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Talent Evaluation in players and Assistant coaches

Discussion in 'Colorado Football Message Board' started by buffaholic, May 12, 2011.

  1. buffaholic

    buffaholic Club Member Club Member

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    Thought I'd keep this out of the recruiting threads.

    This staff really is impressive in their talent evaluation so far. They have been in on numerous recruits early when no other BCS schools were on board. Catalon is the latest example of a guy who we were in on and at first, it looked like we were "going under the radar", and now the kid is blowing up. This is becoming a pattern.

    Every single position coach is a master in his field I believe. Embree put together a very impressive staff

    And that is my biggest criticism of the last regime (besides the DH attitude BS). I know there has been 10 million posts about how bad Hawk was as a head coach. But I want to make a point here where I think he REALLY failed miserably.

    Even after year 2 when we went bowling and we had a lot of recruiting momentum we lacked one key item. It wasn't recruiting or even the ability to judge talent. I actually think Hawk had a good eye for that (Scotty McKnight, Speedy, etc). He couldn't judge assistant coaches worth a darn though!

    The guy obviously had a very strong OC in Boise (Peterson) and he couldn't bring him so he replaced him with Helfrich, who I thought was an absolute disaster. Perhaps we didn't have the "resources" to go after a guy with a big time reputation, but this was a brutal hire.

    Things seemed to be intact though at first until Auburn bought Jeff Grimes, our O-Line coach. I thought then and still think Grimes is first rate. Will be a head coach soon as well btw. That was the beginning of the end.

    His replacement was Denver Johnson, a recent head coach, who hadn't coached the O-Line in many years. Were we this desperate? His first year, the lack of recent experience seemed obvious. Our O-Line was porous. The debacle at Cal this last year was laughable as well. I know first hand that Keenan Stevens did not know he was tipping Cal's D off on the snap until his brother heard about it via email from a friendly AllBuffer. Denver (to put it nicely) took awhile to grow into a BCS O-Line coach here at CU.

    Helfrich bailed out soon thereafter (just about 2 years ago). Hawk promoted Kiesau, who had zero experience as an OC. Unlike EB, who is surrounded by long time offensive guru's in Embree, Rip Van QB-Guru, JD, and Kennedy (several of which have been OC's in D1 and higher), Kiesau had little to no support. Bright guy, but who did he have on staff around him?

    He had Hagan (who I can tell you for a fact was never considered for a coaching position under Embree). He had Riddle (enough said). He had Hawkins as his WR coach? Really? He had Denver trying to remember how to coach O-line. That offensive staff is D2 at best!

    It is unbelievable that Hawkins brought back his buddy out of retirement to coach outside LB's while he decided to coach WR's himself. Kiesau could have used another offensive mind on his side of the ball so badly... I know Helfrich left at an in-opportune time, but Hawkins needed to find a WR coach who not only could coach up the position, but be a major collaborator with Kiesau.

    I for one was very concerned when JE and EB were hired in that they were both in new roles. However, JE seems to have identified his needs very well in putting together the rest of the staff. Specifically, in landing these two guys, he has complemented both he and EB's lack of experience very well.

    Rip Scherer - 37 years of coaching. The last 6 as a QB coach in the NFL. Stints include Head Coaching at the college level and Offensive Coordinator at the college level.

    JD Brookhart - Former Off Coordinator at Pitt and head coach at Akron.

    Embree had a bit more money to work with, and I believe he optimized it. He made EB his OC and then set out to surround EB with experienced staff on that side of the ball. He's trusting Brown and Cabral a lot with the defense, but I think they are up to it.
     
    MontanaBuff likes this.
  2. CUFan

    CUFan Welcome back Club Member

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    Good post. I agree with most everything you posted. In particular the above.
     
  3. MtnBuff

    MtnBuff Not allowed in Barzil 2 Club Member

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    Nothing really new here but very well stated and put together.

    I like that we are going after serious quality talent, not left overs. We are going to lose some recruits we want simply because we are playing with the big boys now. These kids are going to have choices.

    I like that the coaching staff is identifying that talent based on their impressions and work, not just jumping a bandwagon. The fact that we were in early on some of these kids then other schools with a history of recruiting quality talent are coming in later is verification of this.

