I attended an Alumni event today in Los Angeles where, among other, Eric Bieniemy spoke. He was great, and I got to speak both with him and Mike Bohn afterwards. I also told them about TRR, so hopefully we'll see them around here. (If you're seeing this, Mike or EB, feel free to comment on what you can!). I also had a really nice conversation with the parents of Ryan Dannewitz, and they confirmed a lot of what we're all hearing about how the players are receiving the new staff.
The event was great, very well run, and made me pretty proud to be a Buff. It also got me REALLY excited for the coming Football season.
EB was greeted to a big round of applause. He had a lot to say. He talked about the staff and gave some of his impressions of them. And I know people here have questioned the hiring of Kanavis McGhee (I think it's a great hire), but EB assured us that McGhee will be one of the coaches that we'll have to fight to keep at CU. He said he's a phenomenal recruiter and a great teacher. I fully expect our pass rush to be greatly improved this season.
He talked about Coach Rip and about what a great teacher he is. He specifically mentioned just how much Tyler Hansen will have improved when it comes to technique and discipline, and how good he is going to be this year. Could this be the early announcement of a starter? I think we all know it will be Tyler, and this only adds to that assumption.
He spoke about Coach Marshall and how much he stresses technique and having that nasty attitude you need along the Offensive Line. And on the topic of the Offensive Line, the Mr. & Mrs. Dannewitz were saying that the guys all seem to like him, and that he's practicing Ryan at four spots (all but Center). I have a feeling he's doing that with a bunch of the guys to find out what each guys position really is along the line.
EB talked about JD Brookart, and he was the only guy who he talked about in relation to Special Teams.
Bobby Kennedy was lauded as an excellent recruiter and a 'Boulder Guy'. When EB talks about you as a great recruiter, I feel like that's a pretty good sign.
On Defense, he talked about how great it was that Greg Brown is back (again), and pointed to the two guys that Brown coached who are about to be drafted.
He got pretty excited when he talked about Tui, saying that he's a gregarious guy who is a competitive recruiter and has a great attitude.
He talked about how great Cabral is as a man and as a coach. Cabral's wife Becky was in attendance and she got a big round of applause.
And of course, he talked about Coach Embree. He talked about his experience (as a positive thing) and that he's not sure he's met anyone more competitive. He said that they were committed to bring Colorado back to what it was known for, being physical.
When he started talking about McGhee, he got really excited. He was saying that having a guy who is as competitive and smart as McGhee on staff is a huge asset, and that he might be their best recruiter. He said that they are going to have a lot of trouble keeping McGhee at CU every year.
Which leads me to something interesting...he kept talking about the staff like it was both Embree's AND his. He talked about it in a way that made me think he wanted to keep coaching with Embree. I know a lot of you are worried that EB will get snatched away if we even sniff a little bit of Offensive Success, but he was talking in a way that made me think he's as committed to being at CU as Embree is. Hmmm, one can only hope!
He also talked about how hard the kids have been working in the offseason. The coaches have put them to the test, and they're answering. They are also being held accountable, which was nice to hear. Mr & Mrs D were saying that Ryan and the other guys like Coach Blacken despite the workouts being as hard as they are. EB talked about how the guys bodies are changing already in just a few months, and that we should see an even bigger improvement by the beginning of the season. It sounds like our guys are going to be very prepared to be physical on the field.
One thing that made me very happy was the talk about how they plan to attack down the field on Offense. He emphasized protecting the QB so that they could make big plays downfield. Of course, he talked about running the ball and the emphasis on being physical. He wanted us to know that we are going to see our team fighting out there for every inch on the field.
Also, VERY IMPORTANT! He asked us to be patient. He said that they are going to be doing things the right way, teaching these kids from the ground up, working on discipline and consistency, but that he needed all of us to be patient. And considering the schedule (which I brought up later and he was excited about), I think patience is an excellent thing to be preaching. We've said it on TRR before, but as long as the team is competing in every game, I'm going to be happy.
After the talk, I was able to get some time with EB, which was great. It was nice to meet him and talk to him in person about things. I told him we were all excited to be hearing the online rumblings about recruiting. He said that they are hitting California hard and that we should see a big increase in the number of players we can land from out here. He talked about how many coaches he knows out here and he talked about how much easier it's going to be now that we're out here at least once a year.
I can't imagine a kid talking to EB and not wanting to come play for CU. And I can't imagine a kids parents not endorsing EB after listening to him. He is dynamic and engaging when he talks, and is a just a nice and exciting guy to be around. I hope y'all don't mind that I told him that we were all very happy to have him back at CU (I should be careful when speaking for the whole blog, shouldn't I...). He said he was happy to be 'home'.
I also got to talk to Mike Bohn for a little bit. We talked about the success of the BBall teams in the NIT tournament, the ski team and the BBall & VBall practice facility, and also about FBall recruiting. He is very excited with what Embree and his staff have been accomplishing on the recruiting trail. That got him excited. He also said he was looking forward to see just how many CU fans we can get out to the Football games in California this year. At Stanford and then at UCLA. They're hoping to double the figures from the Cal game last yea (about 1500 people).
Overall it was a great event, there were some former players there including Rashidi Barnes, and it was a great atmosphere. CU is about to unveil a new fundraising campaign that looks to be very well put together in conjunction with the move to the Pac 12 to target the West Coast Alumni and they talked about it today. Exciting things for the University and the Football team!
Phew! I think that's everything.