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AllBuffs.com Blogger Interview: The Ralphie Report

Discussion in 'CU Buffs Newsroom' started by allbuffs, Jan 24, 2011.

  1. allbuffs

    allbuffs Administrator

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    The week AllBuffs welcomes Bob Bell and the The Ralphie Report to our some what regular University of Colorado blogger interview series.

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    1.) Simple one to start, What is your first memory as a CU fan?

    I grew up in Colorado so I was a Buff fan from birth. I was very fortunate as a child in that my father owned a large sporting goods wholesale company where he was one of the leading providers of Russell Athletic gear on the West Coast. Before Nike came into the picture, my pops supplied Russell Athletic gear to the University of Colorado and United States Air Force Academy. I spent many days of my childhood in the Colorado equipment room hanging around the athletic buildings in Boulder. I would get old Buff jerseys, old Air Force football shoes, enough shirts, hats and helmets to outfit the entire neighborhood for pickup football games whenever we wanted. Every time the Buffs went to a bowl game, I was getting a new jersey with a logo on the sleeve. I was a fortunate one.

    Throw in my love for football and growing up with a father who had some serious athletic connections it’s easy to see how I became a Colorado Buffaloes fan.

    I attended every single Colorado Buffalo youth camp I could get into. I mean who wouldn't when Rick Neuheisel knew my name in quarterback drills at the age of 10 because of my father's business connections to the school. I can still remember wearing my black cleats, decked out in Buffs gear out on the astro turf of Folsom Field with Rick Neuheisel yelling, "Way to go, Bobby."

    At the age of 10, that's pretty cool.

    Those Buff youth camps were amazing. Those Buff teams were amazing. I remember watching Kordell Stewart throw the ball to Michael Westbrook while standing on the sideline in Folsom, Christian Fauria trying to teach us how to block on the Buff practice field, Chris Hudson running sprints and people around us saying he will be playing in the NFL one day.

    Check that, those were some ridiculously amazing teams. I would come home from camp with the who's who of autographs: Kordell Stewart, Christian Fauria, Michael Westbrook, Ted Johnson, Matt Lepsis, Rae Carruth, Rashaan Salaam, Lamont Warren, Koy Detmer, Deon Figures, Chris Hudson, Leonard Renfro, Matt Russell, Ron Woolfork.
    Those were some of my best childhood memories.


    2.) I first came to know your blog through a link on AllBuffs and we now syndicate your content. Most of that has occurred in the past year though, can you give us some pre-2010 color on the Ralphie Report?

    Well, the blog was started in 2008 by Jon Woods and I. We saw an opportunity to write about the team we love as well as join a great platform in SBNation.

    We have added a few writers in Dave Gerhardt and Ash Jackson who do an excellent job adding flavor to the blog. We are always looking for additional resources to the blog so anyone on AllBuffs who wants to come and join us, we would love to talk with you about writing on the Ralphie Report.


    3.) How often is the Ralphie Report Updated?


    During the season, more than once a day. We offer game breakdowns, critiques, daily links and commentary about the Buffs.

    During the offseason, we post when the content is there. We try not to fill up the site with fluff. I think one of the best parts about the site and what SBNation has to offer is our game threads with live commenting. If you haven't stopped by our live game threads, you should. It really provides you very interactive way to comment without having to refresh a thousand times.


    4.) Other than being a sports nation affiliate and having a literal army of followers on Twitter (12K), how do you see the RR as different from other CU Blogs?


    I think TRR is different for a few reasons. It's not just a blog. It also has a message board feature for fans to start their own posts, make their own thoughts known (called our fan post and fan shots section). I think the site offers a chance to not only hear what we have to say but what other fans have to say about the Buffs.

    Also, like I mentioned above, the game thread and live commenting feature is tops on the web. It is the best technology to chat up a game with fellow fans. The SBNation team does a great job giving us the best tools to be successful.

    Finally, the Ralphie Report is just one of 300 blogs on the SBNation platform. Members of the free service can bounce from one blog to another, reading up on Colorado opponents, rivals and other teams in the NCAA. I think people enjoy the network of teams and the easy access to information.


    5.) What keeps you motivated and interested, even when at times the Buffs haven't been very good of late in any of the revenue sports?

    Yes, at times it has been tough especially with the uncertainty at the coaching position last year. Writing for The Ralphie Report doesn't pay any of the bills so working full time jobs, having wives can certainly make committing to a blog tough. But as a fan, you always find reason for hope and things to keep you excited about the future. Whether it is a new recruiting class or excitement when spring ball rolls around, there’s always room for optimism and how next year maybe different...sometimes us fans are crazy and delusional but that is why they call us fans, right?

    But mostly, it is for our readers. When we started our little blog in 2008 on blogspot, we never thought we would have over 1,500 members. They are the ones that really keep us going. We have some long, long time members who would be the only one to comment on a story when we first got started. We enjoy talking to them and we enjoy hearing their opinions on the Buffs.


    6.) Building off that, how are you feeling about the future of all three programs with new leadership at the helm in each?


    Too bad you didn't ask me this question a week ago! Couldn't have been more excited about basketball until the past two games. That being said, I like Boyle and I like what he has done in recruiting. I think he is the right man for the job but as always, until they get a productive big man in Boulder, this team will always struggle, especially on the road. The move to the Pac-12 should help the basketball program as I think the style of play and the current players are much better suited in that conference. All in all, I think basketball is on an upward trend.