    I like that we have assistant coaches with a history of success at high levels. Some have primarily college but at high responsibility levels other have pro experience where opponents will expose any weakness.
     
  4. White_Rabbit

    White_Rabbit Club Member Club Member

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    Good point about the experience around EB, I had not thought of that. Hawk could identify some diamonds in the rough, but he definitely seemed to lack the ability to also get the solid 3* types towards the end. The staff also didn't seem to give a **** about recruiting either of their last two years..

    Either way, I'm over Hawk. He can go hang out with Urban Meyer and Craig James at ESPN for all I care. The staff we have now feels light years ahead of any staff Hawk brought to the table, especially the last few.
     
  5. SCB

    SCB Well-Known Member

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    Good post.
     
  6. Duff Man

    Duff Man Moderator Club Member Junta Member

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    Good post Buffaholic. I have mentioned it before, but I think the biggest issue with the last staff when it came to recruiting was identifying the players that were just below elite level. BJ Catalon is a perfect example.

    Offering the 5* players and other players that are consensus top 100 players is easy. Those offers are often the no-brainers. The harder part comes in identifying the mid-high 3* players that are very good players, but not quite elite. I think this was painfully lacking in the last staff, especially in Texas, a state where it is extremely hard to pull the elite guys (top 20) out of state.
     
  7. absinthe

    absinthe Ambitious but rubbish. Club Member Junta Member

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    Nate Solder, Jimmy Smith, And Jalil Brown beg to differ...
     
  8. Darth Snow

    Darth Snow Hawaiian Buffalo Club Member Junta Member

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    you misunderstand him. Those were all low 3* or 2* prospects. He could find diamonds in the rough, but he sucked at going after the 2d tier guys.
     
  9. Duff Man

    Duff Man Moderator Club Member Junta Member

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    I will give the old staff plenty of credit for developing those guys into NFL players and finding them in the first place. But Snow is right, I am getting at players that were known quantities and we either could not close them or we were never on their radar on the first place. Here is a sampling of the players I am talking about:

    Garth Gerhart-He was a longtime commitment to us before switching to ASU on signing day. A true center that was a top 100 player in California. He was an All Pac-10 honorable mention player this past season.

    Cameron Jordan-We got a visit from him while he got looks from most of the Pac-10. He ultimately chose Cal and went on to have a stellar career, capped by All Pac-10 First Team honors his senior season. He was recently drafted in the first round by the Saints.

    Nick Foles-He committed early on to ASU, but ultimately backed off his pledge and signed with Michigan State after signing day. He was a Texas top 100 player, but was not even on our radar. He is now at Arizona and is poised for a big senior season, along with possibly being an early draft pick in next year's draft.

    Ryan Tannehill-Terrific athlete that started out his career at A&M as a WR, but took over at QB last season and led the Aggies to their best season in quite a while. Another Texas top 100 kid who was not even on our radar.

    Kendall Hunter-Talented RB out of a powerhouse program in East Texas who had several Big 12 offers. Was named First Team All-American for sophomore and senior seasons, along with being a Doak Walker Award finalist his senior season. Recently was a fourth round pick to the 49ers in the 2011 NFL draft. Another Texas top 100 player who was not even on our radar.

    Jacquizz Rodgers-Too many awards to list here, but had a sensational career at Oregon State. Was dominant at times in the Pac-10 and was recently drafted in the 5th round by the Falcons in the 2011 draft. It is debatable whether we would have had much of a chance with his older brother already being in Corvallis, but he is another Texas top 100 player who was not even on our radar.

    Damion Square-Talented defensive tackle out of Houston that had several offers from big-time programs and ultimately chose Alabama. He is slated to be a starter as a junior this season for a preseason top 10 team. Another Texas top 100 kid who was not on our radar.

    Ryan Swope-Very early commitment to A&M, but we never really bothered recruiting him or the Austin area in general, outside of a few exceptions. He received Honorable Mention All-Big 12 honors as a sophomore after a season in which he amassed over 800 yards receiving. Another Texas top 100 kid with multiple BCS offers, but no CU.

