*Just to make this extra clear, this is a letter from me, NOT from all Colorado fans. And I'm not actually sending it to them (though I could...). What do you want to say to them?
Dear Colorado FB Coaching Staff,
Thank you for coming here to clean up the mess that has been left by your predecessors. Y'all have been here for a year now and there are things I'd like to say. First of all, I understand that last year was difficult. A long and arduous schedule, coupled with depth and talent deficiencies left by the previous coaching staff, meant last year was going to be rough even before it started. But I also expect a lot, as do the rest of Buff Nation. I hope you learned enough on the fly in 2011, because I want to see more in 2012.
Follow the jump to see just how demanding I can be!
My biggest complaint of the last regime was the lack of player development. In my opinion, players didn't get better from their first days on campus to graduation. Now obviously some did, but for the most part, it's difficult to differentiate film from year one to years four or five. Jon Embree, your staff is full of guys that should be great teachers of the game. I want to see big jumps in player performance from season-to-season or within the season. This year, I want to see players come out in the first game looking leagues better than we've seen them. Maybe not everyone, but I want every player on the team to take a step forward this offseason, and some to improve by leaps and bounds. That is my biggest wish going into your second year. And along with that, I want to see guys really challenging the players ahead of them. I don't want anyone to be a starter simply because they have been in the past.
And now it's onto recruiting. I am really looking forward to the day when there isn't a Hawkins player left on the roster, but until then, I'm excited to see who you can bring in that can make an immediate impact. I want to see us competing against and soon, beating out our Pac 12 rivals and other top BCS-level schools for kids. I know it's your goal to hit California and Texas hard (and it looks like you're doing a good job of it), but I really want you to build pipelines into the high schools that consistently produce Division-1 talent. I want kids at those schools and all over Southern California, Houston, Dallas and other places we target to know about Colorado before they even make the Varsity Rosters. I like us having commitments from schools like Southlake Carrol in Dallas, Chandler HS in Arizona, Westlake in Thousand Oaks, Mullen here in Colorado, and others in the upcoming class. And I like that we're still in on some top guys across the country. But this is just the start. You've had a chance to really start getting some visibility in high schools now that you've spent a year doing it, so we want to see even more big time recruits mentioning Colorado early in the process and genuinely considering us throughout.
I know that many of you are Buffaloes, or have been coaches here before, and I understand that your passion for CU may actually put even more pressure on you as a staff. At the spring football game, I thought it was really cool to see you, Coach Embree, get up and address the band in the stands before it started. I want to see you and the other coaches doing even more in the Boulder community. For those of you that are Alumni, you are well positioned to repair the rift that has developed between the college and it's athletics, and between the Boulder community and CU sports. It isn't all on you (I'll address this in my letter to the University), but you have a responsibility to put yourselves out there and bring positive attention back to the program. The process has been started, and seeing Eric Bieniemy speak at an Alumni event early in 2011 here in LA was a sign of that, but y'all have to do more. That's the only way to get the support your team needs to be successful.
One of the decisions that folks are still questioning is to have 3 coaches assigned to the front seven of the defense. I want these guys to answer the call and for our defensive line and linebackers to excel in 2012. Each of these guys is working with a small enough group of players, especially this spring, that we need to see dramatic improvements out of the kids already on campus. And I want to see the coaches that are pulling double duty (Bieniemy as RB coach and OC, Brookhart as TE coach and ST coordinator, Greg Brown as DB coach and DC) take steps in how they balance their responsibilities. We had issues in all three phases of the game, and all three of the units that those coaches oversee will be incorporating new players in 2012. They don't have easy tasks ahead of them, but they need to do an exemplary job in every area.
With fully half of our 2012 opponents trotting out new head coaches, we have a chance to increase our win total. Bowl eligibility isn't out of the question, especially considering the teams we face out of conference. No team in the country needs those extra weeks of practice at the end of the season more than we do with the big incoming freshman class. You showed me in the Utah game that you can put together a game plan and that the kids on our team have some fight in them. It would've been easy for them to just be going through the motions after 10 (mostly blowout) losses and 12 straight games. The coaching staff is tasked with getting the players ready to play, and you've proven that you can do that. Now I need to see our Buffaloes showing up to every game really knowing what to expect and what to do. I'll understand if the talent level still hasn't been raised enough to hang with the top teams in our conference, but I need to see improvements in all of the areas that you have control over for that to be okay. You're no longer a first-time head coach with first-time offensive and defensive coordinators. The three of you have now spent a season handling those duties, and now my patience with mistakes, mis-calls and on-the-job-lesson-learning will be greatly diminished. But at the same time, I have faith in you.
In the end, I know that this coaching staff knows what it means to be Colorado Buffaloes. Whether you've played here (Embree, Bieniemy, McGhee, Cabral, Ch. Brown, Smart), played near here (Kennedy, Brookhart), coached here before (Marshall, G. Brown, Embree, Bieniemy) or not (...Tuiasosopo), you need to have CU's best interest in mind with everything you do. You've got to recruit special kids to come and play here, and you need to mold them into special players. It's been done before, and it can be done again. Colorado is ready to ascend yet again into the ranks of the kings of college football.
And if you could do it before Nebraska gets a shot at a Nat'l Championship, that would be great.