The Buzz is coming back, the traditions are coming back, and If we can't find an alternative, Cal will be coming back... to Boulder... on September 10th... I say bring 'em on!
Judging from the turnout Thursday for the annual Colorado recruiting review luncheon, the buzz is back with CU football. An estimated 1,200 boosters and supporters packed a spacious Hyatt Regency ballroom to hear a slew of speakers including first-year coach Jon Embree, new offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, legendary Buffs coach Bill McCartney, 1994 Heisman Trophy winner Rashaan Salaam and Larry Scott, commissioner of CU's future home, the Pac-12 Conference.
Last year, an estimated 475 listened to then CU coach Dan Hawkins talk about what would become his final recruiting class.
"It's hard to contain the joy I felt when I got here today," said McCartney..."There's something in the air. There's energy...That's going to springboard this program."
Head coach Jon Embree, who also has a big reputation in recruiting, and Bieniemy both bolted the UCLA program for the pros five years ago within a few weeks of each other. In the years since, plenty of change has come to the art of recruiting -- and make no mistake, they believe it is an art.
For instance...Head coaches are allowed to visit a prospect off-campus only once. Embree said that takes some getting used to and comes with some pressure to get it right. "The hard thing about it is only getting to see the kid once," Embree said.
"I never realized how hard that would be. Obviously being an assistant, you're used to being able to see a kid five or six times off campus. "That was really hard knowing that when you went in there, you had one shot. So you better make it count."
...The refreshing thing about signing day at CU this year was the honesty.
Jon Embree -- like the fax machines used to complete the official signings -- is old school. He freely admits that the Buffs didn`t land everyplayer on the wish list and some prospects didn`t bite because the new head coach didn`t tell them what they wanted to hear.
One potential "student-athlete" who visited Boulder lost interest in CU when he learned that the new staff would be implementing 6:45 a.m. study hall sessions. Others decided to go to programs where coaches promised them playing time.
Can you imagine an 18-year-old Embree asking Bill McCartney to make such concessions and promises back in the day? Neither can Embree.
"I want kids that want to add to the tradition and who don`t ask what you can do for them," Embree said.
"Kids asking about the depth chart ... that`s a red flag," Embree said.
"I`m bringing in guys next year to beat out everyone in this class."
The Buffs have already been warned: Spring football begins March 11. "Nobody`s job is safe on this team," Embree said. "The players know that."
Here's an early look at the Pac-12 pecking order heading into the off-season. Count on this being fluid, particularly after I get to see teams practice.
11. Colorado: Just like Utah, we don't know the Buffaloes in this environment, plus there's a new coach. And, to be honest, that 52-7 loss at Cal isn't helping their candidacy. Curious how quarterback Tyler Hansen will look this spring after missing much of the year because of injury.
There's a great shortage of fine putdowns in history... Adding new Colorado coach Jon Embree to the list of history's great dissmasters would be premature, but in the most indirect of ways there is nothing meaner to say about your coaching predecessor at a school than this:
"You can't evaluate either one of them and there are some things from how they practiced I think inhibited their ability to show what they could do," Embree said. "Not talking to them but other people around the program, they might have been over-kicked."
Our kickers were over-kicked. God, that's mastery. You could either say "your previous coach had no idea what he was doing," or you could say that and score infinite style points.
The wall of big wins is coming back to Dal Ward, after the jump.
Former Michigan quarterback Tate Forcier narrows transfer options - ESPN - We may have to face Forcier in the forseeable future as he's considering transferring to Washington or Arizona, among others.
Buffs, Pac-12 reach deal - Buffzone - Larry Scott spoke at the CU recruiting luncheon, and one thing he mentioned is that because of the Fox TV deal with the Pac-12, CU will still receive conference disbursements next season. He also spoke about the scheduling snag we have with Cal;
Cal is not interested in canceling the road trip and adding a seventh home game to its schedule because it is renovating Memorial Stadium and will play all of its home games at AT&T Park in San Francisco next fall.
"I would just chalk it up, if it happens, to one of those transition issues that you have to deal with when a conference expands kind of like the reason we had to do a one-year deal for a Pac-12 championship football game," Scott said.
Expect an announcement on whether the schools will play or not in the next week or 10 days.
Buffs, Team USA Wrap Up WUG In Record Fashion - CUBuffs.com - The highly successful team USA was coached by none other than CU Ski Team coach,
Rocky Racoon Richard Rokos. 4 Golds and 1 Silver over 8 total races? Go America, and Go Buffs.
[At the CU Recruiting Luncheon in Denver], Embree informed the crowd of a challenge he issued to his team the first time he met with players back in early December. He asked them to beat Hawaii in the season opener on the road next season and offered a piece of history as a reward if they come through.
On a wall in the hallway just outside the Buffs locker room, there used to be about 40 cinder blocks painted gold with black writing displaying dates and scores of big wins in the program`s history. The tradition of painting those bricks was started by former coach Bill McCartney in the 1980s.
Hawkins painted over those bricks as he did so many other traditions held near and dear to the hearts of former players in an effort to put his stamp on the program. Embree is acutely aware of how annoyed former players were by the move when they visited the Dal Ward Center in recent years and has promised to bring back the wall of big wins.
But he won`t do so until the current Buffs provide a big win to be added to the wallfirst before the other victories are restored to their rightful place. Embree has identified the Hawaii game as the target and he encouraged former players in the audience Thursday to remind current players of the challenge whenever possible in the coming weeks and months leading up to the Sept. 3 game in Honolulu. "There have been a lot of great traditions around here that got swept under the rug and they`re coming back"
We're bringing back the wall, the heart, and the fight. Go Buffs!