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Impact of "Lame Duck" Years - The Embree Project

Discussion in 'Colorado Football Message Board' started by Buffnik, Jun 9, 2012.

  1. Buffnik

    Buffnik Real name isn't Nik Club Member Junta Member

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    [​IMG]

    I'll let you make up your own minds on just how badly it hurt the program to let a lame duck coach HaLkins stick around for an extra year.

    Before we get into football and the Embree discussion... first, we should have another look at how long it took men's basketball to recover after we did that with Ricardo Patton... with a reminder that basketball can be turned around more quickly than football.

    CU Men's Basketball (Patton Era)
    SeasonRecordNotes
    1996-9722-10NCAA 2nd Round
    1997-9813-14No postseason (7-9 in conference)
    1998-9918-15NIT 2nd Round
    1999-0018-14NIT 1st Round
    2000-0115-15No postseason (5-11 in conference)
    2001-0215-14No postseason (5-11 in conference)
    2002-0320-12NCAA 1st Round
    2003-0418-11NIT 1st Round
    2004-0514-16No postseason (4-12 in conference)
    2005-0620-10NIT 1st Round
    2006-077-203-13 & last place in conference (lame duck year)

    Due to things that were going on in the program during that lame duck year and the number of guys who transferred out or were booted after Bzdelik took over, we ended up with scholarship losses from APR failure. It took years to build it back up, especially in a situation where no academic risks could be taken.

    CU Men's Basketball (Post-Patton Era)
    SeasonRecordNotes
    2007-0812-203-13 & last place in conference (Bzdelik)
    2008-099-221-15 & last place in conference
    2009-1015-166-10 & 6th place in conference
    2010-1124-14NIT Semifinals (Boyle)
    2011-1224-11Conference Champions & NCAA 3rd Round

    After a lame duck year in basketball, it took 3 years to get back to the level of the previous coach's worst seasons (other than his lame duck year) and another 2 years before we were able to surpass his greatest success.

    Football's a more difficult one to analyze. In Embree's case, it can almost be argued that 2005 was the Barnett lame duck year (sort of, it was in flux as no one knew whether he'd be extended or fired) and that the HaLkins era was a continuation of that with the program hitting a glue sniffing addict's rock bottom in 2010. Embree also inherited APR issues, as Bzdelik did.

    CU Football (Barnett Era)
    SeasonResultNotesRecruit Class Rank after Season (Rivals)
    19997-5Won Insight.com Bowln/a
    20003-8(no players from Mac Era still in program)n/a
    200110-3Won Big 12 (finished #9 in nation)#10
    20029-5Won Big 12 North (finished #21 in nation)#19
    20035-7Embree & Bieniemy had left for UCLA; rape accusations scandal gets ugly in January following season#74
    20048-5Won Big 12 North & Houston Bowl#43
    20057-6Won Big 12 North & Lost Champs Sports Bowl (Mike Hankwitz coached bowl game)#48 (signed with HaLkins)

    Dan HaLkins Error
    SeasonRecordNotesRecruiting Class Rank (Rivals)
    20062-10#32
    20076-7Lost Independence Bowl#15
    20085-7#48 (momentum gone after missing bowl)
    20093-9HaLkins reported to be fired before Thanksgiving game & then decision reversed by administration#66 (lame duck class)
    20105-7Last 3 games coached by Brian Cabral (2-1 record)#74 (signed with Jon Embree, who had under 2 months to recruit)

    Jon Embre Era
    SeasonResultNotesRecruiting Class Rank (Rivals)
    20113-10Schedule ranked top 5 most difficult in nation#36

    Last, let's take a look at the 2010 lame duck recruiting class from HaLkins when the bottom fell completely out of this thing. There are a few bright spots, but it's pretty awful.

