You'd think our team were all freshmen if all you saw were the news articles. (They're not, by the way...)
Colorado WR Tyler McCulloch CB Greg Henderson OG Paulay Asiata SS Kyle Washington K Will Oliver P Darragh O'Neill Note: McCulloch is listed as a co-starter and has been compared to Ed McCaffrey. Henderson has won a starting job as have Oliver and O'Neill. The Buffs have never had two true freshmen manning both specialists spots.
Senior quarterback Tyler Hansen is trying his best to utilize his arm first, then his feet. Let's back up a bit; he's getting very good at using his head before either his arm or his feet.
"He's gotten out of that to the extreme where Coach (Jon) Embree has asked me on occasion if I've told him not to run," CU QB coach Rip Scherer said. "There's a fine line there. I don't want him to be a 'one-read-and-bail' guy, but I don't want to shackle him and take away his instinctiveness. He has the ability to move, so there's a fine line there.
Being named the starter last spring, said Hansen, "shot my confidence through the roof. You get confidence from your coaches and everyone else around the program, and that's going to make you feel good about the way you're playing. I've got to have good preparation for Hawai'i, but I do have 100 percent confidence."
"There have been some times (in preseason camp) when I should have run and didn't . . . because I'm thinking I want to be a passer. If I want to play at the next level, those guys are passers first. They use their legs, but they use them smart - run when you have to, but get on the ground and don't take hits. I think I'm doing a good job with that so far, but I can't be thinking about it. I have to be natural out there."
[Scherer:] "But Tyler has played enough football and understands the game at a different level, just because he's been exposed to more and understands the expectations. I approach him more like an NFL guy, with subtleties and little things with his eyes and body language, his movement with defenders and different things. The other guys, we'll work on it, but I tell them I don't expect them to do that."
Jon Embree's first recruiting class at Colorado was not highly regarded by the gurus in cyberspace. Rivals.com ranked the Buffs' group 12th among Pac-12 programs. The popular website gave 13 of the true freshmen who signed with CU a three-star rating.
No members of the coveted class garnered a four- or five-star designation. "I wish they'd rate classes when they graduate," Embree said. "Then we'll know who had what kind of class."
Tyler McCulloch is a co-starter at one of the wide receiver spots, along with Toney Clemons. The former is a true freshman from Albuquerque who had a two-star rating and only one scholarship offer; the latter is a senior transfer who was a four-star guy when he originally committed to Michigan.
"It will never be an exact science. The thing about recruiting is, you can make the numbers say whatever you want them to say," said Embree, who was considered to be one of the best recruiters in the country when he was an assistant at CU and UCLA.
"You can say all five-star guys gives you the best chance, or you can find a million sleepers who were first-round (NFL draft picks). "When you recruit you have to find guys that fit your system and guys who have the mentality you want."
Notable: ... Former CU standout and Olympic skier Jeremy Bloom watched part of Tuesday's session. ... A San Francisco 49ers scout was also there.
"When I am comfortable with our depth is when we have great scout teams. When you have guys like Chad Brown on your scout teams, but he’s going to be a great player for you … I remember some of the scout teams that we had (in the early 1990′s), and some of the guys who were on it. When we get to that point, that allows you to have better quality practices. It allows you to do some things, more things from a physical standpoint … I’m not knocking the guys we have now, but I feel like when we get to that point (of having exceptional scout teams), that’s part of the deal about building a program."
On the reason for the elevation of freshman wide receiver Tyler McCulloch to co-starter (along with senior Toney Clemons) – "He gets open and he catches the ball. A simple task, but it’s obviously not something everyone can do. He has a knack for it. He has a knack for finding the seams, makes the tough catches in the middle. He plays physical. That’s what I liked about him on his tape, was how physical he was. When you get those long touchdown runs? That’s because you have wide receivers downfield blocking. That’s the difference between a 12-yard run and a 60-yard run. It’s your wide receivers, and what they are doing in your running game. I think (McCulloch) has got a bright future here."
On recruiting "sleepers" like McCulloch – "You can make recruiting numbers say anything you want them to say. When you recruit, you’ve got to find guys who fit your system; guys that have the mentality that you want. When I look at programs like Iowa – I don’t know what their recruiting classes are every year, but I can guarantee you that they are probably not in the top 30 in recruiting every year, let alone top ten. But they find a way to be in a BCS bowl every four years, because (Iowa head coach) Kirk (Ferentz) does a great job of finding linemen, a great job of finding players for his system.
Video Interview with Jon Embree - CUBuffs.com - Bet don't take their word for it...Listen for yourself
Julie Seabrook played basketball for Team Canada at the 2011 World University Games in Shenzhen, China. Seabrook, posts her final CUBuffs.com update on her travels to China.
Cody Hawkins successor is finally ready to shine in the Pac-12. Tyler Hansen? Sure, the senior quarterback seems poised for a solid 2011 season now that the starting job is unquestionably his. Hawkins' long-time teammate and friend, Kyle Cefalo, is also ready to contribute to the Colorado football program.
Five years ago, Cefalo quarterbacked Bishop Kelly High School to a state championship game in Idaho. Hawkins had been under center for the program's 2004 and 2005 state titles before heading to CU. After graduation, Cefalo headed to Oregon State on a baseball scholarship at a time when the Beavers were coming off back-to-back NCAA championships. Before the left-handed pitcher could strike out his first Pac-10 batter, an upper arm injury forced him to quit the sport.
Since Jon Embree took over the program, Cefalo has played well on the CU practice fields. He caught seven passes for 104 yards in the spring scrimmages and was awarded a scholarship during a productive fall camp.
"I see him playing in certain situations," wide receivers coach Bobby Kennedy said. "He has also been a guy that has been a good leader for the young guys. He has helped them learn the offense. He's been a guy that I'm really pleased with."
A feel-good story and the coaches like the guy? Go Buffs!