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By: CUBuffs.com
Jon Embree Press Conference Quotes
Release: November 22, 2011
By: CUBuffs.com
Untitled Document

On The Utah Running Game
“The back [John White] is a physical back. He runs through tackles well. You can’t arm tackle him and he has enough speed to finish it once he gets through. They do a good job setting it up with their quick passing game. They mix a little bit of the spread stuff. It will be a challenge. Defensively once again, we have to tackle. It is bitter sweet seeing them kind of hitting their stride especially offensively because of [offensive coordinator] Norm [Chow]. Norm is a good friend of mine and I know he has been maligned a little bit, so it is good to see that he can still coach.”

On Playing A Physical Running Team
“We won’t go in pads in order to give us a chance to freshen up. We didn’t do that last week. We have been to the point the last month of making sure that we are able to get guys to the game. When we had those real physical practices, obviously you put your guys at risk a little bit, but we are at the point of our season – the last four or five weeks – we haven’t been able to go pads because we need to give their bodies a break, give their bodies an opportunity to heal up, freshen up so at least they have some kind of juice when they play on Saturday.”

On If He Has Noticed Any Changes With Utah Since Earlier In The Season
“I haven’t watched much of them from that early in the season. I have just watched the last few games so I haven’t really noticed if they have changed a lot. When we were playing others teams that we were watching and evaluating, I didn’t really study them like you do when you play them. I’m not sure if there has been a big difference.”

On Utah QB Jon Hays
“He is a real good player. He throws it, he takes his shots deep. He gives his guys a chance. They have good speed on the edge at wide receiver. Their offensive line is a big, physical line. Obviously that is part of reason for their success in their run game. I think the quarterback does a good job in managing it. You can see that he gets more comfortable the more he has played. When he first got thrust into it, he struggled a bit, but that can be expected, but he has seemed to have settled down and has taken the role very well.”

On If He Feels This Rivalry Is Forced On Both Teams
“A little bit. It’s funny, [Utah head coach] Kyle [Whittingham] and I were talking about that when we were in New York, if it is or if it isn’t. They have BYU that has been their bitter rival and they play them every year. Whether or not they see us as their rival and vice versa, and as I’ve said a few weeks ago, that stuff works itself out. If it is going to be Utah, then it will happen. If it is not Utah and someone else, then it will happen. I think that all remains to be unseen.”

On Not Playing Nebraska The Friday After Thanksgiving
“I like playing the Friday after, I would rather it be home all the time. I think there is something about Thanksgiving. I have been fortunate enough to play in a Thanksgiving game in the NFL, or at least coached in it. There is just something about playing in that time frame, playing on Thanksgiving day or the day after. It makes it special, it gives it a uniqueness and I think it is good for the kids too, we’re out of school right now, it gives them something that makes it a little bit special so it is not a normal routine for them.”

On Seeing A Different Shade Of Red Than Nebraska
“Yeah it will still be red, but it won’t be the Big Red I guess. I’m sure when we get to the stadium we will see a lot of red. On tape, it looks like a lot of their fans wear black. That is a color I guess in their scheme. So there might be more black than red in the stands, maybe that might help us too.”

On If He Is Going To Try Anything Special This Week To Help His Players End The Road Losing Streak
“No, it is an issue that I have talked about since day one. Let the players know, let the seniors know what is at stake for them. We’ve talked about it every week about the opportunity that presents itself. We’ve done special stuff for five or six games. They just have to play. At some point as a player, it is not about what the coaches are doing, you just have to out there and play.”

On Playing Against A Team Celebrating Senior Day Again
“Like we discussed last week, they are going to come out of the gate with a lot of energy and passion and you have to match it. There is no difference when you go into a fight. If you step into the ring and the other guy is trying to knock you out, you better be prepared. Last week they hit us with a bomb quick – second play of the game – then we threw a pick and the next play they run it in. That is getting knocked out. They have to be ready and the thing is that they know what it is like when they were seniors on their senior day so it shouldn’t be a surprise what the reaction to the other team should be like because they have already experienced it on the other side.”

