We have to continue to work and fix things and as I told the guys, ‘If the guy misses the field goal, there is still things we have to work on.’ Even if we would have beaten CSU that didn’t change the fact that we didn’t run the ball, and we found a way to get better and run the ball.  Now we have to figure out how to be better against zone options, zone read teams to stop the run; we have to be better at communicating.  Those issues don’t change whether you won or loss, and that is what I shared with the players; we are always going to be trying to fix things.  You look at the games we won last year, we didn’t play perfect games, we came into work, to fix the issues, and so that is what they have to understand and you have to forget about what happened and focus on the next game.  That is the great thing about competition, that is the great thing about what we do, is that there is going to be another Saturday and your mindset has to be win, loose. or draw the week before; what am I going to do to get better for that next competition?”  

On The Coaches Response – “Not so much of that, but more of, ‘Hey, we need to do more of this. This is starting to be the identity of our team so we need to do more of this.’  Every coach is beating himself up over a couple calls down the stretch. But it wasn’t a long list of, ‘I didn’t do this and this, why didn’t I do this for my guy.’ I think if you looked at it for the most part, there were some guys that played really well, it’s just when we had opportunities or needed to do things to close the game on either side of the ball, we didn’t make those plays.  Whether it is completing a pass, or knocking down a pass, we didn’t do it.”

On What Made The Team Keep Believing In 1986 – “There were a lot of guys a lot like me.  So we had Eric Coyle, Barry Remington, Steve Beck, Darin Schubeck, Solomon Wilcots, we refused to not believe.  We lost some heartbreaking games, we lost to Oregon I think by one, Ohio State by three, Arizona by four, and the CSU where we had all of the turnovers, I think we lost by 13, but we never waivered.  I shared with the team a little bit because I know they are getting a lot of flack on campus or wherever, and that doesn’t change, it was happening back in 1986. That is part of the deal.  Our mindset was, it’s going to break and it did and the same people who were booing us and calling us names turned down the goal post on October 20th.  It is how it goes.”

On Flack Changing With Social Media – “Oh, it is way different, but it is part of the deal, it goes with the territory.”

On Getting Off Twitter – “Just some inappropriate stuff and that is fine.  It is what it is with that, but it is just inappropriate stuff.  The main reason I was on there was for recruiting and just a way for me to stay in contact with my kids and see how they are doing, so I will find other ways.”

On People Responding To Him About Last Week’s Game On Twitter – “No, because that is just the way it is in society.  It is part of the deal, there are people that, that’s what they do.  You know like I said, for our players and coaches, ‘You know who is for you’ in the support you get and the people you hear from after a tough loss like that, what you are going through.  Like I told a player, you have an opportunity to find out who your friends really are, and I think that is a good thing.  It was ironic, we talked about Thursday about believing, and one of the things I said to the players is there really is only a handful of people who really believe in you, and when you go through hard times you find out who those people are.  The good news about it is that you only need a handful of people to believe in you if you believe in yourself, and trust the process and the direction and how you need to do it to be successful.  Whatever it is, you are going to do in life, you are always going to have challenges, you are always going to have people waiting to say, ‘I told you so.’  Long before I got this job, I had a lot of people going through different failures that were like that and you can’t worry about that, you just have to be strong enough within yourself and be surrounded by enough people that are strong enough within themselves and eventually you will have success.  It wasn’t easy getting here to where I am and it wasn’t easy for some of our players to get here as players.  You are always going to have struggles, conflicts and issues and you just have to know that from the jump.  You knew when you took this job and when these coaches came in that it doesn’t happen over night, you want it to but it doesn’t.  But you are going to keep working to make it happen overnight, now it doesn’t, but you don’t stop working.  You have to work at that pace and you have to work at that mindset, or you are not going to be able to recruit players because you are not going to be able to convince them of what your vision or what your plan is.  You are not going to be able to get your players to maximize there talents and abilities because they are going to say, ‘Well you don’t really believe in it, you are waiting for this.’  No, I tell every senior class, ‘I want them to have the same success I had.’  I want them to go out with a bowl game and have some success.  The struggles I went through allowed guys like [Eric] Bieniemy, Chad [Brown], C.J. (Charles Johnson) and those guys to play for a national title.  I didn’t get the benefits, and I shared that with the team the other day; you guys are going to struggle, some people are going to have successes off of your hard work, off of you breaking your back.  You won’t get to share those successes in the same way that they will.  In other words, I didn’t get to be a part of the National Championship team, but I felt like I was a part of it, because I recruited those guys in here, I know what I did before to help it get to that level.  I shared that with the players and I believe it.”

