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CU Football: A plan for the coaching search (aka, the "Mac Model")

Discussion in 'Colorado Football Message Board' started by Buffnik, Nov 15, 2012.

  1. Buffnik

    Buffnik Real name isn't Nik Club Member Junta Member

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    Here is my idea and suggestion to CU. Use the "Mac Model" that worked before.

    After the Fairbanks disaster, McCartney was hired. We could have gone back to the Crowder coaching tree to recapture the past, but we went in a much better direction.

    We looked at a program we wanted to emulate. Similar values on the academic and off-field behavior fronts that was able to win big and do it consistently.

    So we targeted Michigan and had Mac import that culture.

    Bohn was thinking along similar lines when he hired Hawkins. But the Boise culture doesn't seem to translate to BCS programs. It has failed at Arizona State, Arkansas and Mississippi. It failed at Colorado.

    Instead of keeping a sound hiring model and making an adjustment by looking at a BCS program to re-invigorate our culture, we instead tried to go backward to move forward. We hired former Buffs who weren't even qualified for the job. People can defend them all they want with "coached at the highest level" nonsense, but no one can possibly think that Embree would have been hired as HC at any other BCS program in the nation.

    This has failed and it shouldn't come as a surprise.

    The solution is to go back to the model that has worked. The Mac Model.

    What are the programs we can identify with whose university cultures and on-field performance we can respect?

    To name 3: Stanford, Wisconsin and Notre Dame

    Like with the Mac Model, we could target one of their defensive coordinators to be our new head coach.

    Stanford: Derek Mason
    Wisconsin: Charlie Partridge
    Notre Dame: Bob Diaco

    I'm sure a longer list could be developed. Of that list, Diaco's the guy I'd be most in favor of. He's awfully young, but what he has accomplished at Virginia, Cincinnati and now Notre Dame couldn't be more impressive.

    Next, we look at the offense. Defensive Coordinators are generally conservative on offense. Mac made that mistake. Initially he was a failure at CU and he had to change his staff and import a new offense that could compete after a disaster of a season in 1984. Let's not make that same mistake. Bring in an innovative OC and give him near total control of the offense.

    A guy who has been mentioned is Bob Stittt from CO School of Mines. I'm not sure he's the guy, but we need someone like that.

    In short, people can make all the arguments against me they want but I've got 3 pretty powerful arguments on my side:

    1. Our current coach has a record of 4-19 and both his offense and defense rank at the bottom of the NCAA statistics.
    2. The model I am proposing worked exceptionally well at CU in the past.
    3. Using the tiniest bit of imagination, picture a Diaco defense with a Stitt offense and then try to tell me that wouldn't be much more successful than what we currently have. Scheme that could successfully compete in the Pac-12.

    That, in a nutshell, is what I'm pushing on the coaching front.

    Use the Mac Model for the coaching search. And pull the trigger at the end of the 2012 season.
     
  2. Buffalo Brad

    Buffalo Brad Club Member Club Member

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    Nik, you have put together the case in a well thought out and verbalized plan that matches what all of have been saying and asking for. We just did not put it as succinctly as you have done. Rep to you. Now how do we go and push this onto the Admin? I have been conversing with Bohn for about a week and I believe he gets it. The problem is obviously not with him based on what I am reading and interpreting.
     
  3. aeroxx

    aeroxx New Member

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    This is a great article, and adds some very important insight into what should have happened in the past. Though i agree with the premise(s) including the importance of cultural change in a program, I think this argument misses a key point.

    I think it was clearly a mistake to hire both Embree and Bienemy when neither had coordinating experience in 1A. I had mixed feelings at the time as far as whether I thought either one was ready to be a head coach. I think the results have demonstrated that they weren't ready on day 1, at least. I think we all agree that Hawkins experiment was a complete failure too.

    But those past decisions don't directly apply to whether it is in the best interest of CU to keep Embree and the rest of the staff next year. Those are "sunk costs" in economic terms.

    I think Embree succeeded in changing the culture from the wasteland that Hawkins left. The players are working hard in all areas. The team shows more grit and determination than in years past, even though we aren't satisfied with the results.

    The question is threefold: whether Embree is going to improve as a coach during the offseason; whether he is going to make the assistant-coaching changes the program needs; and whether he is going to improve on the recruiting front, especially by properly identifying needs, and making smart, strategic decisions on which recruits to take at what positions.