On If Seeing UCLA’s Passion On Senior Day Will Help The Team Prepare For Utah
“I don’t know, I guess that is something that I can probably answer after the game. They should have known that before the UCLA game because they know how hyped up they were for Arizona and how they felt afterwards. I don’t know how much last week helps them with that. It definitely shows them what happens when you are not.”

On If Was Surprised How His Team Came Out Flat Versus UCLA
“I don’t know about the term ‘flat.’ I don’t buy that. Guys can say what they want, but we talked about it being their bowl game so if you come out flat for your bowl game, that says something about you. They got their work-out gear early, simulating like they were getting bowl gifts. We had In-N-Out Burger at the hotel on Friday night so trust me, we did all we could to let them feel special and understand that it is a special game and a great opportunity at the Rose Bowl. So if you say you came out flat, that says something about you, no one else but you. If you can’t be excited to go play in the Rose Bowl, you can’t be excited that you got gear, whether it is sweats, shoes, sweatshirts, you get to do all that stuff and you can’t go play? If you say you are flat, then that says a lot about you because believe me, we talked about that starting on Monday. It was going to be their bowl game. So if you can’t be excited about your bowl game, being in the Rose Bowl, no matter what the circumstances are, then you probably shouldn’t be playing football, plain and simple.

On If There Is A Mental Block With The Team And The Road Losing Streak
“You have to ask the guys that have been a part of all of that. This is just my first time through it, so I can only go through what I have seen and there has definitely been some missed opportunities. Some of it is that we have played some really good teams on the road. It is a combination of that. Whether or not it is a mental road block or not, you would have to ask those guys. I know our numbers are ridiculous, home and away. The numbers are crazy. I don’t try and get too much into it. I’m not a guy that will try and figure out the mental block thing or whatever. To me, I’m excited every time you get to play, every time you get to compete. I would like to think that there are enough guys on this team that it doesn’t matter where you are playing, you get to go play. These guys say that they want to play in the NFL, but guess what, when you go out in that game, they will be evaluated to see if you can go play in the NFL. So if you grew up dreaming and saying that you wanted to play in the League - some guys only get 40 or so chances if they are a four-year player, other guys who are a two-year player are only going to get 24 chances – well, if you only get 20 or so chances to show that you have the ability to do something that you wanted to do since you were 8-9 years old, you can’t get excited? Are you worried where your opportunity is going to come at? Or are you just going to go and compete and try and do so, A) win and B) show that the guys that are playing on Sunday that you belong up there with them. That is the question you have to ask yourself. All that other stuff, I don’t think that way. I’ve tried to approach that and speak that way with the team. We say around here, ‘Put it on tape.’ Don’t come and be saying that you should be playing when you don’t have it on tape, whether it is practice tape or game tape. If you are not performing and the guy behind you is, then you won’t be the starter. Same thing on Sundays. Sometimes kids think you get drafted because you go to a school. The NFL has no allegiances to any schools and don’t care where you played at. It is amazing and you sit there and evaluate kids and you look at tape and some of these colleges you have never heard of, you don’t know where they are even at. All you do is you put on the tape and see what the guy can do, and you say, ‘Okay, this is a guy we need to draft,’ or ‘This is a guy we need to bring into camp as a free agent,’ or ‘This is a guy that can’t play,’ because the tape doesn’t say where you are playing at, the tape doesn’t say anything about weather, all it does is what do you see? What does the guy evaluating you see? Position coach, general manager, head coach, scouts, what do they see when they watch the tape? We have scouts in today, looking at tape and when they look at our guys and evaluate them, they are not going to evaluate them based on home and away games. They are going to put in all that tape and watch it. That has been communicated to the guys. We’ll see in April how it looks for some of these guys.”

On When He Told The Team This
“I’ve told them that since March. I put on tape how you practice. We have gone to the point where back in March, before we did spring ball, I had cut-ups of how you practice in shorts, what it looks like and different drills, how you practice in full pads, how you practice in shells so they saw what it looked like in an NFL practice. They have been in my office, most of the guys, the seniors, and they have seen what it looks like when you go to the combine, ‘Here is what we do at the combine when we evaluate you, here are the questions that you will be asked, here is how it works when you go into the room,’ so they know.”