On The Team’s Identity – “Well offensively, we are getting there running the ball, we are still not there.  We had a good day but we are still not there, I want it to be just like it was 2001, where everyone said they are going to run ’98 G-lead,’ and we run it and we need three [yards] we get five [yards].  So we are not there yet, but that mentality is starting to develop.  One of the things that helped us along that line last week, we went live for a period of team run; cut blocking, tackling, the whole thing, and we will do it again today, we do it every Tuesday.  So that is starting to get that mentality that we need there.  We are better starting, but we are still not where we need to be in terms of starting a game. We are getting better in special teams, we really are; and that can be a weapon for us as Kenneth [Crawley], Marques [Mosley], and Donta [Abron] continue to get confidence back there, we can have a return game to where people start doing things because of the threat of our guys doing something when they get the ball in their hand.  There are some things we are getting better at, we are better at stopping the traditional run, but we are not good enough stopping the zone option game.  That’s where you look at their explosive plays in the run game; it was on those plays, some of that is assignment, some of that is being in your gap.  It is hard as a defensive player because you are used to running to the ball and that is a great equalizer when maybe you aren’t the same talent level in that you have to go to your assignment.  So even though you think the ball is over here and your assignment is that gap, it’s opposite of what you’ve been trained, so you have got to run to that gap.  So what happens is you don’t think the ball is going there and you want to try to help make the play and guess what, that is where the ball went.  So we have to be better at our assignment football.  Its some things that are fixable, but we have made strides.  I really do feel like we have been better on both sides of the ball about taking steps towards certain things that we need to do to be successful.”  

On CU Men’s Basketball Coach Tad Boyle’s Support – “Yeah, I and Tad were together for a little over an hour talking about different things.  Him going through some of this, in his different stops and just sharing some things that helped him get through it.  I heard from a lot of people in the coaching business and it was good to hear from them, just sharing advice and saying, ‘Hang in there and keep going, it’s going to turn and your doing it the right way just keep grinding and keep pushing and fighting through it.’ A lot of times I tell players, the closer you get to something the harder it is.  Whether we are being tested about how strongly we believe in what we are doing or whether we are being tested about our abilities, that is when you have to hunker down more and get in it.”  

On What Stands Out About Fresno State – “Well we talked about [Derek] Carr and he has some good speed out on the perimeter at receiver.  At running back, [Robert] Rouse I think he is 50, 60 yards away from being the all-time leading rusher there. That says a lot, they have had a lot of good backs come out of there.  He is an explosive player, he does a good job at being patient as a runner and waiting for things to open up and then he can get through the hole.  He is a physical kid too; I think he is a real good player.  Defensively, they are a zone pressure team; three man front, so they are going to bring blitzes and different pressures from different angles, so you have to be solid in what you are doing.  They are very fundamentally sound on defense.  Tim [DeRuyter], who I have gotten to spend a little time with, has done a good job with that defense; they have a great mentality, they try to hurt you and I think that is great.  The linebackers like to run and hit you, so we will have to protect the ball.  Last week, they had four turnovers, all in the second half.  Three of them were forced and what I mean by forced is that they hit a guy to make him put the ball on the ground.  That says a lot about you when you are forcing them that way.  Another one was more of Oregon mishandling the ball, but they were around to get it. That is another thing, when you are recovering fumbles, that says a lot about your defense, means you are running to the ball.  Means you have four or five guys around the ball when it comes out so you are there to get on it.  That is what we will be facing so it will be a great test for us.  We will see what we are made of.  We have a one game win road streak, how about that.  We will see if somehow we can get to two, but it will be good for our young kids to go into a hostile environment, their fans are great, they will be loud and rowdy and all that.  I have played against them three times, twice here (at CU), once at UCLA and it’s always been great going against them because there teams are generally similar to what we want our teams to be like or what our teams were like; they are going to be physical, get after you.  It is going to be a lot of fun.”

On Starting QB Jordan Webb – “He (Jordan) knew about that and he knew it was a possibility last week doing it. There were some circumstances around it of why; so he was aware of that.  I think Jordan will be fine with it, and as any competitor would be, just do what you do and you won’t have to worry about it.”

