Embree conducts his weekly media conference on Tuesday, with this week's site the Dal Ward Athletic Center. The Buffaloes, mired in a five-game losing streak, play at Arizona on Saturday (11:30 a.m. MST, FX). CU is 1-8 overall, 1-5 in the Pac-12 Conference. The Wildcats, coming off a 66-10 loss at UCLA, are 5-4, 2-4.
CU's open competition at quarterback last week resulted in junior Jordan Webb retaining his spot for CU's game against No. 15 Stanford. Sophomore Nick Hirschman replaced Webb for one first-quarter series and started the second half. Hirschman, considered to be Webb's top challenger during last week's practices, ultimately was replaced by sophomore Connor Wood in the late stages of the Cardinal's 48-0 rout.
None of CU's QBs was effective in moving the offense, which finished with six first downs, 76 yards in total offense (1.7 yards a play) and minus-21 yards rushing. The trio's combined passing stats: 12-of-23 for 97 yards, with Webb throwing a first-quarter interception that was returned for a touchdown. Their individual stats: Webb - four-of-10, 19 yards; Hirschman - four-of-six, 12 yards; Wood - four-of-seven, 66 yards.
Addressing the QB issue following Monday afternoon's brief practice, Embree said he and his staff will "talk about what it looks like for the next couple of weeks, as far as some guys we want to evaluate and how we'll go about it."
Asked if there has been weekly competition at the position throughout the season, he said, "We have in the past, but we're going to look at something a little bit different . . . just see if we can jump start some things in a different way."
The Buffs' lack of running success last weekend was the result of the Cardinal - ranked second nationally against the run - "doing a lot of run blitzing" and in essence daring CU to pass "until you show them you can make some plays . . . we weren't able to do that. So that's what happens to you in the run game," Embree said.
The Buffs have three other QBs on their current roster who have not played - redshirt freshmen Stevie Joe Dorman and John Schrock and true freshman Shane Dillon. Dorman generally is a scout team QB, Schrock - who was impressive when he walked on two summers ago - is recovering from mononucleosis, and Dillon appears to have recovered from off-season shoulder surgery that led to the staff's decision to redshirt him this season.
Embree said Schrock has been involved in conditioning work "trying to get him built back up . . . he's still getting his strength back." Schrock traveled last season for sideline signaling purposes, but is yet to play.
THE BUCK STOPS THERE: In the Buffs' team meeting Monday before beginning preparation for the Wildcats, Embree told his players, "I take full responsibility for what happened on Saturday, and I'll keep preparing them. But I'm not going to let circumstances dictate how you prepare and how you go about getting ready for the next one. So that's what we'll do. I expect the leadership, I expect our guys to come out with energy and ready to go and prepare that way."
He said he knows his players still "care about it and are playing with maximum effort. I don't want them pointing fingers at each other or any of that stuff. So that's why I expressed (that) to them. They know I believe in them, they know how I feel about them. A few of the older guys came by Sunday to talk to me about some things, and that was encouraging. I want all the pressure on me, not on them."
Asked about an outside perception that some of his players have "cashed it in" in the wake of five consecutive losses by an average of 42 points, Embree said he didn't see that: "No, not one, not a single guy."
In the team meeting, he said he singled out freshmen defensive linemen John Tuso, Tyler Henington, Samson Kafovalu and Justin Solis for their efforts against Stanford. "I thought for some young guys going in a man's game - and that's what that was - they held up exceptionally well," Embree said. "They did a good job. Take out the scrambles and the reverse, and just the runs we were concerned about them running power and those things, I think (Stanford) ran 120 yards in 30-something carries - and that's pretty good. Because if those guys don't hold up, it's really ugly."
Solis left the game on a gurney with a neck injury but an MRI later came back negative. While Embree said Solis is "fine," the player was in a neck brace Monday but is expected to be cleared to practice next week for Washington's visit to Folsom Field (Saturday, Nov. 17).
BUFF BITS: Freshman cornerback Kenneth Crawley practiced Monday, and Embree said afterward that Crawley was "feeling better" and had some academic issues "he wanted to get cleaned up. He's fine." Embree indicated that Crawley was among a number of freshmen who have experienced the effects of their first lengthy college season. "I won't name names, but I'll bet I've had seven different freshmen in there (his office)," he said. "It's a long season for them. A lot of those guys have from eight to ten hours of study table. I know they don't feel like they have time to exhale . . . at different times, they're all like, 'I didn't know college football was like this.'" He said his freshmen are "really playing well; they're going to be some really good players." . . . . Kickoff for the Washington game will be at 11:30 a.m., with the contest televised by FX. The season/home finale against Utah on Friday, Nov. 23 will be televised either by FX or FOX and kickoff at 1 p.m.