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Allbuffs.com Preseason Blogger Interview - The Ralphie Report

Discussion in 'CU Buffs Newsroom' started by allbuffs, Aug 2, 2011.

  1. allbuffs

    allbuffs Administrator

    Nov 12, 2010
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    Following up on last week's interview with CUattheGame this week AllBuffs has spoke with The Ralphie Report and one of their principals Bob Bell. All of you know TRR and the excellent work they do, but to refresh your memories and for the new members on AllBuffs here are their last appearances with us:

    Their Off Season Interview:

    And their participation in our recap of the 2011 recruiting class:

    But but if their excellent blog and occasional appearances here are not enough, TRR can also be followed on Twitter. Anyway thanks to Bob and TRR for taking the time to sit down with us ahead of our inaugural Pac-12 season.


    Full Content of the interview:
  2. allbuffs

    allbuffs Administrator

    Nov 12, 2010
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    The interview:

    1.) Last time we touched base with the RR you was for our recruiting round up, over the past 3 months we've heard a lot from coach Embree and seen more recruits by the start of camp than we've seen in years. What is your take on all the activity coming out of the new staff?
    1a.) How do you like the class so far?

    I think naturally when you bring in a new staff, they are going to be aggressive early to try and send a message to recruits that this is a new regime and a new attitude of football to what you are used to seeing and hearing about. The increase in commits tells me that the new staff’s message is effectively getting to these high school players. You look at what Bobby Kennedy has done in Texas early is impressive, filling a need at wide receiver. We have heard stories about the prior regime telling recruits to take their time and make the right decision, take all your visits. It is apparent that this staff is selling the school and applying some pressure to commit to Colorado which I think most fans would prefer especially when many of Colorado’s recruiting classes have formed over the last few weeks before signing day causing many to assume the Buffs were out of the running for top recruits and were settling on plan B players. Not trying to say that is what we got the past few years but it is nice to be out there and making an impact early.
    I think the class so far is pretty solid. The headliner obviously is QB Shane Dillon who did well in the Elite 11 quarterback camp. He potentially gives CU that blue-chip quarterback that is so important. If he can get into Boulder this January and learn the offense, he could in the running for the starting job next year. You also look at guys like DT Justin Solis and Gerald Thomas and you see players with some legitimate BCS level offers that fill a big need for years to come. Hopefully Jon Embree and company can get some wins this year and keep this players on board. That will be the question if the Buffs struggle this year with the hard schedule.

    2.) We obviously can make it through this interview with out a couple of questions regarding the biggest thing to happen to CU football in 10+ years, the move to the Pac-12. As we've inched past the official inclusion date for the Pac-12. What struck you most over the past 12 months about the new conference?

    Two words: Larry Scott. Talk about a guy who has been impressive from day one with the television deal, the conference alignment and the future vision of the conference. He so far has been better than advertised and a huge upgrade over our last commissioner. Because of Scott, I also see this conference continually getting better, something I don’t believe was happening in the Big 12 especially in the Big 12 North. Hopefully, the University of Colorado will make the right moves with increased financial resources coming through the door.

    3.) New conference, coaches, media deal, basketball facility - That is a lot to come to fruition over the course of just one season, but we as fans are never happy. What big milestones do you expect in the next 12 months?

    The big milestone I hope to see over the next 12 months is from our internal leaders in Mike Bohn, Bruce Benson and Phil DiStefano. The University has been given an opportunity to make improvements in the athletic department whether it be facilities, coach’s contracts, etc. I want to see our leaders proactively announce a plan to raise our commitment to athletics and set a detailed plan for how we are going to do that. I am sure Larry Scott will be following this closely which gives me reason for hope that things will get done effectively.

    4.) In-line with the theme of new we've been tracking down for the previous questions 2011-12 brings a new era to Colorado Football: most fans know a lot about Coaches Jon Embree and Eric Bieniemy, but who else on the staff has caught your eye in the past six months? Why?

    So far all we really have to judge these coaches on is recruiting and the guy who has had the most impact is Bobby Kennedy. He has had more success in Texas being outside the Big 12 than we did have when we were in it. I think we will be able to make better judgment once we get into fall practice and the early season.