    Cobi Hamilton-WR that had a good junior season, but blew up on the recruiting trail with a stellar senior season. He decided to attend Arkansas very late in the process and is a part of a deep Razorback receiving corps that has produced big-time offensive numbers in the SEC. He has played from the very beginning as a true freshman and had over 600 yards receiving as a sophomore, including two games over 100 yards receiving in SEC play. Another Texas top 100 with multiple BCS offers, but no CU.

    Nosa Eguae-He committed to us for while before ultimately signing with Auburn. He started 11 games as a redshirt freshman for the national champion Tigers.

    Siosaia Tuipulotu-Played for one of the most respected programs in the state of Texas. Plays at a position of need that was neglected at times under Hawkins. Several BCS offers, but ultimately chose new divisional foe Utah. BTW, CU was not even on his radar.

    Tanner Brock-Playmaking LB out of central Texas who had unbelievable production in high school. Had several offers from around the country, but ultimately chose TCU. Was a stalwart on TCU's stingy 2010 defense and earned First Team All-MWC honors. CU was not on his radar.

    I could go on, but you get the point. For the most part, the above players did not even have CU on their radar because we did not get offers out to them. Notice as well, pretty much every player I listed is from Texas. It is nice to have some sleepers develop into great players every now and then, but most of the above players had several options (i.e, known quantities) and have had at least above average college careers. Many of them have been great college players.
     
  10. Sexton Hardcastle

    Sexton Hardcastle Club Member Club Member

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    It's kind of hard to give credit when none of Embree's recruits have actually played a down of football. I'm all for drinking the koolaid, but let's wait and see before we start patting them on the back. :lol:

    And calling out Hawkins and his assistants is way too easy. I thought he had some good assistant coaches here, he just lacked as a Head Coach. You can have some of the best assistants in the world, but if you can't manage them properly, your probably doomed from the start. It seemed like every year, Hawkins wanted a new offense installed. There was no continuity in the program, and it suffered because of the HC.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2011
  11. Sexton Hardcastle

    Sexton Hardcastle Club Member Club Member

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    Hindsight is a bitch ain't it? :lol:
     
  12. Idot Buff

    Idot Buff Club Member Club Member

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    fify
     
  13. Sexton Hardcastle

    Sexton Hardcastle Club Member Club Member

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    :lol:
     
  14. Buffnik

    Buffnik Real name isn't Nik Club Member Junta Member

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    Some good assistants for sure. Coordinators sucked, though. And some really poor coaches such as Denver Johnson. He also didn't hold any of them to a standard for recruiting.
     
  15. Sexton Hardcastle

    Sexton Hardcastle Club Member Club Member

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    I still don't think Helfrich was that bad. I believe Hawkins changing the offense every year held the program back.
     
  16. Buffnik

    Buffnik Real name isn't Nik Club Member Junta Member

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    Hard to say. It was his first time as a coordinator, so he learned on our dime. Beyond that, he hardly recruited for us. Now, he's under Kelly so I don't know how much credit he deserves. Certainly some, as he showed going back to his ASU time and Cody's freshman year that he can coach up QBs. But I don't know how great of a coordinator he is.

    While I'm on the subject, I may as well bring up Kiesau. I've been pretty vocal about how much I like and respect the guy. He's a good guy, a smart guy, and he works hard. But the results were never there as either a WR or QB coach. His recruiting was also a mixed bag. How much was Hawkins fault due to meddling with the offense, I don't know. But Kiesau never delivered on his promise imo. And I say that as a fan of his who wishes him well in his career (except when competing against the Buffs).
     
  17. Sexton Hardcastle

    Sexton Hardcastle Club Member Club Member

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    Kiesau was a good recruiter. I also believe he wasn't ready for the OC job, and was thrown in the fire. Hawkins should've gone after a seasoned OC.

    Again, it's so easy to critique after everything is said and done.
     
  18. Buffnik

    Buffnik Real name isn't Nik Club Member Junta Member

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    Kiesau was also taken off the recruiting trail once he was promoted (except for QBs), and that really hurt the program. I don't know whether Hawkins genuinely didn't believe in his coordinators devoting much time to the recruiting effort or he just made that a policy to give cover to his buddy Collins' ass.

