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By: Associated Press
Jon Embree Tuesday Press Conference Quotes
Release: October 25, 2011
By: CUBuffs.com
Untitled Document

On Arizona State
“No rest for the weary. We get to start with the South and we get to start with the team that is leading the South, the Arizona State Sun Devils. [Head coach] Dennis [Erickson] has done a very good job. When you look at them, you have to start with [QB] Brock Osweiler, he is impressive, especially when you see him and he is all of 6-8. Seeing him and some of the other quarterbacks at Pac-12 Media Day, it was like a basketball team walking around there. He does a good job and [WR Aaron] Pflugrad on the outside and [Jamal] Miles; he has some real good receivers. Defensively, they are very physical up front, real active. I love 43 [Davon Coleman], the defensive end, he is a heck of a player, and then obviously [LB] Vontaze [Burfict] and what he does and the energy he brings. It is another good test for the Colorado Buffaloes.”

On ASU QB Brock Osweiler Being Able To Run With His Size
“That is very unique, as you look back, I think the last guy with similar size to him, was [Dan] McGwire at San Diego State and then played in the [National Football] League and he didn’t run that well. That is a testament to his athleticism, he is a guy that probably should be playing basketball – I wish he was. He does a good job of when he runs; he just doesn’t take off and leave the pocket. He does a good job and obviously he can see over things. He is one of those guys again as you go through this league, this has been a quarterback-driven league.”

On If The Seniors Have Told Him What Their Goals Are For The Rest Of The Season
“Yes they have. They are still in the process of coming in and talking and meeting with me about those things and what they want to achieve and what they hope to do as far as their legacy. I’m pleased with what I have been hearing so far.”

On What He Has Heard From The Seniors
“There are guys that want to leave a legacy and help show these kids how to win, the younger ones. Try and help springboard us into 2012. There are guys, the road issue, that is something that is still important to them. It is still important to them to have the right guys in the locker room. There have been some varying things, but the one common theme is that they still want to win, they still want to prepare, they still want us to coach them hard and prepare them hard and that is what we will continue to do.”

On If It Is Tempting To Play More Younger Guys
“We are about where we are. I am not going to burn any redshirts for one game or a few plays. If any more freshmen play, they have to play and it has to be a situation with an injury or the depth is such that they will get some quality reps. We’ll still play the guys that give us the best chance to win. We are not going to forsake everybody and throw in all of the young guys.”

On Recruiting Junior College Players
“We would like to in some situations, but again they have to be able to do the work academically and what transfers in, because of what we are as an academic institutions, it makes it a little more difficult to get junior college kids in because we don’t accept P.E., we don’t take D’s, and there are other schools out there that do take both of those and that makes it a lot easier. A lot of the good ones want to enroll in a college in January and there is usually a little extra work that you have to do to get into here, so you wouldn’t be able to come in until the fall. A lot of the junior college kids, they need the spring ball to go in and earn their position. It is a little difficult, but the thing is that we had a great recruiting weekend last weekend. Our fans have been tremendous. We had some big time recruits in and the fact that they stayed here when things weren’t going our way, the way they reacted and cheered on and tried to help our team, the way they were down on Pearl Street when our recruits were down there, it helps a lot because those kids are talking about that. Obviously we are not where we want to be in a record standpoint, and one of those ways that we can improve is recruiting, that is the number one way, and our fans have a tremendous impact on that, so the fact that they did what they did for the Oregon game and how they were down at the Stampede and how they were down at Pearl Street after the game goes a long way because the kids do see opportunity here. One of the questions that they have to answer in their mind is that is there support here, do the fans here want to win, are they behind the team, and when they see what they saw here Saturday and they can see that when SC (Southern California) comes in and when Arizona comes in, that is going to help us put together a tremendous recruiting class.”

On How Difficult It Is On His Job To Not Be Able To Grab a Handful of JuCo Players
“It affects you. Obviously you would like to grab some D-Linemen JC guys. Usually that is the commodity that is the position, especially inside guys, that you would like full grown men. Playing young guys, you will get some growing pains there, you would like to be able to do that. When I took the job, I understood what the JC piece was all about. To me, if you always have to chase a kid to go to class and if you are worrying about him being eligible, if the academics are such becomes a distraction to the kid, then he is not going to be productive on the field either. You have to have the kids that can do the work academically so when it is time to focus on football, they are not worried about other things.”

On If It Was Just As Difficult To Recruit Junior College Players When He Was At UCLA
“That was nearly impossible. To get a JC guy there was a rarity. I think we took two while we were there and both were very unique situations. I think they have one committed right now. It is a really unique situation out there and obviously for them being out in California with El Camino and some of the other great junior colleges, Mount Sac and College of the Canyons, there is a lot of good JC football played out there and you really can’t do much with it.”