    I think this is an open and widely debatable question. I would like to see more reasoned analysis of this question. I don't think that raw emotions, no matter how deeply held, are persuasive. Neither is wishing that we could magically transplant a new coach in. Most of the people calling for Embree's head are ignoring the full consequences of that decision on the recruits and the program. A good case study is Pitt under Weinstadt (sic), then hiring Rod, then all of the talent scattering like it was 3 mile island.
     
  4. Buffalo Brad

    Buffalo Brad Club Member Club Member

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    The analysis has been done in several posts. There are literally multiple lists that have been laid out as to the factual failures of this coaching staff. What else are you looking for in your analysis? Honest question.
     
  5. SuperD

    SuperD Club Member Club Member

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    I think I like that approach. Of the guys and schools you listed, I think Diaco is the choice. Wisconsin has been hit pretty hard over the last couple of years with other schools trying to take just that approach.

    If you want to hit the Wisconsin tree I think you'd actually go after Dave Doeren at Northern Illinois, who has the added benefit of cutting his teeth in the Snyder/Stoops coaching tree which been fairly decent at putting out successful coaches. Wilcox at Washington is another guy who should be getting looks. Helfrich at Oregon will be getting a lot of attention from schools implementing the strategy (assuming Chip doesn't head to the league this year), though that obviously is a non-starter for us.
     
  6. sliderNcider

    sliderNcider MacLovin Club Member

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    Too bad we're taking the Mac Model of patience with the current hire
     
  7. aeroxx

    aeroxx New Member

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    Right. "Analysis" wasn't the best word. There has been lots of constructive criticism, which I hope to have contributed to. My point was that the "prescriptions" to fix the problems have been mostly unrealistic. For instance, if Embree is fired, what are the chances that there aren't mass transfers in our freshman class? What are the chances that we would have to start over from square one, looking at another 5 year rebuilding project?

    Let's say there is a 40% chance that Embree will turn this program around. That would probably be a chance worth taking rather than having a guaranteed delay of 2 years to start anew. This is a basic calculation of risk/reward.

    This situation is not like Hawkins in year 3 or year 4. For one thing, Embree started with much less of a team and much more significant cultural problems.

    It only makes sense for the administration to fire Embree if they think there is a very small chance (less than a 20% give or take) that the program is going to see significant improvement next year, and the year after.

    The other side of the equation is that people seem to be assuming that a different (better) coaching staff would have resulted in bowl game this year. I just don't buy it. I think the record in the pac 12 was going to be what it is, given our injury situation with p-rich, the gray shirts, and the rest of it, no matter who the coach was. Sure the blowouts might not have happened--which is a source of shame for everyone. But this still comes down to, are the freshman using these experiences to improve and learn the game or are they not? I think the players hold a lot of this in their heads and hearts, which makes it nearly impossible to forecast. (certainly not in a dumb "longitudinal" statistical study)

    I think the role of the AD in this is to help support the coaching staff and to help iron out the management and personnel problems. The policies and procedures conducted by the coaching staff needs to be thoroughly examined, and the AD should be leading this. I'm really skeptical that the team dynamics with Embree and Bienemy are productive/successful. The scattered reports that have come out have suggested that they dominate the meetings and tend to spend most of the time yelling at each other...?
     
  8. Uncle Ken

    Uncle Ken Orr no morr Club Member

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    For someone who likes to tell us what we think, you haven't really done your research. You haven't represented us accurately (insomuch as the posters on this site have a unified voice).

    Bowl game or not, Coach Embree would have this crowd if all aspects of our game weren't inadequate. We're in the bottom 8% of any statistical category you can imagine (punting aside). So this isn't really about a bowl game, but more about team performance measured by a spectrum of standards.

    Most teams measure success by wins and losses. That approach was beaten out of us a while ago. This isn't our 2000, 3-and-8 team that just couldn't quite make it happen, but returned for a great season. This is a shambles of a team by any standard by which you view it, and it appears to be getting worse.

    Do these kinds of disasters happen in a vacuum outside of broader circumstances? Of course not. However, I'd argue that the team performance (again, by nearly any standard you would like to choose) is far below where the inherited circumstances might dictate. I'm trying to say that they're significantly underperforming reasonable expectations, even if the circumstances are less than ideal. Adequate coaching staffs do the opposite of that.

