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Resumes for Bieniemy, Embree, and McElwain ...

Discussion in 'Colorado Football Message Board' started by MontanaBuff, Dec 2, 2010.

  1. MontanaBuff

    MontanaBuff Club Member Club Member

    Apr 8, 2008
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    Resumes for the top three candidates ...

    Eric Bieniemy

    Resume: As a Player ... At CU ... Eric Bieniemy's name, 20 years after his last season in Boulder, remains littered throughout the Colorado record book. Bieniemy is Colorado's all-time leading rusher, with 3,940 yards, and all-time leader in all-purpose yards (4,351). Until Mason Crosby came along, "EB" was also the Buffs' all-time leading scorer, with 254 points. Third in the Heisman trophy balloting in 1990, Bieniemy was an All-American, and was a two-time All-Big Eight selection. Even before his senior year, Bieniemy was named to the Colorado All-Century team in 1989 ... In the NFL ... Bieniemy was a second round pick in the 1991 NFL draft, and played 1991 to 1999, suiting up for San Diego, Cincinnati, and Philadelphia. In his nine seasons, Bieniemy accumulated 1,589 yards rushing, 1,223 yards receiving, and 1,897 yards returning kicks.

    As a coach ... Bieniemy's first collegiate job in coaching came at Colorado, where he coached running backs in 2001 and 2002. Bieniemy moved on to a similar position at UCLA from 2003-05. In his last season, Bieniemy took on the additional titles of recruiting coordinator and rushing game coordinator. In 2006, Bieniemy moved on to the NFL and the Minnesota Vikings, where he has been the running backs coach ever since. In 2010, Bieniemy also assumed the role of assistant head coach for the offense. At Colorado, Bieniemy was the running backs coach when Chris Brown scored six touchdowns against Nebraska, and Colorado ranked 8th in the nation in rushing. In 2002, Colorado ranked 9th in the nation, with Chris Brown ranked 3rd in the nation individually. While at UCLA, Bieniemy coached Maurice Jones-Drew for three seasons before Jones-Drew went on to become a 2nd-round NFL pick. In his first four seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, he has coached a 1,000-yard rusher each season. Adrian Peterson has been an All-Pro three straight seasons, and, in 2007, Minnesota led the NFL in rushing.


    - As was the case with Bill McCartney, loyalty to the University of Colorado, and a knowledge of the opportunities and limitations which come with the head job in Boulder, cannot be questioned in Bieniemy. EB still bleeds black-and-gold.
    - Motivational skills. Bieniemy was a leader of the 1990 national championship team, and EB is an "in your face" verbal motivator.
    - Recruiting skills. Bieniemy hails from La Puente, California, and coached at UCLA. While he has been away from the college game for the past five years, the move by Colorado to the Pac-12 would open any number of doors for the Buffs if Bieniemy were to be named head coach.
    - Positive vibe for the school. After a five year drought, the Colorado fan base needs to be restored. Positive energy and positive press would follow Bieniemy back to Boulder.
    - Bieniemy has coached some talented players, and has been successful with the running games he had headed.


    - This summer, Bieniemy was named assistant head coach for offense at Minnesota. While Bieniemy is unquestionably loyal to the University of Colorado, should he be successful in Boulder, would he turn down an opportunity to return to the NFL?
    - Bieniemy has some baggage in returning to Boulder, including his infamous run-ins with Marcus Houston. The top running back recruit in the nation in 2000, Houston had a difficult, controversial, and ultimately short stay at Colorado.
    - Bieniemy has never been a head coach at any level; nor has he been a coordinator. Can Bieniemy assemble a staff and deal with the increased pressures of being a head coach?

    Jon Embree

    Resume: As a Player ... At CU ... Jon Embree was an outstanding player on some poor Colorado teams. Embree was a first-team All-Big Eight tight end in 1984, leading the Buffs in record-setting fashion. Embree caught 51 passes for 680 yards, shattering CU records in both categories. The four-year letterman also led the team in catches in 1985 ... with nine catches. After the Buffs switched to the wishbone, Embree's pass-catching role was reduced considerably, with Embree catching only 17 passes his last two seasons. Still, Embree did enough in his years in Boulder to be drafted in the 6th round by the Los Angeles Rams in 1987 ... In then NFL ... Embree played only two seasons with the Rams before suffering a career-ending elbow injury in 1989.

    As a coach ... Jon Embree spent ten years as an assistant coach at the University of Colorado, coaching under Bill McCartney, Rick Neuheisal, and Gary Barnett. While in Boulder, Embree coached tight ends (1993-94; 1999-2000), defensive ends (1995-98), and wide receivers/kickers (2001-2002). Embree moved on to UCLA in 2003, named as assistant head coach/wide receivers (2003), and assistant head coach/tight ends and passing game coordinator (2004-05). While in college, Embree coached two John Mackey Award winners - Daniel Graham at Colorado and Marcedes Lewis at UCLA ... In 2006, Embree was hired as tight end coach by the Kansas City Chiefs, where he coached All-Pro tight end Tony Gonzalez. Under Embree, Gonzalez led all NFL tight ends with 99 catches for 1,172 yards. After three years with the Chiefs, Embree joined the staff of the Washington Redskins as tight ends coach in January, 2010.