On QB Nick Hirschman Getting Reps With The First Team This Week
“Nick will continue to get his normal reps and we will have some with the first team while Tyler [Hansen] bounces back from his concussion. He has been improving every day, so that is a positive sign, but Nick will have to continue to prepare as if he is the guy and I think that is important because this will be good for him to learn to prepare like that all of the time as a backup, especially as a backup quarterback. You need to prepare like you are the guy going in there, because obviously you want to play away, especially at that position. This will be good experience for Nick as he continues on throughout the year on how to prepare and what all goes into it.”

On QB John Schrock Also Getting More Reps
“Yes, John Schrock will get some too and he is a very smart kid and he does a good job of learning and picking up things with the offense, whether it is him getting the reps or not. I’m not overly concerned about him. Obviously from a coaching standpoint, we have to do things with the game plan to help these kids so that if Schrock is in there, we have to make sure that whatever part of the game plan he is comfortable with, that those are the plays we need to run.”

On If He Is Encouraged By The Team’s Sacrifice
“I think that says a lot about this team and I think it says a lot about some of these guys because they have burned their redshirt, but at the same time, I think they see it as a way to get ready for the future. They have done a good job, the guys that have gone in there, I thought Kyle Washington did really well last week, Malcolm Creer played real well, Greg Henderson is making improvement so that is another step that he needs to take. When you sit here and look at it, as long as those guys are playing with great effort and are playing assignment conscience for the most part – I know they will make mistakes – if they are doing those things, with the guys that we have, the leadership that we do have, I look at a guy like Will Pericak, the guys will play at his level as far as his effort and all that, then things will be ok. That is what guys like Will and Josh Hartigan, that is all they are asking from the young guys. They understand the situation, they know where we are at and at the same they know that we are going to put the guys in there that will give us the best chance to win and they have done a good job in helping these guys prepare, whether it is Juda Parker or Woodson Greer, they have done a good job talking to those guys when they are not in and explaining things to them. It has been very encouraging.”

On If He Will Move K.T. Tu’umalo Back To Linebacker
“He is still working at safety right now. As he continues to grow and get bigger, I see him as a linebacker.”

On Playing Catch Up Again Against A Team Coming Off Of A Bye
“The real advantage of having a bye is that obviously you get to heal guys and then you get to do a lot of practicing with your younger guys, whether it is scrimmaging your younger guys, it is almost like a miniature spring ball. That is really what it becomes. As far as catching up to them, you are not going to catch up to them because with us, our main issue is health and there is no way that we can do that. This is the last team that we play that has a bye before us. That is what it is and we just have to keep going.”

On If There Is Any Way He Can Make Sure The Team Has A Bye Next Season
“Mike Bohn has been tremendous. We knew coming in what the situation was and why we were going 13 straight. We talked about it with the team, so it was not like something that caught us off guard. We will have byes in the future, including next year. It ended up just being a perfect storm, moving to a new conference and all of that and Hawai’i. In the future, I’m sure the guys will think the season is a lot shorter and a lot easier with byes and not playing as many games.”

On If This Season Is More Of A Rollercoaster Year Than Previous Years As A Coach
“Every season is a rollercoaster season. It is funny, someone was asking me about this year and if I was happy and all of that. One of the most difficult years I have had as a coach, we were 11-1 here. It was the year we won the Heisman and 30 minutes away from playing for a national title. It was not a fun year. Whether it was different factors involved in that, you would think that an 11-1 year would be a great year and how much fun it was and all that. There was a lot of turmoil that year and a lot of things going on and we won in spite of. We won that year because we had tremendous talent. We won that year because Bill McCartney got everybody focused for those three hours we were on the field. From a coaches’ standpoint, that was probably a harder year than this year is. Having said it, every year you go through it as an assistant, but as an assistant coach you are never out in front like that and every one doesn’t see you go through that emotional rollercoaster so to speak. Your family sees it. Your friends see it. From that standpoint, it hasn’t been any more of an up and down year than it has been when you have a year when you struggle.”

On ASU LB Vontaze Burfict
“He is the straw that stirs the drink with them. He brings the emotional energy. If it moves, he is going to hit it. That will be conveyed to our team so don’t be jogging out there and relaxing and thinking the play is over. He plays to the echo of the whistle. I love his passion, I love his intensity level. You can tell that it is important to him and I think he is a heck of a player.”