    You suggest that we'll lose players (as I understand your argument) to transfer if we hire a new coach? Or that we'll lose recruits? We're already losing recruits. Do you think that players want to stick around for this mess? How loyal to you believe they are to Coach Embree? I'd expect very few transfers (if any) if we get a qualified coach in here. Your doomsday scenario doesn't feel credible from my perspective.

    In you first post you used the term "sunk costs". In academic circles, that is used to describe poor decisions made because of undue consideration for an existing investment. So basically, you're expressing those considerations which often lead to the wrong decision. But, you know...from the wrong perspective. To me, the sunken costs to outweigh the losses we're experiencing (out of state visibility, mobilization of our fan base and donors) at this program's expense.

    I do agree that we should view this from a risk analysis perspective; though I disagree with your assessment that Coach Embree has a chance of turning this around. I give him 5% chance, which will certainly weight my analysis differently than yours. But lets look at the potential damage of keeping this staff. Recruiting, gone. I haven't seen a lot of player development and growth within his system in year two, so we can assume we won't see much more (maybe). His system didn't develop between year one and two and...wait! Can you tell us why you think Coach Embree has a chance to turn this thing around?

    Seriously, break down that 40%, because that doesn't seem reasonable. You talk about turning around the culture. The culture of what? These kids are getting beaten down and quitting. When I'm in town and visit campus, I see them moping around, looking at the ground. If I say, "good afternoon" they look at me, sad, and don't engage (different than in the past). I'm not convinced any culture of anything has been changed. The only difference seems to be that we're getting blown out at unprecedented levels.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2012
    Buffalo Brad likes this.
  9. CUFan

    CUFan Welcome back Club Member

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    Sadly CU does not have enough vision to have a model/strategy nor the will to take necessary action.
     
  10. Lt.Col.FrankSlade

    Lt.Col.FrankSlade Well-Known Member

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    Embree has a 40% chance to turn this thing around?? Where on earth did that number come from?

    Embree has won 4 of his first 23 games as CU's head coach. That's 21%. By the end of the season it will probably be 4 of his first 25 games, or 16%.
     
  11. BinaryBuff

    BinaryBuff mmmm...beer Club Member

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    Well you see, Mac went 1-10 and we all know how that turned out. Embree played for Mac during those years, so he's been there and done that. It should be a 100% chance of a turnaround, not 40%.
     
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  12. BuffHerd

    BuffHerd Club Member Club Member

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    Nick, nice write up. Given that Embree appears to be staying, any chance a model like you propose could be pushed for coordinators? I believe it has to include the HC in order to work.
     
  13. BinaryBuff

    BinaryBuff mmmm...beer Club Member

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    I've always been a fan of the model to go after the OC or DC of a highly successful program. Extra bias towards those coordinators that have full control of their side of the ball -- I'm always a bit wary when the candidate is the DC from a program where the HC is a "defensive mastermind".
     
  14. buffaholic

    buffaholic Club Member Club Member

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    Nik for AD! I am 100% on the same page.
     
  15. Buffnik

    Buffnik Real name isn't Nik Club Member Junta Member

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    That's why I like Diaco so much. Brian Kelly is an offensive coach and the success of ND's defense is to Diaco's credit.
     
  16. buffaholic

    buffaholic Club Member Club Member

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    I also like proven HC's at a lower level, but only if they are a certified genius on either Defense or Offense. Hawk was not this. I prefer a proven DC or a really good OC.
     
  17. Buffnik

    Buffnik Real name isn't Nik Club Member Junta Member

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    Dave Doeren is a great name. Wisconsin DC from '06-'10. 11-3 and 10-1 in his two seasons at N. Illinois as HC.
     
  18. sliderNcider

    sliderNcider MacLovin Club Member

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    Want. Big 12, B1G, and Head Coaching experience (he also was a GA at USC). He didn't really step into a bad situation at NIU, but is still having a lot of success. So the question remains... can he rebuild CU?
     
  19. BinaryBuff

    BinaryBuff mmmm...beer Club Member

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    He would be a case where I wouldn't mind the "lower level" HC. He was a highly successful DC at a top program and then has been very successful running his own program. Would his midwest ties help/hurt/not matter for recruiting? I sometimes think that's a bit overblown and not as much of a factor in most cases, but maybe I'm off.
     