    5.) What are the big questions your looking for these coaches to resolve early in the fall camp?
    5a.) Which of questions do you foresee persisting all year?

    With five straight losing seasons, this staff has a lot to address.
    On defense, I think the coaching staff still needs time to evaluate the players. The Buffs had many injuries this spring on that side of the ball especially on the defensive line. I think one of the big tasks for defensive coordinator Greg Brown is to quickly find a first team over the first 10 days and then get that unit used to playing together. The Buffs will have a few new starters at the linebacker spot, cornerback and defensive end so it will be imperative that those players get identified and comfortable with their assignments heading into the season.
    On offense, depth is a big concern at wide receiver and running back. Most will wonder who will back up Rodney Stewart and is that running back serviceable enough to relieve Stewart of some meaningful carries. Wide receivers Toney Clemons and Paul Richardson are clearly the starters this year but behind them it is wide open. The coaching staff will also need to find viable third and fourth receiver options in the current crop of players and incoming freshman. Finally, offensive line coach Steve Marshall will be tasked with making the offensive line reach its potential, something it has failed to do the past few years.
    At quarterback you have senior Tyler Hansen. Safe to say we still aren’t sure what we are going to get from Hansen even in year four of his career. The last three years, he has attempted less passes than Cody Hawkins. For Hansen's career, he has 15 touchdowns to 17 interceptions, a ratio that must improve dramatically for the Buffs to have a chance at a bowl game in 2011. It is important for Embree and Eric Bieniemy to use Hansen’s ability to move outside the pocket and make plays but also create an offensive gameplan for Hansen to be successful by putting him the right positions. It seemed last year that when Hawkins entered the game, the coaching staff had a better handle on what Hawkins could do to be successful. I don’t believe the prior regime knew what to do with Hansen at quarterback.
    One of the biggest question marks going into fall and the season is special teams. The Buffs have been horrific on special teams in recent memory. Jon Embree and staff need to limit the mental mistakes but the major question is are the players they have able to get the job done? That might be a problem that persists throughout the season.

    6.) Other than the coaching what areas do you expect to see a notable improvement in from our team in 2011?

    As I reflected this offseason, every intangible, every player, every position, everything need to be improved. Rodney Stewart is probably the one player where you feel confident in what he gives you but other than that, everyone has a lot to prove. If you had to highlight a few areas that need to be addressed the most in 2011 to be successful it would be special teams play, mental preparation whether it is to alleviate the penalty issues or lack of road game success and maybe most important, establish consistency in the offensive and defensive game plan. Watching Colorado the past few years, you never got the feeling they had the other team lost and under constant pressure, never had the feeling that the Buffs game plan was far superior to its opponents.

    7.) Can you pick a break out player for us? And can you pick a freshman to contribute?

    He broke out at the end of last year but I don’t think he is getting enough credit (left off Phil Steele’s All Pac 12 preseason team, etc.) and that is Paul Richardson. To me, if he follows up his freshman season with an even bigger sophomore season, I think this team has the potential to surprise a few opponents. I also like Ryan Deehan’s prospects this year considering the new emphasis on the tight end. I think a guy like WR Nelson Spruce has an opportunity to contribute due to the depth issues at wide receiver.

    8.) A number of people have asked me if our main coaches (JE & EB) lack of experience calling a game is a concern to me. What is your take on that?

    Sure, I am concerned and everyone has a right to be especially in crunch time when you need 5 yards on third down to extend an important drive. I think having experience calling plays is a big deal as many times it is trial and error, knowing how players respond to what plays, etc. I think Bieniemy and Embree have been around some good play callers in their careers so that should help but until they are the ones under the gun, we won’t know how they will respond. And it isn’t just play calling, it is substitutions of players, getting the right packages on the field, understanding when to take timeouts all of those game management things that are important over a course of a game.

    - One final question - As a CU fan community what can we at AllBuffs do to help out The Ralphie Report?

    I think continuing to do things like this where we interact and stay connected. I think both of our communities have a lot to gain from one another.
  3. Buffnik

    Buffnik Real name isn't Nik Club Member Junta Member

    Mar 20, 2009
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    Good stuff!

    I really enjoy reading these interviews and like how AllBuffs has been leading the way of connecting the online Buff communities.

    Thanks, TRR.

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