On Backup QB Connor Wood – “Connor has done well, after the initial disappointment, he has bounced back.  He is competing again against Jordan [Webb].  He is better at taking what is out there instead of forcing things.  I think he has gotten a lot better at that, instead of worrying about what the guy before him did, just going through his progressions and reads.  He has cleaned up that and some other things with his footwork; he is a very diligent kid about it.  The kids watch tape and all that and he watches five hours of tape outside of what we do with the staff. That is one of the things about college football; you only get them for twenty hours and so all of our kids have iPads and have the ability to watch tape, and we can see how much tape they watch, and he watched five hours of tape above and beyond last week.  That says a lot about you, when you are not ‘the guy,’ that you are going to watch that much tape and you are going to prepare in that manner, and that is great because it raises the bar in the room. All those quarterbacks have been like that, and I think a lot that has to do with him because they see how hard he works, and especially at that position, you better be a student of the game, you better be able to process stuff before the ball snaps, because stuff happens so quickly and if you hesitate, it is too late, your window to make that pass is gone, or you are sacked or whatever it is.  He has forced that room to be students of the game.”

On Certain Situations to Bring in Connor Wood – “No, it will be like the third series or the fourth series, we’ll figure it out unless it’s like we’re backed up or something kind of unusual and then it would be the one after that, so it just be a preset.”

On What Jordan Webb Needs to Improve – “Yeah, he’s usually fairly accurate on the deep ball, a couple of times it’s been the receiver, but sometimes it’s been him too.  We need him to be that guy like he was in camp, completing those

Powell to get more time at tailback

 For the Sacramento State game, freshman Christian Powell was listed at fullback. In rushing for 147 yards on 28 carries, Powell became the first player listed as a fullback to rush for over 100 yards for Colorado since Erich Kissick went for 129 yards against Missouri in 1987.

Powell was, to put it mildly, one of the few bright spots in the 30-28 loss to the Hornets.

So it should come as no surprise that Powell will be getting more playing time … and you may as well start referring to him as a tailback.

He did a great job,” Bieniemy said of Powell’s 28-carry, 147-yard, three-touchdown debut. “He’s playing tailback, but he’ll get a mixture of fullback plays . . . that was the first time for him to line up seven to eight yards deep (in the backfield) and for him to go out and do what he did says a lot.

“Now just imagine once he starts figuring out how to play the position, how much better he can be. So we’re going to give him another opportunity to put it on tape. I love what the kid brings to the table.”

With one scoring run of 64 yards and another pair of 1-yarders, Powell, one of three CU signees from Upland, Calif., tied a school freshman record for most TDs in a game. His long scoring jaunt was the fourth longest by a freshman in school history.

Powell had never lined up at tailback even during his high school career, and two days after his first game at the position he seemed a little reluctant to say he had found a home there.

“I’m just waiting to see what happens, waiting to see how things are,” he said. “But it’s been pretty good for me so far.”

Pretty good, indeed. Coach Jon Embree said Powell had earned the opportunity to be given a long-term look: “I think there were some things when we saw him on tape that intrigued us about him as a runner. I think he proved Saturday that he’s a capable runner. And he left a lot of yards out there, too. He missed some cuts, but he’s learning.”

The experiment involving Powell’s position shift was born last week at mid-week. Wanting to beef up a run game that had produced 58 yards in the opening loss to Colorado State, Bieniemy said the decision was made to position Powell behind 245-pound junior fullback Alex Wood “and see what he could do . . .

“The thing I love about him is there’s no hesitation. He puts his foot down and makes a decision (about the direction to run). On top of that, he carries some weight with him; he finds a way to average 4.5 to 5 yards a carry.”

Jon Embree: “It’s okay to be disappointed. But don’t be discouraged”

Some quotes from Jon Embree’s Tuesday press luncheon …

Overall … “There are some guys who are playing pretty well”.

On how he dealt with losing seasons a player … “We refused to not believe … Our mindset was, that it was going to break, and it did. That’s how it goes. The same people who were booing us were tearing down the goalposts on October 25th (the 20-10 win over Nebraska in 1986)”.

On dealing with the negative criticism … “You find out who your friends really are … I tell the players, ‘there are only a handful of people who really believe in you … You are always going to have challenges. You are always going to have people who say, ‘I told you so’ … You are always going to have struggles and conflicts and issues … It doesn’t happen overnight, but you have to keep working … I want every class to have the success I had (going to a bowl game in his junior and senior years). You guys are going to struggle. Some people are going to have success based on your hard work. I wasn’t on the national championship team, but I shared in it.”