  20. Buffalo Brad

    Buffalo Brad Club Member Club Member

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    Beat me to it and rep delivered. The idea that there is a 40% chance of a turn around is nothing more than a poorly defended opinion. The greater risk is letting this fall further down the rat hole and making a bigger mess that the next legit coach will have to fix. The facts are all out in the public and defending the direction of this program should be put in the dictionary as the definition for insanity.
     
  21. Duff Man

    Duff Man Moderator Club Member Junta Member

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    Sounds good to me. I also tend to like coaches who have succeeded at more than one school, bonus points if in different conferences. It shows that a coach is adaptable and is not overly dependent on a specific school for success. Diaco, Doeren, Wilcox, and others fit the bill.
     
  22. Liver

    Liver modded mod Club Member Junta Member

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    if we are going with a major conference coordinator (which i think is a great idea), then we should look at someone who can run a p12 style offense, i think. lots of points being scored in conference these days.
     
  23. BlackNGold

    BlackNGold Club Member Club Member

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    I guess I will take the counter point of view on this Nik's formula. We keep talking about the mistake of going back to the past and then we turn around and say we want to go back to the past. College football was a totally different animal when Mac was hired. Turnover was not so great in the coaching ranks, pressure was less - ESPN had just started and was focused on Basketball, sports talk was just getting started on the radio. You had Coaching trees - Woody Hayes, Bo Schembeckler, Darrell Royal, John McKay, Bud Wilkinson, Bob Devenney, Bear Bryant, etc. These guys had low turnover in their staffs and established a certain culture around their programs over decades. The HCs at the schools that you mentioned have only been there a few years - at ND the are not building on any culture that was left by Charlie Weiss. There are really few coaching trees left.

    McCartney was an assistant at Michigan for 8 years and CU was not ranked until McCartney's 8th season.

    CFB is different today and you need to come up with a new model but it has to include great recruiting because that was Mac's real strength.
     
  24. tante

    tante Club Member Club Member

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    I wanted Doeren last time around when we got Embree.
     
  25. Buffalo Brad

    Buffalo Brad Club Member Club Member

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    Unfortunately, we are looking at a project that is going to take almost a decade to fix at this point. They have killed it.
     
  26. tante

    tante Club Member Club Member

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    I don't think it will take that long. Other programs have turned around much faster. I think we can get back to a bowl game in a season or two with a few good coaches.
     
  27. Buffalo Brad

    Buffalo Brad Club Member Club Member

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    Not disagreeing if a change is made. With a below average class this year and a devastatingly bad class next year if Embo is kept, this will be a 5 to 7 year project. Talent is not great and only going to get much worse.
     
  28. tante

    tante Club Member Club Member

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    Are you thinking if we keep Embree 5 to 7 years he can turn it around? What is turn it around in your opinion?
     
  29. Buffalo Brad

    Buffalo Brad Club Member Club Member

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    Not sure where I have said if we keep Embree at all, I am not in that camp. What I am saying is that if he is kept next season, we are looking at a pretty substantial turnaround timeline. We are way behind in talent to start with. This classs is going to be well below average and next year is going to be a disaster from a recruiting standpoint. When another coach comes in after the 2013 season, there is going to be very little legitamate talent left in the program. We think we have seen a bare cupboard in the past but it will be nothing like what the next coach will be left with. Keeping Embo another year is going to be devastating.
     
  30. buffaholic

    buffaholic Club Member Club Member

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    This is a key point when analyzing any Head Coach or Coordinator. Was his success his doing? In Diaco's case, absolutely. Would I be comfortable hiring Helfrich from Oregon? No, because I have no way to gauge if in fact he even knows what Chip does with that offense. Although, because they are so good, I'd almost give it a shot!

    But in general, give me a guy who built it himself. The guy at Northern Illinois has shown me that he can inherit a good program and keep it good. But if you dig further, he was DC at Wisconsin. Were they good? Was it his defense or the head coaches. I am too lazy to look it up (or even see if that was answered here before).

    But that is the analysis that Bohn needs to do. Learn from history.

    Hawkin's resume was full of air, upon further analysis.

    We all knew Embo's resume was too thin. Still, with good OC and DC, he could succeed as he is a good people person. But he failed that test.

    Bring in a guy like Diaco and your defense will be better each year and ultimately damn good. That makes us competitive. He needs to find a good OC, and sometimes that may take a trial or two, but we will be better in the meantime and good when he finds the OC.
     

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