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Comparing Stanford when Harbaugh took over to CU today

Discussion in 'University of Colorado Recruiting Archive' started by Buffnik, Jun 24, 2011.

  1. Buffnik

    Buffnik Real name isn't Nik Club Member Junta Member

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    Hired in December of 2006, Jim Harbaugh had a very similar situation as Jon Embree (hired December 2010) with a partial class to pull together right off the bat. Stanford's previous 5 seasons leading into Harbaugh's 1st recruiting class in 2007 had been (recruiting class that followed listed in parentheses):

    2002: 2-9 (#25 Rivals class)
    2003: 4-7 (outside top 50)
    2004: 4-7 (#41)
    2005: 5-6 (outside top 50)
    2006: 1-11

    That 2007 transition class was also ranked outside the Top 50 on Rivals.

    In the 2007 season, the team had a 4-8 record that included a signature win over USC that gave credibility to what Harbaugh was selling. This only translated into the #50 class for 2008 (remember, the big recruiting bump for on-field performance is offset by a year). That class only included two 4* prospects, but one of them was Andrew Luck. They got their QB to jumpstart things.

    In 2008, Stanford went 5-7 without a real signature win. But the record was improving. They were able to pull in the #20 class for 2009.

    Then in 2009 they kind of broke through, going 8-5 with signature wins over both Oregon and USC (finishing with a loss in the Sun Bowl). The 2010 class came in ranked #26 on Rivals.

    As we know, 2010 saw one of the greatest Stanford seasons ever: 12-1 with a Orange Bowl win and a #4 finish in the polls. This was followed with the #22 Rivals class for 2011.

    Now to compare that with CU.

    Prior to the Embree hire, the last 5 seasons and their accompanying Rivals recruiting classes were as follows:

    2006: 2-10 (#32 Rivals class)
    2007: 6-7, including an Independence Bowl loss to Alabama (#15)
    2008: 5-7 (#48)
    2009: 3-9 (outside top 50)
    2010: 5-7

    The 2011 transition class was also ranked outside the top 50.

    Obviously, we don't have a 2011 season to look at yet and our recruiting class is not final. But Embree, like Harbaugh, landed a 4* QB who was a top target right off the bat.

    Will Dillon be the kind of player Luck has been? Probably not.

    But will CU do significantly better than Harbaugh's 50th ranked 1st full class? Almost certainly yes.

    Beyond that, it's a question of whether this season generates the excitement around the program that Harbaugh's initial 4-8 campaign did for him. We're starting from a somewhat higher baseline than Stanford was and they give us a blueprint as a case study for how to win. Embree shares a lot of commonalities with Harbaugh from a philosophical standpoint (featuring TE and FB, identity as a running team, focus on discipline and toughness... old school football).

    I'm not saying that 12-1 is going to happen in Year 4, but it's not out of the question if Dillon develops into a top QB. And we can certainly hope to surpass the records from Harbaugh's first three seasons (4-8, 5-7, 8-5). CU has also shown that when it is winning or even seen as "on the rise" that it is able to pull recruiting classes that are better than the 20-26 range Stanford is pulling at its current high point.

    After the 2001 Big 12 Championship, we pulled the #10 class in 2002. 2003 yielded the #19 class. Then we had the "scandal" years with classes in the 40s from 2004-2006. As stated previously, the coaching change that followed along with the momentum from making a bowl game resulted in #32 and #15 classes, respectively. While Stanford's high point result is classes in the 20s every year, CU can realistically expect to be pulling classes ranked in the top 20 once we have any momentum.

    It starts with the 2011 season and 2012 class. We need to see a top 35 class, hope that we got the right guy with Dillon, and have a signature win and/or make a bowl game. If we take care of business, we will quickly be on our way back to where we were and where we belong as a Top 25 all-time program.

    (Sorry for the long post. I probably should have blogged this.)
     
    NiTownBuff likes this.
  2. White_Rabbit

    White_Rabbit Club Member Club Member

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    Good post nik. Stanford is definitely a program we should try to emulate. Iowa, Wisconsin, and Washington are others that we could attempt to emulate.

    I just hope we can get a signature win and get some wins this fall. Everything points to us having a good season except the schedule and our ability to fall asleep on the road.
     
  3. absinthe

    absinthe Ambitious but rubbish. Club Member Junta Member

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    Not to be a dick but harbaugh>embree
     
  4. Buffnik

    Buffnik Real name isn't Nik Club Member Junta Member

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    At the time he was hired, his only real coaching background was 3 very successful years at the University of San Diego (1AA football). In hindsight, it was a great hire for Stanford. But at the time he wasn't exactly a hot coaching candidate. It was a risk hire that didn't have the media saying "great hire" the way they did about the Walt Harris hire a couple years earlier. Why don't we let Embo coach some games and recruit some classes before we say we know whether Harbaugh is a better coach.
     