    - Again, like McCartney and Bieniemy, Embree would bring an unquestioned loyalty to the Colorado program, and would understand the opportunities/limitations of the head coaching job in Boulder.
    - Embree is a Colorado native, going to high school in Denver (Cherry Creek), and committed to play for CU and Bill McCartney in one of the darkest periods of Colorado history. He was a team leader for a team which only had one winning season in his years in Boulder, but he was there on the field for the epic 20-10 win over Nebraska in 1986. He understands what it is like to see CU at the bottom, and what it takes to get Colorado back on top.
    - Embree will have a number of recruiting advantages, having ties to both the Denver area, as well as a number of years coaching (and recruiting) for UCLA.
    - While best known as a tight ends coach, Embree has had a number of different positions to coach, including wide receivers, defensive ends and kickers. He has also served in the capacity as an assistant head coach while at UCLA.


    - While a known quantity for many Buff fans, Embree would not likely be seen as a "home run" hire by the national media. Bieniemy was a star on a national championship team, while Embree toiled in anonymity for a poor to fair Colorado program.
    - Without a head coaching background, concerns will be raised about Embree's ability to bring aboard a first-class assistant coaching staff.
    - Embree's son, Tyler, is a junior at UCLA. Would Embree want to coach against his son in 2011?

    Jim McElwain

    Resume ... Jim McElwain is in his third year of a very successful run as the offensive coordinator at Alabama.

    Born in Missoula, Montana, in 1962, McElwain was an all-state quarterback in high school before going on to play football at Eastern Washington. McElwain stayed on as a graduate assistant after graduating in 1983, earning an assistant coach position at Eastern Washington in 1985. In nine seasons in Cheney, McElwain coached quarterbacks and wide receivers, with the Eagles twice earning 1-AA playoff bids. McElwain then moved on to another Big Sky school, Montana State (I knew there was a reason I liked this guy!). The highlight of his four years in Bozeman came in 1998, when the Bobcats led the conference in scoring, with 31.6 points per game.

    McElwain's first 1-A coaching job came in 2000, when he was hired as the receivers and special teams coach by Louisville. In his first season, the Cardinals set a school record with nine blocked kicks. After the 2002 season, McElwain was offered the position of assistant head coach at Michigan State, following Louisville head coach John L. Smith to East Lansing. In his three seasons with Michigan State (2003-05), McElwain coached receivers and special teams.

    The NFL came calling after the 2005 season, but McElwain's experience with the League was brief. McElwain was the quarterbacks coach for the Oakland Raiders in 2006, but, after a 2-14 season, the entire staff of Art Shell, including McElwain, were fired. McElwain then spent one very successful season with Fresno State. There, as offensive coordinator, McElwain helped lead the Bulldogs to a 9-4 record, with Fresno State averaging almost 33 points per game (ranked 32nd in the nation).

    On February 1, 2008, McElwain was hired by Nick Saban to be the offensive coordinator for Alabama. In his first season with the Crimson Tide, Alabama went 12-0 in the regular season, and was ranked No. 1 in the country before season-ending losses to Florida in the SEC title game and to Utah in the Sugar Bowl. In 2009, however, Alabama redeemed itself, going undefeated and winning the national championship. In 2009, Alabama was ranked 12th in rushing offense and 22nd in scoring offense, with Mark Ingram winning the Heisman trophy.

    So far in 2010, Alabama is ranked 30th in rushing offense, 36th in passing offense, 23rd in total offense, and 24th in scoring offense.


    - McElwain is from the west, and has recruited in Pac-10 country during his stints at Eastern Washington, Montana State, and Fresno State. Unlike Malzahn, McElwain does not have roots in the SEC, and would be far less likely to leave Colorado for an SEC head coaching position.
    - McElwain has seen what it is like to compete at different levels. From humble beginnings with Big Sky Conference teams, McElwain has reached one of the pinnacle of the college football world, Alabama, and has won a national championship and coached a Heisman trophy winner.
    - McElwain has coached different positions. He has coached quarterbacks, wide receivers, and special teams on his way to being an offensive coordinator.


    - While Alabama did win the national championship in 2009, and McElwain did coach a Heisman trophy candidate, the Crimson Tide wins most of their games with defense. Alabama in 2009 was ranked 92nd in the nation in passing offense - for a 13-0 team. The Alabama defense, at the same time, was ranked in the top ten in nearly every category, and was ranked second in the nation in rushing defense, total defense, and scoring defense. McElwain won't have the Alabama defense to bail him out in Boulder.
    - McElwain has never been a head coach at any level.
    - While he has coached seven different schools, none of them had any great success until McElwain hit Alabama. It could certainly be argued that McElwain is more of a product of Alabama's success than that Alabama owes its success to McElwain.