On the running game … “We’re getting better. We’re good, but we want (to be dominant)”.

On overall progress of the team … “We’re still not where we need to be in starting a game, but we’re getting better. We’re getting better on special teams … There are some things we are getting better at … We are getting better at the straight running game (on defense), but we need to work on the zone read running game … We have to be better at our assignment football … We have made strides. We have been better on both sides of the ball, doing things to help make us successful … The closer you get to something, the harder it is”.

On Fresno State … “They are going to be physical … It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

On Connor Wood playing … “I believe Jordan will be fine with it. As with any competitor, do what you are doing well, and things will take care of themselves … Connor is getting better at not forcing things, going through his progressions and reads … He is a very diligent kid. He watches five hours of tape outside of when we have them. That says a lot about you, when you are not ‘the guy’, to do that preparation. If you are going to play (quarterback), you had better be a student of the game, and Connor is a student of the game.”

 … At his post-game media conference Saturday, Embree said immediately afterward he was going into a meeting with his assistants. Bieniemy said there were high levels of disappointment and frustration, but no panic: I guess more than anything . . . nobody got caught up in the emotions (of the loss). It was, ‘How do we fix it?'”

Defensive coordinator/secondary coach Greg Brown added that every staffer was “scratching their head, looking for a way to improve and get a win. We all have to improve in every aspect.”

Brown did concede that re-focusing players after such a difficult loss is “always a challenge. But we expect nothing less than 100 percent. We’re not going to lie down. Your choices are lay down and die or get up and fight.”

Embree said he called the meeting to make certain he and his assistants were “all on the same page” and answer some questions immediately “instead of sleeping on it and having to answer them the next morning.”

September 10th

Jordan Webb still the starter …

… but Connor Wood will play against Fresno State.

Wood will be in “the third or fourth series, to get him some reps”, said Embree, presumably regardless of the score of the game at that point. Wood will “get his feet wet”, as Embree put it in his post-practice comments Monday.

Injury Update

According to Kyle Ringo, CU linebacker Doug Rippy will miss at least the next two games.

Rippy, who was being counted upon to be a force on the Buff defense, missed the second half of last season with a knee injury, and had been slowly working back into form since. Against Colorado State, Rippy was in for 24 plays, registering two tackles. Against Sacramento State, Rippy played, but did not register any statistics.

Additional information concerning  the other Buff injury from the Sacramento State game, to center Gus Handler (ankle) … Embree said that Handler was “50/50” for Saturday’s game.

Ray Polk remains “out”, while cornerback Greg Henderson is also a “50/50” proposition for Fresno State.

First look – Fresno State

There will be much more about the Fresno State Bulldogs with the publication of this week’s “T.I.P.S.” (Tuesday or Wednesday), but you will probably be hearing a great deal about how Fresno State, against No. 4 Oregon, won the second half of the 42-25 loss, out-scoring the Ducks, 19-7.

From the Fresno Bee … For the Fresno State defense, it couldn’t have started any worse yet it played so well in the second half that the Bulldogs avoided getting blown out.

The question, however, remains whether Fresno State’s defensive improvements after the half were a product of the Bulldogs figuring out the Ducks’ speed, pace and plays, or whether Oregon simply let up after building a 29-point halftime lead.

Fresno State outscored Oregon 19-7 during the second half while holding the Ducks to 139 total yards and nine first downs.

However … A week earlier, Arkansas State, a Sun Belt Conference program, outscored Oregon 24-7 in the second half and still lost 57-34. 

“We took our foot off the accelerator there for a bit and let them climb back into the game,” Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota said. “We got too comfortable with the lead.”

19 Replies to “Colorado Daily – Fresno St.”

  1. Okay, so I lasted one quarter. It is now time to decide what is more important, a football program or the life of a university. There is nothing wrong with being the Vanderbilt or the Northwestern of the Pac-12. That’s the only chance you have and then, you will have to fight it out with Stanford and Cal for that honor anyway. CU, in only one sport,football,is at the bottom of the Bottom Ten and will remain there for years to come. Lets face it, watching this team never make an effort is indicative of not only its lack of talent, but there obviously isn’t a coach on the staff who has a clue. Don’t give me that too young garbage, Alabama only has 9 senors this year too and they weren’t all 4 and 5 star recruits. You old timers need to quit regaling everyone with Bill McCartney stories and connections and hire a modern day coach (who didn’t worship Bill), pay him, pay his staff or you will reside for eternity in the dung heap of college football. I’m not a naysayer but a truth teller. Basketball however, is quite another matter. Its remarkable what an experienced, good coach with a history of winning can do for a program. I would love to see the football team win, my school, the University of Denver, the winningest Division I sports school on the Front Range doesn’t have football. We rank 29th in the nation among winning sports programs. Coincidentally, each of the 28 schools above it play football. Hmmm. Anyway, I digress. I want to be a CU football fan but you just wont let me.