  5. torerobuff

    torerobuff Dancing is forbidden Club Member

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    I feel that as the resident San Diego alum, I should chime in. Harbaugh coming into usd had a very similar resume to embers coming into cu, ie assistant in the pros. Jarbaugh came into stanford on the other hand after three successful head coaching years, granted that being at a 1aa non scholarship program. I guess what I'm getting at is that harbaugh did have head coach experience, embers does not. This seems to be the one major concern most have, embrees lack of experience running the show. If jon does 70% of the job Jim did in his first years at usd or Stanford, I think buff fans will be satisfied. If he does 90%+, buff fans should be ecstatic, because that means top 20 or so plus competing for a conference title in 2-3 years. Man I love me se harbaugh, wish he would've become the broncos coach.
     
  6. walk

    walk Member

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    I think Stanford, Iowa and Washington are all fair comparisons. There is no doubt that this ship can be turned around. Lots of schools do it. Lots don't though. The next 4 years will be fun to watch.
     
  7. Lt.Col.FrankSlade

    Lt.Col.FrankSlade Well-Known Member

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    I would like to see CU emulate Stanford -- particularly on offense!!
     
  8. Buffnik

    Buffnik Real name isn't Nik Club Member Junta Member

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    Are you sure that Harbaugh was an assistant in the pros? I thought he'd done some work as a consultant or something with his dad's team at Western Kentucky while he was an NFL player, but I thought he went straight from that to USD.
     
  9. Jens1893

    Jens1893 Moderator Club Member Junta Member

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    Spent 2 years on the Raiders staff in 2002+2003, incl one as the QB Coach in 2003
     
  10. Buffnik

    Buffnik Real name isn't Nik Club Member Junta Member

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    Thanks, Jens.
     
  11. Mick Ronson

    Mick Ronson Well-Known Member

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    i'd also say Jim H. had much more of a "selling point" as a former player than JE. Captain Comeback and such. i think that's meaningful to recruits, for better or worse.
     
  12. MtnBuff

    MtnBuff Not allowed in Barzil 2 Club Member

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    You can argue details about Harbaugh had this and Embree had that but I think the premise of the comparison is valid.

    The key point is that there is a common misconception out there that Harbaugh showed up at Stanford and they showed up in the top 25 the next day. To the contrary they had some rough patches, they had some disgruntled fans who thought the winning wasn't coming fast enough, they lost some recruits they wanted and took some recruits that their fans thought weren't worthy of a scholly.

    Who knows how we are going to look at Embree in 5-10 years. I hope and believe that we are going to be happy that he was hired but it is a big job with no guarantees of success. Key point is that pushing that big panic button this early in the process is ridiculous. It's okay to be critical but that criticism needs to be within the context of the situation he entered, There is a long list of coaches who didn't win national championships, their conference, a decent bowl, or recruiting rankings in their first year or two who went on to win a lot of games at their respective schools.

    Right now it is all about progress and as long as we are taking more steps forward than back I'm fine with it.
     
  13. Buffnik

    Buffnik Real name isn't Nik Club Member Junta Member

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    While Embree has some advantages with recruiting relationships he had while he was as an assistant at CU and UCLA (even if they need to be re-established after his years in the NFL), familiarity with the people and culture at the program he's inheriting, and extremely close ties to former CU players & coaches. He also has much broader coaching experience, having coached all three phases as a position coach.

    I do think that a national "name" coach would have had an easier time with the first couple full classes than Embo will have. Just look at Hawkins. But how much did his name and fame really help Harbaugh? His transition class was outside the top 50 and his first full class ranked #50.

    One other point I wanted to address is that he also has some recruiting advantages at CU that Stanford doesn't have. For one, as much as we like to talk about Stanford's academics being a major selling point on the recruiting trail, that's also a hinderance to them that lowers their ceiling. They may get some guys who look at an opportunity for a Stanford education as something they can't pass up and no other BCS program can really compete with, but there is a lot of talent that they simply can't recruit because of academics. We are recruiting from a much larger pool of athletes than they are and don't have to spread out recruiting nationally to the degree they do.
     
  14. Unleash Hell

    Unleash Hell Well-Known Member

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    How? As in what Harbaugh had done when he was hired at Stanford? Not much difference IMO. I am already starting to get pissed how fans are treating Embree.
     
  15. Unleash Hell

    Unleash Hell Well-Known Member

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    Colorado has historically been an up and down program. Good in the late 60's and early 70's, down in the late 70's early 80's. Good in the late 80's and most of 90's. Down in late 90's. Good in the early 00's, down in the late 00's. Time for our cycle to change again I think!
     
  16. Lt.Col.FrankSlade

    Lt.Col.FrankSlade Well-Known Member

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    Harbaugh had been a head coach for 3 years when he was hired by Stanford. He had a 29-6 record during that time span. That does give him a bit of an edge, from an administrative and overall game planning perspective. I do give Embree credit for having a long career in coaching - something Harbaugh did not have when he was hired at San Diego, let alone Stanford.

    How are fans treating Embree?
     
