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Report Card on Embree's First Year...

Discussion in 'Colorado Football Message Board' started by BlackNGold, Feb 4, 2012.

  1. BlackNGold

    BlackNGold Club Member Club Member

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    I thought now would be a good time to review the first year of the Embree Hire since CU has completed a year on the field and had their first full recruiting cycle. This is still a work in progress but it is fair to give a interim assessment. This is my assessment and yes it is subjective...I am sure that others have different points of view.

    1. Cultural Change

    This is an area that does not get talked about much but to me is where success starts. Having a culture and a climate that demands your best is paramount to reaching your goals. The culture for the CU football program had been pretty much left for dead. Embree as a founder of Buff 4 Life knows there is an intangible in being a Buff and a lot of that had been lost. Connecting with former Buffs was easy for Embree and his staff. Getting that down to the players was a bigger challenge that only started happening at the last part of the season. Playing an entire game with the required effort only started happening at the USC game and was seen against Utah and Arizona with some backsliding at UCLA.

    Embree has laid out the goals and expectations and we are starting to see the result of that but the results are small but appear to be going in the right direction. All 28 seniors are graduating so that is a great indicator of doing things the right way.

    Grade B- Would of been lower without the Utah road win. I expect the Culture will be flipped by the 3rd season. Evidence of improvement is the recruits talking about the family atmosphere.

    2. Coaching Staff - Player Development.

    This one is almost too early to grade after just one year. All the coaches on this staff have coached previously at high levels (Except Kanavis) so they know the fundamentals of football. I expect to see more this season.

    Grade Incomplete Just did not know where to go with this one. Maybe could have given a grade based upon getting players into unfamiliar roles and having them compete.

    3. Coaching Staff - Game Day Coaching

    I thought this staff did an okay job on game day coaching. EB as a first time OC I thought called some very good games on the offensive side of the ball. On defense it is really hard to evaluate. I think very few realize how little talent that CU had on defense. I thought the defensive coaches did okay with what they had to work with but that excuse has to be a one year only, also turnover margin has to improve. Special teams - I hate the rugby punts but net punting was okay the rest of Special teams has to improve markedly.

    Grade D -Lot of reasons for this but special teams drove this down. You cannot be 3-10 and expect a great report card.

    4. Program Recruiting

    To date this has been the highlight of Embree's short tenure. I really like the results of this recruiting cycle. Recruiting is a system and CU's system was broken (topic for a different thread). Embree hired this staff with improved recruiting in mind. This is reminiscent of coach Mac, you could not be on Mac's staff if you could not recruit (remember that Greg Brown was on Mac's Staff) - you had to be a good coach but you have to also be able to recruit. There are also a lot of people behind the coaches that make recruiting work...the people that send out the post cards and letters, track the players, get background information, etc. - this system is clicking again at CU.

    The team is an important cog in recruiting, because when players come to visit they get their best insight into the program from the existing players. This ties back into culture but there must be a lot of enthusiasm within the team because everyone talked about the atmosphere at CU...we were turning players away at the end that wanted to be Buffs - players that in past years we would of been anxious to have on the team.

    Grade B+ - Room for improvement but a solid performance.

    5. Coaching - Addressing Program needs

    Another strong area for Embree. This team was weak all across the defense, QB was a great need (IMO CU has not had the QB play to compete at the BCS level in years), WR depth and speed was lacking (after PRich we will have little speed), RB depth and talent was a hole. This staff identified and addressed these needs. This may seem to be easy but to many coaches recruit players without the discipline to focus on program needs.

    Grade B - Nuff Said.


    6. Overall

    I like this staff and I like the direction things are going. I expect things to be better in 2012 but this is still going to be a team that is trying to catch up on the talent curve. I expect at least 8 true freshmen playing significant roles this year. That is a lot so there will be growing pains.

    Grade B- - I liked the recruiting and cultural improvement. Overall I am happy with the program direction.


    Interested in hearing the perspective of others on this board.
     