  2. Stuart, how good is the kid – QB – out in Tacoma, WA? Is he good enough to challenge Wood and Dillon next year, or does he look more like a redshirt. If he looks more like a redshirt, Wood needs all the reps he can get this year.

    1. Your talking about Sefo Liufau. Here is his Rivals bio

      Liufau was, like Shane Dillon before him, a four-star recruit (until he committed to CU, when he was down-graded to a three-star prospect).

      I don’t know if any freshman will be able to come in and take over this offense, unless some improvement is shown. True, all 11 starters will be back next year, plus Paul Richardson and Jeffrey Thomas, but the Buffs to date haven’t been able to protect the quarterback or establish a rushing attack. It would be asking a lot of a true freshman to come in and make this offense work.

    2. I live in WA now and having been following Sefo closely since his commitment(please stay committed). In his 1st game he went 18-20 218 yds, 1 td, 0 TOs, 11 yds rushing in a 38-14 win.
      In game 2 Sefo went 27-38 327 yds, 3 tds, 0 TOs, 50 yds rushing in a 38-42 loss to one of the state’s top ranked teams. The kid can flat out play, he will not take a sack and will run when needed. The arm strength and accuracy is there and he plays really good Seattle area teams. Oh and he CAN SEE over the O-line.
      Please stay committed to CU Sefo!!!

  3. Rob T, you’re right. Get Wood in there…. and not for just a few isolated plays… he needs the experience and we need to see what he can do with 4-5 series, and more. This is a building year no matter how you look at it. VK on BuffZone has it right, so let Wood develop so that Dillon has a challenge next year.

  4. “So it should come as no surprise that Powell will be getting more playing time … and you may as well start referring to him as a tailback.”

    yes it does come as a surprise. What has been going on in practice all this time?
    We have a running back for an OC and it is a surprise anyway.

    “He didn’t walk away from a budding NFL career to step into quicksand at his alma mater. ”
    If he didn’t come in with eyes wide open its no wonder he hasn’t seen the other teams coming….or been able to do anything about it.

  5. One last thing. The inexperienced DB’s. Being they are inexperienced and fast… or at least we were led to believe they are – put the fastest on their fastest, etc., then let them play “man” without giving the other team a cushion to run a pattern under… especially since they are probably inexperienced scheme, zone players. Play man and tell the DB’s to stay on their assigned receiver like a fly on stink. If they’re fast and good athletes, that should be no problem. Orms is a beast. Let him lead if Polk isn’t available… believe me, Orms is a winner and will do whatever necessary to win. The calls against him this year have been bogus.

  6. I just wanna see the young kids get their experience. Mac took almost 5 years to put it together and like Mac, Embree is starting from scratch. Don’t think for a minute that CU’s ol Ball Coach is not giving Embo solid advice on how to turn this thing around. It takes at least four years and possibly longer if all of the bandwagon jumpers who drank the Kool Aid keep bringing down the moral of the team by screaming for Embree’s job. I saw allot of progress from the ‘O’ and a huge step back by the ‘D’ this week. Yeah, it sucks, we were beaten by a better team the past two weeks. Get used to it because it is gonna happen allot more in the next couple of seasons no matter who is coaching the team. Embree recruited the speed and talent the Buffs needed to build his house on and you just don’t plug three star recruits into a new system and burn the world. Jon Embree was one of McCartney’s first recruits, Jon did not see a winning season until his third season under Mac. It takes a few years, not a few games to build a winning team. Give the guy a break. Remember what you said about him five years from now when we are playing for the PAC 12 Championship. Are you really committed to seeing the Buffs succeed? If you are then just keep in mind that a new coach means all of Embree’s recruiting was for nothing and the new coach, staff, recruits and losing starts all over again. This guy is no Dan Hawkins by any stretch. Hawk could give two shits about CU’s winning tradition. Embree was playing ball for Colorado when Mac rebuilt it and I have no doubt that these guys will put it together if we give him a chance.