    2010 Football Recruiting Class
    ProspectPositionRivals StarsRivals RatingNotes
    Jered BellCB3*5.7Limited PT as a frosh; Soph year & following spring lost to knee injury
    Keenan CantyWR2*5.3Redshirted; Limited PT in 2nd year
    Justin CastorK2*5.3Didn't win PK job; lost kickoff job during 2nd year
    Cordary Clark (Allen)RB2*5.2Redshirted; switched to TE, then DE; left program before 2012 season
    Kaiwi CrabbOG3*5.6Redshirted; enters 3rd year as a backup on OL
    Donnie DuncanATH3*5.6Never made it to CU - Academics
    Justin FavorsTE2*5.4Never made it to CU - Academics
    Henley GriffonTE2*5.4Redshirted; Left CU after 2011 spring
    Evan HarringtonLB3*5.5JUCO; limited PT in 2010; starting FB in 2011; graduated
    Nick HirschmanQB3*5.6Redshirted; limited PT in 2011; 2 broken feet and missed spring 2011
    Tony JonesRB3*5.7Redshirted; #2 RB in 2011; expected 2012 starter
    Trea JonesRB3*5.5Never played; transferred to Towson
    Alex LewisOT/OG3*5.5Grayshirted; limited PT in 2011 at OT and blocking TE; expected 2012 LG starter
    Harold MobleyTE3*5.7Redshirted; left team in spring 2011
    Daniel MunyerC/OG3*5.5Redshirted; limited PT in 2011; expected 2012 OG starter
    Dakota PooleDEnonenoneCanadian rugby player signed late; redshirted & left program due to injury in spring 2011
    Kirk PostonDE/DT3*5.5Redshirted; not sure he has ever gotten on the field
    Paul RichardsonWR4*5.8Committed to UCLA & enrolled early; dismissed for incident & enrolled at CU before 2010 season; potential star who will miss at least beginning of 2012 with knee injury
    Eric RichterOG3*5.7JUCO; redshirted then switched to DT; hasn't played
    Kyle SlavinTE3*5.5Redshirted; limited PT in 2011; projected backup in 2012
    Terrel SmithS2*5.4Spot starter in 2010; limited PT in 2011; potential starter in 2012
    Justin TorresRB2*5.2Played well in 2010 until he got homesick and quit team
    Chidera Uzo-DiribeDE3*5.7Limited PT in 2010; spot starter in 2011; expected starter and playmaker in 2012
    Lowell WilliamsLB3*5.5Redshirted; special teams contributor in 2011; expected backup & ST guy in 2012

    It's clear that Embree inherited a situation that was at least as difficult as what Bzdelik inherited for basketball. I'd say that it's much worse, but at least CU has a tradition in football as a Top 25 all-time program with a run in the 1990s when we were a Top 5 program for the decade. It's easier to re-build off fairly recent success than build something that's never been, so I'll call the tasks even.

    But as Kentucky has shown, in basketball you can beat juniors and seniors with freshmen and sophomores. That's not the case in football. And CU can't short-cut the process by recruiting JUCO athletes, since it's about impossible to find more than a couple a year who meet eligibility standards on transferrable credits and for whom you can then win recruiting battles. So even if the tasks are even (probably a stretch), it's fair to say that it takes 2 years longer in football.

    What that would translate to is that CU Football, even if it's a huge success story like CU MBB has been, probably won't be in a position to win a conference title until Embree Year 6 or 7 (2016 or 2017). When Bill McCartney inherited a similar situation from Chuck Fairbanks, it took him until his 4th season to have a winning record and until his 8th season to win a conference title.

    [​IMG]

    Are CU fans patient enough for this process? Will we enthusiastically be there supporting our young team through the good times and bad as it grows over the next couple seasons? Can we acknowledge that if Embree delivers a winning record before 2014 that he's ahead of the standard set by Coach Mac?
     
    BuffTuba, dply, OUBuff and 10 others like this.
  2. tante

    tante Club Member Club Member

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    You forgot to add rep me at the end. I actually think we had a small window for a quick turnaround last year. If we had won 7 games and went to a bowl, recruiting would be way easier but that schedule was absolutely brutal. Not easy to learn a system against Ohio state and Cal.
     