    FWIW ...
    Buffalo Brad likes this.
  2. CUFan

    CUFan Welcome back Club Member

    Jun 22, 2010
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    To me, none of their coaching resumes are overwhelming. I guess you have to go by other factors like recruiting, leadership skills, etc.

    Edit: Thank you for this post. Very informative.
  3. NashBuff

    NashBuff CSU Knob-Slobberer

    Jun 30, 2009
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    Good stuff Staurt...that reminds me to visit your website more often. I don't like the idea of McElwain at all because it is obvious he is a byproduct of success at 'Bama and hasn't spent enough time in the SEC to show us what he can really do. I would be very disappointed if McElwain is the new coach.

    This means that it comes down to EB and Embree and after comparing the two, my choice is Embree. Embree has coached for nearly 20 years while EB has coached for 10 years so Embree wins hands down when it comes to exprience. Embree has also coached some offense, defense, and special teams during his career...EB has only coached on offense so far. As a head coach, should you know what all three phases of the game should be doing?

    My choice for the Buffs coach is Embree. It has been reported that Embree would be happy to be the OC for the Buffs if EB is the coach but if Embree is the coach, EB is said to be likely staying in the NFL. What does that say about EB? That should be raising red flags against EB.
  4. The Guest

    The Guest Guest

    While I very impressed with your writeup (as always) Montana, I'm pretty underwhelmed with our options.
  5. El Gringo

    El Gringo Pura Vida Club Member

    Jul 13, 2005
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    I don't understand the reason, when presented with these facts, some are ok with EB as coach, but not Embree. To me they have very similar resumes, very similar strengths, and very similar weaknesses.

    EB is the more fiery of the two and a faster riser; Embree has more experience on the field (including passing game coordinator) and off (founder of Buffs4 Life).

    It seems to me that EB is the fan favorite because: he's the Buffs all-time leading rusher; star RB on the NC team; coaches one of the NFL's best players and biggest stars (Peterson) and a fantasy league gem. On the other hand, Embree was a TE and coaches TE - a rather boring position. Embree is no less accomplished with respect to who he has coached (Mackey award winners, NFL all-pros), but the TE position just isn't as sexy as running back.

    So, aside from the perception that RB is more high profile position, why is EB so much better than Embree?
  6. UrbanaBuff

    UrbanaBuff Member

    Feb 5, 2010
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    To me, it seems like we would be catching EB on the way up. With Embree for some reason, I'm not convinced that his arrow is going to rise much more, if at all. Resumes aside, potential is of utmost importance here.

  7. 66BUFF

    66BUFF FTW Club Member

    Jul 10, 2005
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    agree. also think EB can relate to the players whereas JE seems like the silver spoon type.
  8. Buffalo Brad

    Buffalo Brad Club Member Club Member

    Sep 23, 2005
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    Nice job Stewart. I want McElwain now but know we are not going to get him. All finalists are underwhelming.
  9. ThndringHerd

    ThndringHerd Well-Known Member

    Sep 18, 2009
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    Neither EB nor Embree have genuine HC credentials for this level of football. EB gets a pass on fire & personality.

    Embree has absolutely no name recognition to trade on. He'll pretty much have to win right away to generate any national buzz. Not a particularly fiery guy, and nothing special in the way of Xs and Os experience. Don't see him as someone who can get 110% out of a team that will have to play way over their heads to win 6 games next year. Like Bohn, he's not someone I see as prepared to go to the mat with the admin. There are some battles that are going to have to be fought if CU ever wants to be anything but a laughing stock in the PAC. He does not have the media profile to go over the heads of the admin.

    McElwain is a serviceable OC for a program that relies 75% on D and ST. If we want that kind of team, I'd rather see them bring in someone with DC exp. That said, McElwain's national name recognition is still about 100X our other two candidates combined.

    Edit: Committees suck. FACT!
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2010
  10. Razorbuff

    Razorbuff Member

    Nov 3, 2009
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    Great post Montana. None of the candidates are really a home-run of a hire. RB coaches don't have tons of responsibility. Typically, they teach blocking to a back and how to read blocks, but there isn't alot that they do as far as game-planning and scheming... sure EB might be able to recruit well and he is a fiery guy, but can he handle the HC job and all that goes with it? If he was really such a rising star why wasn't he named HC when the Vikings fired their coach?

    As far as Embree and McElwain, Embree would be a so-so choice as well. He'd be a great hire as a coordinator or perhaps a position coach, but as a head guy it's much like Bienemy for me. McElwain doesn't do alot for me. Sure he has connections out west, but he hasn't had an amazing offense anywhere, and like Montana stated, how much of his success has to do with Bama's D as well as the sheer talent level on the field on offense? There isn't anything particularly impressive about what Bama does on offense. Their schemes are pretty vanilla... they tend to have success based on out-talenting the defenses they face.

    I guess the point is that all of these guys would be a huge risk. People are screaming for EB based almost solely on the fact that he is a popular former Buff and a good recruiter. Major gamble there.

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