    That being said, I hope that he really does put Conner Wood in on Saturday and does not wait until it is a blowout. If he wants to get his feet wet, why not use a wasted season to do it? I was at field level on the ten yard line last Saturday and all I could see was the Sac State D’s ass ends and footballs flying over the top of their heads and past our wide receivers. Jordan Webb is just too small to small sit in the pocket. I swear he tries to guess where the receivers are because there is no way in hell he can see them. Wood looked all confidence when he tossed his only pass (A Completion!) to Gerald Thomas. I am not even sure that I want to see Webb as a backup.

    1. I agree with you. I just got done breaking down the roster from this page

      102 players

      42% Freshman
      29% Sophomores
      21% Junior
      8% Senior

      This year is going to be rough, but the youth we have is unbelievable and will lead to success in a couple of years. If Embree can still put together another good recruiting class that fits his system, then CU will be headed back to a bowl game in two years if not three. The current reality sucks, but the program was left in shambles from the previous regime. CU needs another good recruiting class to help raise the bar for competition on player positions.

    2. Beaten by a better team? Sacramento State lost by thirty to New Mexico State and CSU got throttled by something called North Dakota State. Do you really believe those two teams have more talented rosters than Colorado? Really? This is what happens when you hire a guy who wouldn’t have gotten an INTERVIEW with any other Division One program in America. It’s not all Coach Embree’s fault. He’s simply woefully underqualified. But bottom line is we have become a laughing stock and the coaching is to blame. Cut our losses and hire a qualified head coach. Otherwise at this rate we’re on course to getting thrown out of the Pac 12.

    3. And just to add I’m sure that Coach Embree is a great guy who is working hard and would make a solid assistant coach. But Rich Rodriguez inherited a roster Colorado beat last year and he seems to be doing just fine.

  7. QB starter? Stick with Webb (for now). At FS, let Wood go no less than 4 successive series if ahead or behind. Have all offensive plays and defensive schemes ultimately approved/disapproved by JE and he sends in the plays, or if he disapproves, JE can then send in the play or scheme he wants. We and he (JE) need to know where we are weak in reference to play calling and at coaching. I don’t think EB is an OC… maybe a good RB coach, just not an OC. (JE should know you don’t go into business with buddies). I think this format would help identify poor coaching too… I think all coaches should take a coaching apptitude test to include abstract thinking, math and other tests to identify fast, imaginative, rational, pragmatic thinking.

    The play call that ultimately killed any chance of beating Sac State was the last possession where we had 3rd and 3 with 4 minutes and change left on the clock and EB called Powell into the middle where SS was stacked against the run… then, we went into a prevent defense and SS riddled us with 5-10 yd passes that led to first downs.

    Looking for a RB? Powell looks to be the best all-around RB…. but, what about Ford? Last year he regularly ripped off 5-7-10 yds. when he was given a chance to lug the rock… in addition to that, he has had stellar scrimmages in 3-4 camps. Give him the ball 7-10 times per game and watch him go (we need to know what his potential is, he’s earned it). So, he gets the ball once against SS, and he gains 7 yds into the middle against a stacked defense and is almost lost amongst the big bodies trying to bring him down. Powell & Ford… Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside. Time to quit playing favorites EB. Sorry Smurfs.

    AND, where were our 5-10 yd. slant patterns on offense? The tight ends also proved they can catch the ball. It seems that most all our pass plays were 10-20+ yds downfield where the potential percentage of successful receptions was less than ideal. Holy cr p Batman. We got OUT-COACHED.

        1. comcast has a web special promo price, the sports entertainment package, for 4.95/month, no contract or minimum duration. along with that comes the pac-12national channel, AND, streaming capability from the xfinity website (streaming doesn’t work with IE9, use firefox).

  8. As far as your poll goes….I’VE GOT NO IDEA! I’m in a haze and don’t know what to think and can’t express my feelings properly. I do think Brown and Marshall are horrible.

  9. In regards to Jordan Webb starting Sat. ? ……..this sounds a lot like Hawkins……The coaches need to make a big move/change at QB. If Wisconsin can fire their O-line coach after two games at least we can “try” a new QB…….It will be to little to late(again) If we wait until we are down 14-21 points in the 1st quarter……J. Webb will be forced to perform/take risks and he will throw a INT for a pick 6……If can feel the disappointment in my stomach already !…….Totally bummed at JE’s comments…..”to get him some reps”………0-12 with comment like that !

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