    As for football, I like all of the hires. We all know they can recruit and we are witnessing some exciting things in recruiting already with very little time to make relationships with players and family. That has been impressive so far.

    I think this group will get the team ready to play and I like what I am hearing about the offseason conditioning program making the players more flexible, more athletic and less prone to injuries due to stiffness. The staff needed to be overhauled and that is what they did. Out with the bad, change the culture, change the losing thought processes and get the right attitude into the program.

    Similar to basketball, until the Buffs get a blue chip quarterback or develop current quarterbacks into blue chippers, the program will not be elite. Every year, you see the importance of a big time quarterback. You can look at Auburn this year, Texas losing a Colt McCoy, Florida with Tim Tebow and Florida without Tim Tebow. You look at Oklahoma and how they have sustained success with good quarterbacks. Getting a leader and a difference maker at quarterback is extremely important.

    Also, it will be interesting to see what type of game day coaches EB and Embree are. They may be great but we won't know until we get to see them live in action. That is probably the biggest question right now.

    Overall, I feel positive about the direction.

    Quick story. Last week at the Oklahoma State game, I sat right next to the recruits and the coaching staff. Pretty much every coach was in attendance with a nice set of recruits. As you look at the staff sitting there talking to the kids from Bobby Kennedy to EB, they just have a remarkable presence about them, they look like they mean business, they have the look of a group of guys who are going to knock down the doors on the recruiting trail. It was best said by the person I was attending the game with: "They look like bad asses."

    After being portrayed as soft the past few years, the program can use a little more bad ass.


    7.) What do you expect to see out of the basketball team the rest of that way?

    Well, Boyle and Co. need to channel what they were doing to start Big 12 play. The Buffs were running, scoring a ton of points and holding their own on defense. The past two games on the road, the offense has been non-existent and defensively, they have provided little resistance, especially to a very poor Oklahoma team.

    One can only hope Boyle is having some spirited, physical practices. The good news is the Buffs have been great at home, the bad news is Kansas comes to town fresh off their first loss of the year to Texas. They will be ready, will the Buffs? I am excited to see how Boyle gets this team ready. It will be a good test to see what kind of players we have and if the coaching staff can get them to respond.

    We also need to get Levi Knutson back on track. His outside presence opens up lanes for Burks and Higgins. Without his perimeter game, defenses can sag into the paint and force Burks and Higgins to play on the perimeter. Also, I wonder what Boyle will do at point guard. Nate Tomlinson and Shannon Sharpe are providing nothing on the offensive end. They are no threat to score which is also hurting Higgins and Burks, who are facing constant double teams. I wonder if we will see more of Higgins at point guard with Burks, Knutson, Relphorde and Roberson.

    It's a long season but after two bad losses, Colorado needs to right the ship quick or it will be hoping for an NIT bid.


    8.) Looking Ahead to the Spring (night) Game and next season what are your expectations of Coach Embree, his new staff, and the team in general?


    I think Buff fans need to temper expectations this first season. This is a tough year to be cleaning house and changing the culture with one of the more difficult schedules you will ever see in college football. The schedule is downright filthy.

    If Embree and company can keep games close this year, win 5 or 6 and continue to impress on the recruiting trail, I will be very satisfied. The Buffs will be breaking in new play callers, new offensive and defensive systems, new practice habits and expectations. Whenever you have a huge shakeup like I believe will occur in Boulder, there will be growing pains.

    My biggest expectation is for the team to be mentally prepared to play each Saturday especially on the road. Many times over the past few years, the team wasn't ready and therefore never had a shot. I think a prepared football team, even if they aren't the most talented, will show signs of promise and may even keep the Buffs in a few games they weren't supposed to be in. That is how I will judge year one.

    Hopefully the fan base realizes it may be a tough year...hopefully I remember that this season!


    9.) Turning back to your site for a moment, what new things do you have planned for 2011?

    Hopefully we can cover some winning programs! Since starting up in 2008, we haven't had a lot to celebrate so we are hoping 2011 brings some new excitement.

    We have a few things we are thinking about doing. Giving readers a fan’s perspective from inside the press box to the locker room is something we are going to work on this year. Last year, we were just glad to be there, this year we are going to provide a little more surrounding the game day experience.

    The move to the Pac-12 will provide enough content for about three years by itself. We are going to be learning about 11 new Universities. Should be some exciting times watching USC, Oregon, Stanford, UCLA, Cal and all the other conference members this first year.

    Again, we are always looking to add more writers which always brings new ideas and enthusiasm to the blog.


    10.) One last somewhat out of sync question, what was it like being credentialed last season?


    It was great, a little intimidating but I think we have a feel for it now. To be able to get an inside look at the program was amazing. We just wish we could make a living doing this and use it a bunch more! We are very thankful to have the privilege.

    Thanks to All Buffs for allowing us to answer a few questions. You guys run a great site and we look forward to seeing you on The Ralphie Report.
    Go Buffs!
     
  2. Buffnik

    Buffnik Real name isn't Nik Club Member Junta Member

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    Ralphie Report is a really great part of the Buffs' online presence.

    When it made the move to SBNation as that network was bring built, they did an unbelievable job with their membership drive. Colorado was running neck and neck with (I believe) Alabama for being the college site with the largest membership there.

    They do a fantastic job.

    Thanks, Bob. (And sorry I haven't posted over there in a while.)
     
  3. dply

    dply Doble hoja Club Member

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    Good interview. i love the ralphie report.
     

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