    And of course it's easier to critique after the fact. Hindsight is usually close to 20/20. Foresight is too clouded by hope and past frustration. Even if someone is able to be completely objective and analytical, there's still a lack of information so it's a best guess.
     
  19. Unleash Hell

    Unleash Hell Well-Known Member

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    I actually disagree on the assistants. I didn't think Hawk brought in very good ones.
     
  20. dyemeduke

    dyemeduke Well-Known Member

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    I think we can all agree it was a mixed bag, with some horrible ones in there. The worst one in my opinion is one of the more underrated positions on any staff - S&T coach. I hate Pitt, not just for how slow we became as a team, but for all of the knee injuries our team seemed to suffer from. I put all of that solely on him, as that weight lifting video was horrendous. Kids' careers and future lives are effected by what he makes the kids do.

    Bandison, Johnson, Riddle, Pittman, and Collins - some of the worst assistants ever. I don't care how intelligent they may have been (which I personally don't think they were) about their respective positions - they couldn't teach their kids how to do it.
     
  21. Duff Man

    Duff Man Moderator Club Member Junta Member

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    That was the biggest issue with Hawkins' assistants-they were either good or horrible, nothing in between. Helfrich and Kiesau may have gotten the OC title a little too soon, but I think they were above average assistants overall. Grimes was probably the best assistant for the time he was here, and he actually had making inroads into Texas. Cabral continues the steady influence on the staff.

    But man, some of the other assistants were just awful. Riddle, Collins, Bandison, and Johnson did not do much of anything. Riddle was solid on the recruiting trail, but that is about it.
     
  22. buffaholic

    buffaholic Club Member Club Member

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    The timing of Helfrich leaving made it tough to find a seasoned coach for OC. Like Kiesau as well but Hawk should have surrounded him with some experience. A WR coach with OC experience would have been way more useful for Kiesau than that 1 yr honorary stint. Epic failure to put EK in a position to succeed. Hawk miscalculated badly there. The offense never got going after yr 2 and that was what really unraveled things. If Hawk would have hired Chip Beck, or Gus Malzahn, or any number of guys his own inabilities may have remained hidden as they did at BSU. Real bad offensive hiring IMO.
     
  23. Mick Ronson

    Mick Ronson Well-Known Member

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    re: Kiesau, i'm still baffled by the great half of play calling we had against UGA and was encouraged by the KSU, ISU games....at the time. the rest was a bit of a head-scratcher. the easy answer is Dan's weird vision of his formula, Cody for all, and mythical Boise Playbook. i don't if that's simple, but it is mysterious to me. the KU game is a joke.

    in my daily commute walk up the creek path and hill past the Dal, i saw Kiesaw interacting with players and seemed like an earnest guy who had genuine enthusiasm for what he was doing. genuine is the key word i want to emphasize here. i, too, wish him well. though, i'm glad he didn't stay...i think we needed as clean a slate as possible. Cabral gets a pass, but i could have lived with Hagan moving on.

    Hawk needed to hire a seasoned, experienced former HC as one of his coordinators (some guy looking for retread hire, with BCS experience, get back in the game)....but his ego was too big for that....and Dan shortarmed himself for any possible success by a underexperienced staff of WAC guys....some of whom may be fine coaches but they were like freshmen taking jr and senior classes at CU. unprepared, lacked the skills that one requires at the time.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2011
  24. BlackNGold

    BlackNGold Club Member Club Member

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    Keisau said that Hawkins was calling a lot of the plays during the season and it made it hard to get into an offensive flow. Hawkins had some good assistants - Helfrich, Brown, Cabral, Grimes, and Keisau were all on the staff at the same time but the team still struggle. The Buffs had bad leadership that permeated through out the program. It is era best forgotten...at least Fairbanks had the good grace to quit.
     
  25. Mick Ronson

    Mick Ronson Well-Known Member

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    that's just insanity to have Hawk calling plays over the top of his OC. you have to commit to one guy (and if the HC has veto power, that's OK....teams do that).

    and Chuck gave us a usefulness out of the powder blues that no one could have anticipated. maybe down the road, if the Buffs are scuffling....there will be legions of AB's hobbling out of old age with their tampon shouldered, Hawk era unis to call for a new coach. and to bring back beer to Folsom stadium. :)
     

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