On Trying To Recruit ‘The Next’ Vontaze Burfict
“I’m trying to recruit a lot of ‘nexts’. We have some guys in here that play with that same kind of passion and emotion. We just have to do it consistently. I think Doug Rippy can be a super star, I really do. I think Jon Major, if he continues to make the strides that he makes and is making, that he can be a player worthy of being part of that linebacker tradition and being on that wall that is downstairs. We have some guys here, we are just not consistent. Part of thing that helps Vontaze is offensively, they keep him in situations where he can play do what he does and we are not like that as a team. We are not doing a good enough job offensively limiting the exposure of our defense. I never realized how hard it is to play defense until I had to coach it for four years and it is amazing how much running and how the intensity level is totally different on that side of the ball, and you can only do it so many times a game effectively. The more you are exposed, the less effective you are on that side. That is where the offense comes in and that is where we have to be better offensively in helping our defense. It is learning to play like a team, it is your special teams making the other team’s offense have a long field, it is your special team’s helping you have a short field. We don’t do that consistently. When you don’t do those things consistently and you are limited by depth and limited by other factors, you get what you are seeing out there from us. We have to continue to learn to play as a team and improve as a team and that is all of us.”

On If Vontaze Burfict The Best Defensive Player In The Pac-12
“I would have to say right now he probably is. Like I said, the guy I really do like on their defense is their defensive end, 43 [Davon Coleman]. I just like how he plays. I love how he uses his hands, he comes off the ball. He is a heck of a player. But if you are going through and talking about the defensive player of the league, I would imagine it would probably be him [Burfict].”

On Who Davon Coleman Will Go Up Against
“He is their left defensive end. He’ll go up against tight ends, tackles, it doesn’t matter. He gets after you.”

On If Vontaze’s Reputation Intimidates Opponents
“I don’t think so. I think your play is what intimidates opponents. You look at a guy that was playing last night, Ray Lewis. Ray Lewis coming onto the field, is that guy. His play is what does it. I don’t think the reputation of some of the things that has happened to Vontaze is why he can intimidate people. When you hit someone hard in the mouth, that will intimidate you, and that is what he does. The other things that have happened with him, there is way more good than that and I don’t see him as a player that is defined by some of the other things. I see him as a player defined as how he gets after you.”

On His Thoughts On The Broncos And Tim Tebow
“I’m just glad that all of that is all going on because that is less questions for me. It is ironic because I saw the first couple of series and then I turn on the game and they are doing the coin toss for overtime. That is all what the announcers were talking about. They were showing highlights and that is what he does. He is one of those guys that it may not happen how you drew it up, but there is something to be said about guys who win and guys who find a way to win. That is what he is, that is what he has done. It is not luck any more. He just finds ways to win and there is something about that and his leadership. Obviously he has the guys believing in him and following him and that is what you need, especially at that position. To have a guy that has those characteristics, that kind of will, you hear me talk about how our offensive line and how we want to implement our will on people, well he is one of the few guys that implements his will on his teammates and he’s a quarterback. That is great for them. I don’t know how the rest of the season will stack up for them, but that is big because it is hard in the League to win and it is very hard to win on the road at that level. The fact that they did that against a team like Miami that had a bunch to play for with the situation that they are in, it is starting to become do or die time if you want to have any kind of a season or salvage it, so you know you are going to get their best shot. If we have any more injuries and if he is free, he can come up.”

On Recruiting A High School Player With An Intensity And Emotion Like Tebow
“To me, part of it is gut instinct and I’m sure he won in high school. The other thing is when you talk to kids and when you spend time with them on their recruiting trips and do some things with them, you can find out how important the game is to them, because that is the first thing. There are some questions you can ask to see how they handled adversity. One of the things I like to find out from kids is their favorite class and the class they like the least, because it says a lot about them. Sometimes with kids the class they like the least is because of the teacher that is the most demanding. That lets you know that maybe he is not right for this program, if he wants someone that will always let him have the easy way out. There are different things, different questions that I ask kid and try and find out. I did it when I was in the League at the combine. Herm [Edwards] used to say, ‘Do you love football or do you love what football gives to you?’ On that level, if you love what football gives to you, you are not going to last. I always thought there were a series of questions that you could ask some guys and get a feel really how important football is to them because – and I said this before – it is a hard game to play when you love it because you get beat up physically. When you are in physical pain, there is a little bit of mental stuff that goes on with it as well. It hurts when you move, it hurts when you breathe, you can’t turn this way. So it is something that is always there, it is a reminder and every time you go out and practice, every time you go out and play, are you willing to put all of that aside to go do your job and do your assignment? If you don’t love your teammates, if it is not about your teammates, if it is not about your love for the game, you are not going to do it. You are not going to be the best you can be. You are going to be someone that succumbs to circumstances and lets other factors dictate how you go about your job. I believe that carries over when football is done. Everyone in this room probably could have different circumstances that would allow them not to be here or do your job in a different manner that is not professional, but there has got to be something inside of you to do your job – and I’m sure it is not fun to cover a team that is 1-7 – but come do your job every day the best that you can do it to the best of your abilities. One of the reasons why is because you have passion. I look at [Associate Athletic Director] Dave Plati. Dave is battling things and he comes every day. He stays late and he is here early and he can’t do that if he is not passionate about what he does and if it is not important to him. It is not about Dave Plait, it is about the Colorado Buffaloes, it is about all of the different sports, it’s about these athletes. If you are never pushed or challenged like that anytime in your life and everything is just given to you and you are one of those people that just wants and takes, you are not going to be successful. You are going to be that hamster just running on that wheel, wondering why everybody else is going by you. It is important that you have passion. It is important that football means more to you than anything else because if it does, then you will do well in school, because if you don’t do well in school, then you don’t play football. You will do things that you may not like to do or you are not good at because it is that important to you. As we go through this recruiting process, those are the kids that we are looking for. That is why stars don’t mean anything. Yeah, the more stars you have, the more likelihood of success that you will have, but there is a reason why people are ‘rated lower,’ but have more success, because at the end of the day, it is all arbitrary. They don’t rate the classes after they have gone through, after they have been here for four years, after they have gone through and are an All-American, like a Drew Brees or something like that. They don’t rank them after, so that is why you have to find kids that fit your system, fit your mentality and are passionate about football. If they have those things, you have a better chance of winning. If you have those things and you have great talent, then you have a better chance at winning championships. That is what it comes down to, but you have to get those players first before you can win and then you sprinkle those players with elite talent, and that is when you start talking about championships.”