On If There Was A Lack Of Execution Against UCLA
“Yes, some of it. Some of it was mismatches; it was a combination of that. Worked on different things that we knew that they were going to do and we just didn’t do it at times. We knew that when player X was in a certain position, they were blitzing, and player X got in that spot and we don’t look for them. Things like that. Other times they just beat us. It was a combination.”

On The Team Being Mentally Tired From The Long Season
“No, again, you get to play. Who likes it when the season is over? Mentally tired? Trust me, we don’t do a lot on Friday from a physical stand point and you have most of Saturday. Again, you will have to ask the guys in those situations if they are mentally tired.”

On The Importance Of Winning This Last Game Just To Help For Next Season
“Not so much for next year but you don’t want to lose your last game, period. For some of these guys, it is there last game, your last game. There are 28 guys graduating, maybe 24 or 25 of them that this is there last game; your last chance, your last opportunity.”

On Whether The Last Game Of The Season Will Make CU Play With More Passion
“Possibly, but the really good players, they play every game like it is their last game because you don’t know, you are not guaranteed senior day. We talked about that earlier in the year. (If) this would have been Doug Rippy’s senior year; he didn’t know that his last game would have been at Washington. So we talked about that as a team. [Anthony] Perk[ins] is going to try, but Oregon could be his last game. In this sport, in this game, you have to play and some people think it is a clichι, but some guys when it their last play or last game and they didn’t know it or their last game and they didn’t realize it, reality will slap them in the face. Very few people get to say I’m done saying, at any level. You are either told, ‘You are not good enough,’ or you make too much and they cut you, no matter what it is, generally it is the game telling you that they don’t want you around anymore. As an athlete, you have to understand that every time you go out there and compete and do something, that it could very well be your last chance.”

On How It Ended For Him
“They told me that I wasn’t good enough, beat up, blew up my elbow. They don’t care, come bring your playbook. But I understood that coming in so it wasn’t like the world was coming to an end.”

On When His Last Game Was
“San Francisco 49ers versus Seattle Seahawks, last preseason game in the Kingdome. Preseason game, it is not supposed to end there, but that is where it happened. It was the last time that I was really able to play and the thing about it is that 98 percent of people have similar stories to what I have. How many guys get to go out like John Elway? Brett Favre didn’t go out like he wanted to go out. That is the nature of this game and if you get to that level great, if you don’t, it could be your third day here on campus and that is what you have to understand. That is why I don’t buy the, ‘I’m flat.’ It doesn’t register with me. I’m not saying I’m right, I’m just telling you that it doesn’t make sense to me.”

On If There Is Anything He Could Tell The Team To Spark Something For The Final Game
“I don’t know. I don’t think there really is. Every week we have done something unique. Again, Mac didn’t do stuff every week, at some point you have to go play. When you were 10 years old and had your little league game, that was the only day of the week that I could get up. You are watching cartoons, eating your cereal, putting your pads in your pants, you are not playing until noon and it is seven in the morning, sitting around in your pants waiting to play the game. Why does it change? Because there are 50,000 people in the stands? To not have that excitement and the butterflies in your stomach every time, that is what you need. That is how you need to feel about the game and the opportunities. Sometimes it’s pep talks and all that – I understand that – but if you need one every week, you probably shouldn’t be out there.”

On DB Anthony Perkins’ Injury Status
“He’s trying. He is working his tail off. He is doing all he can to be out there. I hope he can. I’m sure he would like to be out there and at least come off the field and not have to be carried off or helped off. Be out there and at least play your last play. Hopefully it will happen for him because he is a great kid.”

On Other Injuries
“Parker [Orms], we’ll see, and then I think we have the normal bumps and bruises.”