  3. buff4bcs1985

    buff4bcs1985 Hail to the King

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  4. Duff Man

    Duff Man Moderator Club Member Junta Member

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    For me, a lot depends on how his 2012/2013 classes look on the field over the next couple seasons. If they show potential and they are still here to contribute as upperclassmen, I will be pretty happy. I am not expecting kids to dominate the conference as freshmen or sophomores, but we should have a pretty good idea of who can play and who cannot.

    If it is a repeat of the 2007/2008 classes under Hawkins, where we saw several freshmen play but never saw them reach their upperclassmen years, there will be issues. It not only killed the talent level (several of the more high profile players flamed out), but it essentially wiped out our depth at most positions.

    Looking back at the 2007 class, only five guys became multi-year starters (and starters as upperclassmen). If the 2012 class has similar results... yikes.
     
  5. MtnBuff

    MtnBuff Not allowed in Barzil 2 Club Member

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    Even if we had a normal schedule last year and stayed relatively healthy we were so completely talent deficient that winning 7 was out of the question. Add in the brutal schedule that you mention and some key injuries and we really did well to win 3. Playing RBs and WRs at corner, having no depth at DE, having PRich get hurt, and dealing with the losing attitude that was here and winning 3 was a major accomplishment.

    Looking at the current roster it is depressing to see the lack of talent and leadership we have now. With last years class we are starting to get AQ level talent but we are still a long way from the top teams in the conference.

    Keeping Hawkins around really cost us two classes. The lame duck class you have broken down was a part of this. The following class was a good attempt by Embree in a few short weeks but we had no relatationships established with quality recruits since everyone knew that Hawkins was just waiting to get fired. We have already seen attrition from the 2011 class that if re-evaluated would drag that class way down. Asiata was one of the outstanding players in the class and he is gone. Burnette and Dorman were both rated as 3* players in the class and each clearly showed they weren't worth the rating.

    Another big issue is that most successful teams have upper classmen helping and and developing the younger players, this team is going to be lacking that as well. It's a good thing that Embree likes a challenge because he dook one in taking over this team.
     
    Highlander likes this.
  6. Darian3Hagan

    Darian3Hagan '89 Player of the Year Club Member

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    The only way Embree gets extended is if one of these QBs is the real deal. A very good to great qb could make up for a lot of short comings.
     
  7. tante

    tante Club Member Club Member

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    I am not saying even a normal schedule, but lets pretend that we had an OOC schedule last year that looked something like LSU next year:

    Idaho @ Boulder = WIN
    Florida Atlantic @ Boulder = WIN
    CSU @ Denver = WIN
    Akron @ Boulder = WIN

    at this point we start 4-0, cutting our teeth against weaker teams and since the competition is less maybe we don't have as many guys get hurt. Hopefully that is enough to get us past Washington State this time, add in Arizona and Utah and we have 7 wins and a bowl game and recruiting is looking great. But this is just a stupid exercise in dreamland.
     
  8. MtnBuff

    MtnBuff Not allowed in Barzil 2 Club Member

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    Agree with you on the LSU schedule but when have we ever played that kind of OOC. Had we had that OOC and even done exactly the same as we did in conference we would have 6 wins and a shot at a bowl (not having Hawaii would require we cut back to 12 games but lets pretend that we get a bye week and win one more game as a result.

    Even with this during the OOC the team was still dealing with the after effects of Hawkins. They figured out a way to lose to Hawaii and might have figured out a way to lose to an Akron or FAU even though they shouldn't.
     
  9. FLounder

    FLounder The Buffs will rise again! Club Member

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    Impossible we only have 3 OOC games.
     
  10. buffedup

    buffedup Cooler than a Popsicle Stand. Club Member

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    Just show me steady progress in: A) The run first offensive game plan becoming more effective. I expect to see the rushing/game yardage to continue creeping up until we are averaging at least 200 yards/game rushing. I expect a more efficient passing game to complement this. B) Defensive gameplan is more aggressive. Stopping the run first mentality, and pressure the QB. C) Just have efficient kicking and return yardage.