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  2. Duff Man

    Duff Man Moderator Club Member Junta Member

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    Cannot really disagree too much. I think overall, my grade would be in the C/C+ range.

    The special teams are an area where I think we should be seeing more improvement on the field, and yet we finished 8th or lower in the conference in most of the major categories for special teams, including dead last in kick returns. That needs to change in 2012, not later.
     
  3. Creebuzz

    Creebuzz Club Member Club Member

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    Special teams improved massively from a zero to a fifty. Unfortunately, both are still Fs.
     
  4. Sexton Hardcastle

    Sexton Hardcastle Club Member Club Member

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    C-. The W in Utah keeps it out of the D range.
     
  5. Clean Undies

    Clean Undies Flagship of the 12-Pac Club Member

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    Embree came in on day one, guns blazing.

    He had a coaching staff named very quickly. This included making salary sacrifices to get the talent he wanted. (compare McEl-ewe at CSU). Getting a mix of old and new coaches with a big dose of NFL and PAC 12 talent was smart. Adding Kennedy and Kanavis to recruit Texas was also smart. We saw the impact on the recruiting. The biggest knock on recruiting is the lack of Colorado standouts who escaped their home. This is more of a PR problem than anything else. The ability to draw a top 35 class made largely up from California and Texas is exactly what Embree said was the plan. He's executing according to plan.

    Embree went all-in on the goal of shaking the losing streak road monkey. He wanted a W in Hawaii in the worst way. Getting the bricks back was the season's theme and a motivational tool that backfired. Coming home from Hawaii with a loss was Embree's biggest failure that didn't right itself until the last game of the season in Salt Lake City. It took a lot of psychology to get those seniors to complete the mission laid out for them in August. After the UCLA blowout, there was a choice; 1) begin the youth movement in prep for 2012, or 2) Stick with the seniors. Embree's gamble on the seniors could not have turned out better on the field, and from within the locker room. The young guys and the fans learned a lot about Embree's character in November, sticking with seniors like that. Snapping the streak on the last game of the season instead of the first game hurt. But, again, he stated his goal and ultimately achieved it as a senior led team.

    My biggest disappointment with 2011 was the stupid early season penalties that cost the Buffs dearly in the Hawaii, Wazzou and Cal games. The offsides and late hits were pervasive, and could not be overcome with talent. We didn't expect undisciplined play coming out of the hard nosed, culture building fall camp. It took until October to iron that out.

    I can't fault Embree for the lack of depth he inherited. But those blowouts to Ohio State, Oregon, Stanford, Arizona State and UCLA were hard to watch. The coaches got the message that the defense needed some major renovations. This 2012 class looks like a positive first step. Maintaining confidence and continuity in the coaching staff is another positive step.

    Embree's honeymoon is over. If his players are more undisciplined than the opposition in 2012, I'll be critical. If these young guys and new players at skilled positions take care of the football and don't draw penalties against the cupcake OOC games, and avoid negative offseason headlines, I'll be bullish on Embree.

    Rebuilding takes patience from the fans. I'm looking forward to second year coach Embree to continue building upon his body of work.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2012
  6. zbuff

    zbuff Club Member Club Member

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    I don't really understand your scoring system. For example, you talk about culture change but then the grade is justified by number of wins. I'm going to disagree with Vamos - I think the overall record earned a D-, and I'm being generous. Some tough teams, but come on, what class did you get 30% and anything but an F, and we lost to WSU at home, one of their 2 conference wins. But with the culture change and recruiting class and because I like him, I'll give him a C-. We have hope again.
     
  7. The Guest

    The Guest Guest

    I hate Greg Brown! Also, Greg Brown is a terrible recruiter and the worst game day coach I have seen in any sport at any level.

    F ****ing minus for Greg Brown. Everybody else gets an A.

    Signed,

    BigBang2
     
  8. Sexton Hardcastle

    Sexton Hardcastle Club Member Club Member

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    IMO, the Utah game was huge. It's not necessarily the turning point for the program like some are saying, but it was a important step forward.


    OTOH, Maybe I'm putting a little bit too much stock into one game.
     