On Building A Foundation For Spring Ball
“We understand how to practice and what we want. Again, I have been meeting with the freshmen every two weeks; I’ll be doing something with them next week. They have a good understanding of what is expected and what we want. They are excited about their opportunity to help. And I’m going to start next week, there are probably eight guys I’m going to start doing some stuff with who are upperclassmen to help continue bridging the gap between the younger guys and them. I feel good about that stuff. I know they understand it because of how some things have gone recruiting. We got some good news last night on a guy and possibly another guy and their comment was being around our younger players. There is an excitement and enthusiasm with the younger guys and those are the younger guys that help in the recruiting process. I’m excited for the second season that starts on Sunday, going out and getting to see kids.”

On The Season Ending Early Allowing The Recruiting Season To Start Earlier
“I don’t know if it is a silver lining, but to me it is a fun time, the recruiting because as you build this, you are obviously going to be recruiting against some other programs that have better records. Maybe in some cases, better traditions or better situations in being able to convince kids and being able to get kids to see what you are trying to do and get them from those programs. Always during this time of the year, I always think back to Maurice Jones-Drew. I offered him as a sophomore and nobody offered this kid. It was like Washington State was the only other school that offered him. Your gut tells you that this guy is special, why isn’t anyone else (offering)? And then probably mid-December, S.C., Oregon, the whole world was trying to get the kid and it was too late. It is kind of neat when you see kids and you see that talent and you see something what no one else maybe sees, and you get that talent and then everybody else sees what you saw. When you are the first to find something kind of feeling, we are always digging and looking for some guys who might be like that. No matter where we get with this program, I think you always have to because those guys – you talk about Maurice, he plays with a chip every time he goes out there because he wants to prove that he belongs. He wants to prove every one wrong who thought he couldn’t do it. That kind of attitude infects the rest of the team. When a guy like that gets on someone, a guy that could have gone anywhere and he kind of gets complacent and gets satisfied – that is the worst thing you could have as an athlete, complacency. When you have a guy like that (like Jones-Drew), that is in your grill about you being complacent, it helps you. Obviously you don’t win them all, but it is just fun to go in these houses and being around these kids and these parents and building something. At the end, that is what we are doing. We got to bring in guys that makes us better and guys that can helps us do what we got to do to win, to move up in the Pac-12 South, then to win the South, then to win the Conference. As you go through it, that is the kind of guys you are looking for. It has been exciting to hear the feedback that the recruits are giving us about the current players on the team and look forward to a different kind of grind. It is seven days a week, it is waiting for guys like Stephane Nembot to call you at one in the morning, the night before signing day to tell you that they are coming. Get your sleep Buffalo staff the next two days, Saturday night and Sunday and we are going.”

On How Much Of An Advantage Offering First Is
“I don’t know because there are a number of guys that we offered first and they didn’t come here. Sometimes guys, they want that offer and then they want to wait and see. To me, if you don’t want to be here and if you are just coming here because this is all you could do and the best you could do in your mind, then we have to part ways.”

On Why Maurice Jones-Drew Decided To Stay With Him
“We had a great relationship, we still do. He and the kids’ text message each other back and forth. In the recruiting process, being with him, his mother and his grandfather, who was like his father. I promised Gary [Barnett] after I left to go UCLA that I wouldn’t recruit him anymore, and E.B. [offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy] picked it up. It has been an interesting dynamic. I want to say, not quite a father figure to him, but a true big brother to him. His mom trusted me and Eric to do what was best for him, to be hard on him when he needed it and be there for him when he needed someone. You think about when his grandfather died at the Rose Bowl, and going to the hospital to be with him. That was a difficult time. To me, it is about relationships. If we have a good relationship, me and player X, or the position coach with them, that allows me as a coach to do as a coach to get the most out of you because that means you trust me and you understand that I am doing what is best for you, it is not a personal thing. It means that it is okay if I am hard on you. There are guys I have coached that I might have said two cross words to because that is not how they would respond, but because we have a relationship, there is that connection, you know what that kid needs. You know how that kid will respond to certain things. That is the imperative thing with recruiting and how you get those relationships and figure some stuff out.”

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