  17. Unleash Hell

    Unleash Hell Well-Known Member

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    Ya, where was Harbaugh a HC at though? My point is there is not much difference in experience.
     
  18. Highlander27

    Highlander27 Well-Known Member

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    Great break down, I was thinking of this last night and how CU might have compared to Stanford's situation.

    Hell, I still remember meeting some Stanford players after their loss to UC Davis in football around 2006. They were probably as low as we were post losing to Montana St.

    We can turn this thing around, it won't be overnight like most want though. It's gonna take time and dedication.
     
  19. Darth Snow

    Darth Snow Hawaiian Buffalo Club Member Junta Member

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    Good stuff Nik. However, you are fighting against the #1 Rule of the Message Board Denizen: Freak out at every opportunity.
     
  20. sackman

    sackman Club Member Club Member

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    For every Jim Harbaugh, there are ten Steve Fairchilds. The comparison is baseless. The fact that Harbaugh succeeded in no way is a predictor of what Embree will do here.
     
  21. Darth Snow

    Darth Snow Hawaiian Buffalo Club Member Junta Member

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    Not sure he was using it as a predictor. I took it as context.
     
  22. MtnBuff

    MtnBuff Not allowed in Barzil 2 Club Member

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    Or that he will fail, or anything in between. It is fair to look at the fact that the situations are somewhat similar and that Harbaugh took some time to succeed. We need to give Embree some time before we annoint him a savior or a bust and June of his first full season as coach is not time to judge anything.

    The Fairchild comparison is not in any way valid, completely different situations. Different levels of football, different levels of resources, different levels of expectations and historical success.

    We have also seen that backgrounds can vary a lot in both good and bad coaches. Our last head coach had huge success as a HC at a D1 school and was a bust. Our greatest ever coach had never been a HC, instead being a coordinator for a top school but not considered to be a hot prospect for a HC job.

    Michigan thought that they had the answer in RichRod based on his prior history, while nobody outside of the Texas Tech community expected Mike Leach to get them 10+ wins.

    What we do know for sure is that a lot more coaches have failed than been successful and CU isn't exactly in reload mode so Embree has a load of work on his hands. We won't know if he is succeeding until a little further down the road.
     
  23. Buffnik

    Buffnik Real name isn't Nik Club Member Junta Member

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    You took it correctly. Lots of similarities to the state of our respective programs at the time of a coaching change, identical timing for the new hire, pretty much the same results with the transition class, and an initial full class that includes landing a 4* QB who fits the new system. What happens next is anyone's guess, but Stanford is good context for why patience in recruiting and on-field success is justified if we're seeing a team that plays tough football, pulls off some big wins, is able to land some key recruits, and shows year-to-year improvement.
     
  24. sackman

    sackman Club Member Club Member

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    Don't like the Fairchild example? OK, how about John Macovic? Or Charlie Weiss? Or Chuck Fairbanks for that matter. If all we're doing here is saying "hey, Harbaugh did it, so what's to say Embree can't?" that's all well and good. It doesn't mean much, though.

    Perhaps I'm burned out from hearing an endless line of bull**** coming out of the Dal Ward for the last 5 years.
     
  25. absinthe

    absinthe Ambitious but rubbish. Club Member Junta Member

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    Actually he was a very hot candidate, perhaps a bit of a reach to go straight to stanford, but a very very respected candidate none-the-less
     
  26. Darth Snow

    Darth Snow Hawaiian Buffalo Club Member Junta Member

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    You are definitely burned out, and not in the good way. Relax man. Be happy. You don't live in Texas, Florida, or some other godawful state. The team will turn around, and I think, at the very worst, it will stop being an embarrassment. Be positive if for no other reason than you literally have ZERO evidence things are gonna go bad.
     
  27. MtnBuff

    MtnBuff Not allowed in Barzil 2 Club Member

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    Nobody is saying (or at least nobody should be saying) that Embree is the second coming and that we should all bow down to his recruiting prowess.

    All I am saying is that to get all excited one way or the other this early into the recruiting cycle of his first year, especially coming off the last five years of raw sewage coming out of the program, is ridiculous.

    Embree may bring us a national championship or he may fall flat on his face and be run out of town, either way it is way to early to make any kind of judgement on it.

    To get all worked up over the decisions that a bunch of teenagers are making in June is not mentally healthy.
     
  28. Darth Snow

    Darth Snow Hawaiian Buffalo Club Member Junta Member

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    fify
     
  29. sackman

    sackman Club Member Club Member

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    My mental health has never been all that good to begin with. I tend to take CU football more seriously than I should. I fully admit that. I'm not going to go off and kill a bunch of trees in Nebraska or anything... Well, I wouldn't be able to do that anyway, seeing as there aren't any trees there... But you get the picture.
     
  30. Buffnik

    Buffnik Real name isn't Nik Club Member Junta Member

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    I think we need to take you out for some beers at a bar that agrees to show nothing but 1990, 1991, 1994 and 2001 season highlight footage on the big screen all night. :smile2:
     

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