  9. Highlander27

    Highlander27 Well-Known Member

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    Can disagree with the 1st post but would probably errr towards Buffs grade, c+. I think culturally he has battled the losing mentality behind the scenes effectively. I think the fan base buys what he is selling and supports him even with some of the blowouts in year 1. Recruiting wise I think he's been great. B+, a-, for revamping huge need areas like DL, DB, and QB. I also think we've gotten better at HB, TE, WR and K. The QB acquisitions and burrowing back into CA, tx, LA, HI have been good. Still a lot more room for improvement in CO and with big prospects. Will come with wins, bowl games and being ranked. I also think player development has been solid. Hard to say that now but I thought the staff got Hansen to play as well as he could have with his skill set. Lots of young guys so we'll see if we trend up and down with this.

    At the end of the I'd love to rate him higher but could not given our record.
     
  10. SBG

    SBG Formerly known as EFNMB Club Member Junta Member

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    Clemmon's rise throughout the season is something that I don't think would have happened under our last coach. Stewart also improved as they ran more screens and whatnot that let him showcase even more of his ability.

    Hell, even after Espy was moved over to DB it looked like he had improved and that was a better fit for him than WR.

    Field goals and punting were the only thing that seemed to regress. Everything else seemed to be improved, even if only very slightly.

    Edit: Highlander27 nailed it with Hansen. I wish they would have let him scramble more and with more time he would have developed into a better QB, but the QB play this year was bounds better than it was before. Now if they only could have done something about his super low squat snap, haha.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2012
  11. buffs

    buffs Club Member Club Member

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    Nice job and rep given. Your grades average out to a C+. And can't 'nuff said' be treated like curse words or just banished? I ****ing hate it.

    I'd give a C- to Embo but like where we heading.
     
  12. J.R.K.

    J.R.K. Member

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    Recruting class last year: 11th in the Pac-12. I would give Embree a pass on this since it was his first year and he didn't have a ton of time to put together a class but after seeing the way the new Pac-12 coaches recruited this year I don't think this is now a valid excuse. All of them even WSU put together classes that were better then ours last year and UCLA even managed a top-15 class. Looking at performace on the field rather then rankings Henderson was the only player in the class who really distinguished himself.

    Recruitng class this year: Solid, got several nice looking players, but overall not good enough. I realize it's tough to recruit off of a 3 win season but don't forget that it was Embree who had that 3 win season. His own shortcomings shouldn't get him off the hook for future shortcomings. The "top-30" class ranking is somewhat hollow. Look at the classes from other schools up to around the #70, you won't see much difference between theres and ours. The rankings are skewed towards teams that sign more players (like us). 28 teams ranked behind us actually have a higher "average star rating" then we do (scout). And this is the 9th ranked class in the Pac-12 with 5 of the schools ahead of us having significantly better classes then ours. These ratings won't necessarily translate to on field performance (although corelation has been proven) but if we end up 9th in the Pac-12 stadings I don't think most of you will be very happy.

    On the field: We only won 3 games, that's not good. We lost to a Hawaii team that couldn't even make a bowl game playing in the WAC, lost two very winnable games at home to WSU and Cal, and in our other losses we just got destroyed. I wouldn't have expected to win those games but I don't think that being somehwhat competative in them is too much to ask. Washington, Ohio St, and ASU won 7, 6, and 6 games respectivley last year and all three lost their bowl games, good teams but not world beaters. Oregon and USC were great but playing at home we should have been able to do better. Depth was lacking but I think we had enough talent, especially on the offensive side of the ball to have a better season then we did. The scary thing is that at least on paper I don't think we're as good this year as last year. Also didn't like many of the gameplans, when your playing a team that's straight up better then you you have to get "cute" and manufacture points-going for it on 4th down, fake punts, aggressive play calling, onside kicks, trick plays, etc. But there was none of that. Embree was either delusional for thinking that he could go toe to toe against USC for example and win that game or he was just content trying to keep the game close rather then actually trying to win it. Maybe that sounds harsh but when your playing a great offense like Oregon, your already losing, you have a 4th and 5 at the Oregon 40 and you punt the ball that doesn't seem like a coach trying win a game. Embree's decision right before halftime in the OSU game also caused me to lose a lot of faith in him. It didn't end up having an impact on us losing the game but it made so little sense that it made wonder whether this guy has the neccessary wisdom to be a head coach.