    If Colorado continues to improve in those areas, the rest will take care of itself. Colorado tends to recruit very well as long as there is a perception (or actual reality) that the program is moving in the right direction.
     
  11. leftybuff

    leftybuff Iconoclast Club Member

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    Dr. Phil, Benson and MB all but killed CUFB by keeping the clown another year, Embo will turn it around IMO, and CU will rise again, but it will be a longer and harder road because of the the Three Stooges.
     
  12. FChairbanks

    FChairbanks muthaka slayer Club Member

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    ^ this...

    We're talking about a return to football fundamentals. Block and tackle first, pound the ball, use the tight end position to open the field, then stretch it on the outside.

    Build the foundation, then recruit for speed. the PAC won't know what hit them...
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2012
  13. SECOBuffsFan

    SECOBuffsFan Active Member

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    As long as their is major improvement in things like penalties (sign of discipline) and the young guys play like Henderson did last year I will be okay with another tough season. I think 4-6 wins this year would be a great sign of where we are heading.
     
  14. SBG

    SBG Formerly known as EFNMB Club Member Junta Member

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    Yeah, I think people need to recognize this fact. It's the reason why we have so many guys at QB on scholly right now.
     
  15. liverflukes

    liverflukes Resident Bear Club Member

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    I empathize with fans here and realize how/why your program has fallen and understand that you are clearly rebuilding in a lot of areas. IMO it will take all of 5 years to consistently put up solid W-L numbers/appeal to national recruits and earn the trust/meet the expectations of the fan base but I don't know the length of Embree's contract or the university's tolerance level/patience for seeing this through. Embree seems like a passionate coach who inherited a sinking ship and now has to right it in a brand new conference while being paid less than other coaches within the PAC12 AND while simultaneously dealing with strict academic entry requirements for recruits (while the rest of the PAC has Special Entry and JUCO exceptions) AND a hostile anti-athletic faculty (this part I know first hand).

    The positives are that new PAC money is coming, the fan base is rabid and stadium/athletic upgrades appear to be coming soon. I believe that Bieniemy and Embree are well respected in the PAC but I don't know enough about your other assistants except your O-Line coach and I will reserve judgement on him in this post. That said, is Embree surrounded by the best positional coaches/assistants to make this happen in a shorter time period than the one I proposed? Are they teaching fundamentals? I think schedules are already determined several years in advance so CU is already obligated in that respect but it seems to all hinge on whether or not Embree can succeed with what he has now and in which players the program recruits/develops within the next 2-3 years to make my 5 year projection realistic.

    One can wax poetic on where the program's been and who ****ed it over but are the right pieces in place to make the change happen sooner than five years? Moreover, and like Nik posed, is the patience of the fan base ready to look this in the face and respond accordingly year after year? As a visiting poster, these are the questions I keep wondering. I may be really off but does my 5 year projection for your return to glory ring a bell? Does it seem justified?

    It would appear that all hinges on the player development now, recruits brought in and development/retention of said recruits. I'm saying you can't change the advanced football schedule or existing hostility of the academia at your university over night but you can recruit and develop players to make this happen sooner than my 5 year "guess" projection. It's the only way that I see this happening earlier. The rest of the PAC has speed, history, location and several years of seeding in Cali, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Arizona and Texas High schools for recruiting on their side too. That said, are CU fans and the University willing to see the Embree project through or will you clamor for a coaching change year after year if your expectations of where the program should be are not met?
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2012
  16. Quattro

    Quattro Banned BANNED Club Member

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    Because I'm on my phone and don't feel like typing much out, I'll only address the part where you talked about recruiting. CU has recruited California forever, and Texas to a lesser extent. We have a disadvantage to the California schools, but I'd say that's it.
     