On The Significance Of Oct. 25, 1986
“20-10, they took the goal posts down to Pearl Street. That was the day that we beat Nebraska. First time in 18 years that we beat them. They came in, I think they were No. 3. It was a great team effort. The thing that was really great about that was that that was ‘the game.’ You talk about a signature win for your program, that was the one for us because that was Mac’s fifth year and that was my fourth year, my senior year, he had been building and talking about that moment since he recruited me, about beating Nebraska, about the importance of it. For us to go out there to do that in the circumstances that we were in, we were 2-4 at the time, and obviously nobody gave us the chance. To go out there and beat them, not upset them but beat them, was unbelievable, and that is why I mean it was a signature win for the program. You can get upsets here and there, but when you can beat a program like that. I think next year they lost 7-0, but after that it was Colorado beating them, but it was that game that set it in motion. It was that game let the Jeff Campbell’s, the McGhee’s, the Michael Jones’, all of those guys that were freshmen and that next class that you can do it and here is what is expected of you, it validated Mac from the standpoint of how we practiced, how we prepared. It was a great win. It was a long time ago, it is hard to believe that it has been that long.”

On If It Was The Most Significant Win Of His Playing Career
“Without a doubt.”

On The Importance Of Getting a Signature Win With This Program
“Yes at some point, but like I said, a signature win is beating someone and being at a point in your program where they recognize you. Not upsetting someone. Yes, at some point I would love for us to get a signature win. Obviously, us winning this year, everyone is going to consider it an upset, because there is nobody in this room that will think if we beat someone, that it wasn’t an upset. At some point, our program will be at a spot, whether it is Oregon coming in or Stanford or USC coming or us going there, and beating them because that means you have equal talent and you went in and you beat them. It wasn’t them having a bad day, it wasn’t them having eight turnovers, you go out there and beat them.”

On Why People Should Continue To Support The Team
“Because it helps us with recruiting, our players deserve it, they have worked hard. It has been a crazy year. Obviously the frustrating thing about this year is the injuries because you can’t control that. It is completely out of your control, and so I would like... [The fans] to come and support them. It is easy to support someone when they are winning and when things are going great, but to help someone when things are not going great says more about you as a person. Whether it is football or someone in life. Are you going to give up on someone because they are doing something that you don’t want them to do, and if you care about them, you will help them get to where they want to go. And us having people in the stands helps us to where we want to go. They helped us this weekend with a couple of recruits that I feel very good about, but that would not have happened if those people were not in the stands. If they don’t want to come, give them to someone that does want to come because we do need people down there.”

On If He Took The Goal Post Down To Pearl Street After The Win Over Nebraska
“No, I met the goal post down there later that night. I was too tired after that game. I was usually so tired after the games that I would go home and sleep until 9:30 or 10 and then get up. I got to Pearl Street at about 10 o’clock.”

On How He Played In The Game Against Nebraska
“Played a good game. Primarily run blocking, caught a pass. Back then, I had nine passes for the year so that was one of the rare opportunities. Then I got a pass interfered once in the end zone, but it was a good game and I played a good game because we won. That was the kind of game we had, good enough to let the Buffaloes beat Nebraska. Made the Victory Club, which was one of the highest honors that you could get here at Colorado. Coach Mac made the Victory Club that year and that week. I had a very good game and a very good year that year.”

On If He Will Help Bring The Goal Post Down To Pearl Street Once His Team Gets That Signature Win
“As long as they don’t have me carry too much of it. I’ll put my hand on it. I would love to be part of something like that. I don’t know if I can help carry it down there, but I can meet them down there. I’ll never be too old to do that.”

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