    Anyone who thinks i'm just trolling (whatever that means) or being negative i'll refer you too my first thread on this site: http://www.allbuffs.com/showthread....ew-Hamphshire...../page2?highlight=chip+kelly the point of which was to wait and see how Embree did rather then be pissed off because you didn't like the hire. Well I've waited and at least so far i'm not impressed. I'm not saying that he should be fired or that things can't or won't get better but at this point Embree is looking like a poor hire. I'll give him a D. He's not failing but he's not passing the class either. To continue with the analogy, the good news for him is that it's still early in the semester and things appear to be (slowy) heading in the right direction but the honeymoon is over and he has to improve.
     
  13. azbuff

    azbuff Club Member Club Member

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    None, of course. I see what you're saying, but getting seven out of thirteen questions right is still an F (53%) academically speaking. I can't imagine giving Embree anything other than an A if he had pulled 7 wins off with this team last year. That said, he didn't and I agree with the C range, although I want to score him higher.
     
  14. BlackNGold

    BlackNGold Club Member Club Member

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    That is not what I said..never said the grade was based upon the number of wins. The Utah win on the road is one of the only tangible measures that the culture is changing...over the past few years this team was beat on the road when they got off the plane. The Utah win shows (to me at least) that the culture is changing for the positive. My overall grade is based upon the overall program status not the on the field record.
     
  15. rodrigo

    rodrigo Well-Known Member

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    We know. Next time same save yourself all the rationalization and just get to the point.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2012
  16. Duff Man

    Duff Man Moderator Club Member Junta Member

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    JRK has moved on to Mtn style posting. Terrible.
     
  17. buffsyko

    buffsyko Club Member Club Member

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  18. bombay

    bombay Club Member Club Member

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    I think they did a heck of a job. Working with what hawkins left behind and the guys they could scrape together in 3 weeks (excluding dead periods) and implementing an entirely new system and culture, it was quite good. By the end of the year you could see good progress on the field. B+
     
  19. aeroxx

    aeroxx New Member

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    I think three very valid criticisms of the Staff are the following:

    1. Not cognzing the lack of talent and basic skills of players such tackling, blocking, false starts, etc.

    2. Raising expectations instead of focusing on improvement.

    3. Play calling, especially on offense.

    The play calling finally improved in the Utah game; I hope that shows an evolution of their thinking. When everyone in the stadium knows what the play is going to be on 2'nd and 3'rd down, one is taking away the major advantage of the offense.

    The first point is self-explanatory, I think we can all agree.

    Although we want to win and turn the program around and "start thnking like winners" and so forth, the way to do that is not by focusing on results--the focus needs to be on one's responsibilities and executing them perfectly. Michael Jordan (among others) explained this well. I think this was a contributor towards the poor execution we saw on the field, inasmuch as some players were trying to do too much, and others weren't even on the right place on the field. I hope Embree learned this lesson, so we don't have to repeat it.

    I don't think play-calling on Defense can be fairly criticized. Not matter what scheme we used, we had glaring vulnerabilities. I'm going to need to see evidence before I belief this is due to some failing of GB. On the contrary, what he did with Henderson is nothing short of stunning. He got him playng well in two months. Not only was henderson not nightly recruited, I felt he looked really raw in his tape. So I think this is further evidence that GB is a great coach.

    Also recruiting wise, the Staff accomplished their most important goal last year: establish pipelines with HS powerhouses. This sets us apart from most schools in the Pac-12 and is going to be a major competitive advantage. It is too bad that Asiata proved a bust, but at least we got a few players who are going to make major contributions. Not that this should be the standard, but look at what CSU and Kansas are going through with their new staffs.