  17. Buffalo Brad

    Buffalo Brad Club Member Club Member

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    Nik! Out of gleeb or you would have been hit. Freakin fine write up
     
  18. buffaholic

    buffaholic Club Member Club Member

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    The half-empty look at it is we really don't know if we have a QB on the roster at all. We don't know if we have a DL turned TE who will play like an NFL prospect or play like a DL who was moved to TE in total desperation (that depth chart suggests desperation a bit). We have a RB who nobody else offered, backed up by a walkon, who is backed up right now by a 5'6" 165 pounder, who would have redshirted last year except we needed all RB's at CB. Our DT's consist of 1 seasoned veteran, 2 guys who can't play at this level and one guy who showed promise two years ago and hasn't been healthy since (with more than a few questions regarding his desire to return). We played RB's at CB last year, and hope that an ACL torn Bell will be as good as knew, but even then, he's largely unproven and still young (Soph). We will start a FB who's never started and wasn't on scholarship as of December. We hope that Orms will somehow stay healthy, although he lost most of 2 seasons to injury, and fill our need at safety. We lost our only playmaker WR to injury.

    The half full glass states we have wonderfully talented true freshmen coming in to patch these holes. We have a weak schedule because we should easily beat Fresno State on the road (of course) and WSU is not in our class. And look at all those new staffs in the Pac12!

    We will see..... In the meantime, I HOPE we are picked to finish 12th and to win only 2 games. When we do better, that will boost perception and help recruiting.
     
  19. 77buff

    77buff Well-Known Member

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    Recruiting rankings really do matter, the top 5 programs with the highest recruiting rankings by Rivals.com, 2007-2011 are #1 Alabama, #2 USC, #3 LSU, #4 Florida, #5 Texas. This shows how $#!TTY Mack Brown is - Texas won 8 games last year, and also has the most current active NFL players.
     
  20. 77buff

    77buff Well-Known Member

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    Mack Brown has always controlled Texas. His problem is once he gets all that talent, he doesn't know how to use it to the max.
     
  21. BlackNGold

    BlackNGold Club Member Club Member

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    Nik! I like your write up. As you point out you really cannot compare BB with Football. A BB program can be turned around with one class, football cannot. I also believe that keeping Hawkins an extra year caused impacts that went a lot deeper that just the 2010 recruiting class. Player development was very poor under Hawkins( as everyone knows), the culture and attitude within the program was more like a HS than a BCS college program, I could go on but you get the gist.

    I often said the extra year of DH resulted in a two to three year set back for the program. It resulted in two lame duck recruiting classes plus a continuation of a culture that resulted in losing football.
     
  22. BuffUp

    BuffUp W.T.T.F. Club Member

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    the BUFFS will be fine - everything is on a cycle. Just seems like the BUFFS cycles are further apart and harder to change? I really feel like Embree has a harder hill to climb then coach Mac had. With scholarship #'s, money, self centered kids (want it now attitude kids have these days) one day the stars will align and the formula will get it done?? I just hope it happens while I am able to and still want to enjoy it?
     
  23. BuffClass90

    BuffClass90 Banned BANNED

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    I'm still surprised at the severity of the problems with the Buffs. Lack of talent, speed, winning attitude...amazing we were perennial Big XII North champs just a "few" years ago. Dan DII Pigeon was an unmitigated disaster.

    As far as the current team, I think if there is improvement, all will be fine with Embree. Remember it took time for Mac as he got better year over year, particularly after he embraced the wishbone.

    I expect 4-7 wins this year, which would be an improvement. The following year he should have 1-2 more wins than this year. If we aren't in a decent bowl by 2014, I think I'll begin to wonder if JE was the right choice. So far he's done everything right (IMO) except win...those will come! I'd like to think we could compete for the South in 2015-16, but who knows...
     
  24. BehindEnemyLines

    BehindEnemyLines beware the habu Club Member

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    6 wins is doable this year. It won't be easy, but it's doable.
     
  25. BuffClass90

    BuffClass90 Banned BANNED

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    I think Brown is overrated.
     
  26. Quattro

    Quattro Banned BANNED Club Member

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    I'd take his record at Texass any day
     
  27. pleh

    pleh New Member

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    Hawkins was a disaster for CU. I think we need to be patient and watch for steady improvement.
     

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