Lessons from the Edge By Michael Krumholtz As the tired and failed group trudges on to Fresno, the home front is littered with paranoid distrust and revolted skepticism. Support is fading to a new environment of sand behind the Buffaloes that carry a cargo of mounting pressure. Vultures wearing baseball caps are hovering through the dry valley, scouring for easy pickings. And those pickings are plentiful in Boulder Valley, where the walking carcass Buffalo looks weaker than ever. A crisis of trust is building throughout the tailgates and barbershops, conspiring against the football program – and beyond. People throughout campus have said the team should bench quarterback Jordan Webb. They have clamored from atop the Flatirons that Embree and the rest of his staff should leave town. Some even have enough voice left in them to genuinely call for President Bruce Benson’s resign. And though some is hyperbole, all of it remains comical in the tragic, misshapen way that a circus is comical. These are real characters that play for crowds on Saturday’s grassy stage, while spending the other days disguised without their costume jerseys or headsets. They must wake up everyday to the multitude of criticizing voices that sound so loud in Boulder. Just as at some point, as the rayed tents close in, a catastrophic clown must take off his makeup and oversized shoes and pretend to blend in again among the same people who laugh in his face. “You have an opportunity to find out who your friends really are, and I think that is a good thing,” Embree said to his players. “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.” In an effort to avoid some heat, Embree deleted his Twitter account, citing an influx of “inappropriate stuff” as the reason. There is a crisis of trust building around the figurative water coolers and barbershops (replaced in Boulder by kegs and organic-only grocery stores). Still, according to Embree, these cursing words have yet to spill through the locker room as the players and coaches continue to have enough faith, however blind or unreasonable, to lumber forward. “You only need a handful of people to believe in you if you believe in yourself,” Embree said at his weekly press luncheon. “And trust the process and the direction and how you need to do it to be successful.” This place knows troubled times. Embree played tight end on the 1984 team that went 1-10, and is now at serious risk of going under that record as coach. After his final season in 1986, the Buffs marched ahead with a run of considerable success that included the program’s lone national championship. Embree relayed the history of his team’s springboard struggle to his players. “You guys are going to struggle,” he said. “And some people are going to have successes off of your hard work, off of you breaking your back.” Webb, whose own back has been whipped with a million snake-tongued words, is at risk to see his job go lost in Fresno. Embree said he plans on bringing backup Connor Wood in for either the third or fourth series of the game. If Webb’s floundering trends persist, the reigns could permanently be in Wood’s hands. CU’s opponent this Saturday, the clichéd but not geographically applicable named Bulldogs of Fresno State, is coming off a 42-25 loss to the princes of the Pac-12, Oregon. Heading out west before beginning conference play, that panting Buffalo carries on. That’s all it can do if it doesn’t want its fur hung across a wall.