    I don't feel I have enough information to conclude how good of a coach Embree is. I will be ready to give a report card after 4 or 5 games in the fall.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2012
  20. Sexton Hardcastle

    Sexton Hardcastle Club Member Club Member

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    I'm not an expert like some folks on the site, but I thought Scooter did a good job with playcalling.
     
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  21. SBG

    SBG Formerly known as EFNMB Club Member Junta Member

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    OK, who pissed in JRK's cherrios today?

    I did it a couple of times last week, but FFS man, "even UCLA managed a top 15 class." UCLA will always have the home school, home state feel to them that CO will *NEVER* have because of the talent level and because CO is made up of transplants. UCLA could recruit just in their backyard and they will always get a top 20 class. They did well, but it shouldn't be too hard to recruit.

    EB and Embree know what it's like to recruit there vs CU. I bet they would have similar thoughts.

    That said, we do need to recruit better, but the staff has to show this year that they are improving on/off field.
     
  22. Sexton Hardcastle

    Sexton Hardcastle Club Member Club Member

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    This
     
  23. aeroxx

    aeroxx New Member

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    Did you watch the Ohio st game? It was painfully obvious that the Defense, knew what the play was before we snapped the ball.

    Against USC, we came out with a good game plan and execution. During half-time the D adjusted, and our coaches and players weren't able to make the adjustmenmt. Instead they got trapped into playing on the D's terms, and falling into a very predictable rut.

    I didn't get to see the zona game (would love to if it ever becomes available). Against Utah, we had a balanced and unpredictable offense (in terms of play-calling). That is until the fourth quarter when they thought they could run the clock out with 8 minutes left??? bizarre...almost cost us the game.
     
  24. Quattro

    Quattro Banned BANNED Club Member

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    It's easy to be predictable when your D can't stop the most talented team in the country, or one of and have to pass to even have a prayer to stay in the game.
     
  25. Duff Man

    Duff Man Moderator Club Member Junta Member

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    What I find most interesting about JRK's post is that he talks about the all of the new coaches in the conference outperforming Embree in their first classes. Certainly true with UCLA and Wazzu (although I consider that comparison a wash). But giving Graham and Rich Rod credit for signing classes that were worse than when they took over is quite odd to me.

    Graham signed 9 Juco players out of 23. Would that not have been concerning as a Buffs fan if Embree had done the same thing (if he could, which we know he couldn't)? The best prep players in the class (Long Beach Poly kids, Goodman, and Foster) would have signed with ASU if Erickson had remained head coach.

    Rich Rod managed to hang on to two 4* players who really had no interest going anywhere else.

    The point? If Embree had inherited verbals on the level that Graham/Rich Rod did, he would have produced similar results.
     
  26. aeroxx

    aeroxx New Member

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    I'm not saying we had any chance of beating Ohio St. I'm saying that what we were doing clearly wasn't working. Rather than repeating ad infinitum, the coaches should have tried spreading the field and used more misdirection, counters, bootlegs, play action, etc. Then perhaps we could have come back to the screen game.
     
  27. Unleash Hell

    Unleash Hell Well-Known Member

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    C

    I like the direction the program is headed!!!
     
  28. aeroxx

    aeroxx New Member

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    And to add to that, AzSt and AZ had recent success, whereas CU has tanked for years, so the parallel he is trying to draw is very misleading.
     
  29. GoBuffs08

    GoBuffs08 Well-Known Member

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    How many differet JRK logins are there. Forget the team grades you get an F- as a poster.
     
  30. Mick Ronson

    Mick Ronson Well-Known Member

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    i hoped for better all knowing too well how bad we'd likely be on D and the brutal schedule. Hanson never seemed to get better....kid had a tough go of it with Hawkins etc as we all know....but, was a finite quantity at the end of the day. that we STILL can't run block seems like an eternal refrain.

    i don't about grades but 3 wins isn't acceptable, no matter how much shock treatment it means. didn't love the situational play calling from yet another OC learning on the job. but, EB brings so many other things to the table.

    looking for better next year....and another interminable off-season for gridiron Buffs.
     

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