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NCAA Cross Country Champions
By: CUBuffs.com
Jon Embree Tuesday Press Conference Quotes
Release: November 01, 2011
By: CUBuffs.com
Untitled Document

On How USC Looks
“A different color uniform than every team we have played the last five games. It has been quite the stretch. They are a very good team. Defensively, they are not the same as they have been in the past. Offensively, (quarterback Matt) Barkley makes them go. Him and Robert Woods. They have great chemistry, great connection with each other. They are the best combination in the conference, those two guys. Their running game, they got that going some last week with (Curtis) McNeal. They are the USC Trojans. They are a good team. I don’t know where they are ranked. I know they can’t be ranked in one of them. (Head coach) Lane (Kiffin) has done a good job as far as minimizing distractions of what has happened in the past and they are playing very well. They are playing physical. I like their D-line, I like their two guys inside – they do a good job of getting push. You come out Friday you’ll see that they are a good team.”

On If USC Is As Talented As They Have Been In The Past
“No, they are not there at that level, but they are still very talented. I was talking with someone today about Matt Barkley and they were asking me what my thoughts on him. He is to me– following the kid a little bit, and I say kid from when he was in high school and being aware of him – he reminds me a lot of Mark Sanchez, just with a bigger arm. I remember watching Mark when he was coming up and he had all of the intangibles. He had the ‘it’ factor from the leadership standpoint, from how he prepared, all of those things, and you can see that this kid has that. His passion for the game and all of the little things that go into being a great quarterback, he has it.”

On How Barkley Compares to Stanford Quarterback Andrew Luck
“Matt is right there behind him. Matt doesn’t run as well as Andrew. It is hard to say how much he would do on his own because he doesn’t get to do it like Andrew does as far as calling his own plays and some of the different things he does. I think both of them would be great system quarterbacks, so from the standpoint of whoever gets those guys, they can come in and learn the system and get a grasp of it and be able to go out there and do it. The thing right now that probably separates them is size and speed by Luck, but 1A and 1B.”

On How Arizona Quarterback Nick Foles Compares To Barkley And Luck
“I haven’t studied him as much. The thing – form my initial impressions – when I watch Nick, he has a great touch with the deep ball. He seems to be very accurate throwing the deep ball. Luck will do it some when he is throwing to his tight ends, but he and Matt are a little more in the West Coast from the standpoint of a quick passing game – five-step, get the ball out on time – and Foles in the system that he is in, he really pushes it down field.”

On The Importance Of Colorado Getting A Premier Quarterback
“Yes, to be in this conference. This is a quarterback driven conference. There is no doubt and you have to have it. We have two guys on campus, Nick Hirschman and Connor Wood, who we are excited about. We have a kid committed who we are excited about. Between those guys, you have to have that. You really have to have more than one as we are finding out. You can’t go the whole year and count on one guy to be healthy. You have to in this conference. This conference is a lot like the (National Football) League. If you don’t have a quarterback or if you don’t have good play at that position, you are fighting uphill from an offensive standpoint.”

On His Defense
“We just have to find ways to create success. I’ve had people say, ‘Why don’t you blitz?’ Well you blitz, that means you are playing man coverage back there and you are not equipped right now to play man so you are trying to mix your blitzes and mixing your zones. I had a conversation with our defensive coaches today, just about our communication back there with everyone and just to get on the same page. Sometimes we are missing assignments because a guy didn’t hear a call and this and that. Really, the only way we can do it is that we have to have some success. We can’t put ourselves in where they score on four or five drives in a row. When we do get a stop, like we did last week, offensively, we have to do something with the ball. We are not playing well as a team, and by that I mean when we do get stops, we don’t do anything offensively. When we are doing well offensively, we can’t get stops. We have to put ourselves in a position where we are all playing well in the same half. Let’s just start with that and build it from there. But that is really what we have to do and you are kind of stuck because of some of the issues that we have. You have these great quarterbacks and if you blitz them, you can’t cover and if don’t blitz them and they have all day, it is kind of the same thing. You just and try and pick your spots and when you pick them, you are right.”

On Having To Slow Down Opposing Offenses As Well
“You are right; you have to slow them down. One of the drives (last week), was just a heck of a pass by (Arizona State quarterback Brock) Osweiler. (Ray) Polk was all over the guy and he fit it in. Sunday-type throw. We were half a step away from sacking him. That is what I mean. When you have that opportunity, you have to do it. You can’t be half a step away on the sack and almost right there in the coverage. That is what is happening to us. Teams right now are having their way with us and that is something that we are trying to address and talk about, but yet at the same time, you are limited with some of the things that you want to do or that you might be able to do to maybe help it.”

On Playing As A Team And Competing
“One of the first things I told them when I got here was that they are the University of Colorado’s players, not Jon Embree’s, not Dan Hawkins’. I told them after the game that there are a couple of players here that are comfortable with what is happening. Comfortable because they accept the facts or they accept the situations or circumstances. I know you guys are only around me a little bit and are starting to get a feel for how I am as a person, and I understand all of things that are going against us. Just being a competitor and being a guy in that locker room, you just have to find a reason why you go out there and compete. Just try and find a way. Don’t get discouraged, you have to keep fighting, you have to keep competing. You have to, if you are a competitor and football is really important to you, then you have to have something in you that you are not looking at the scoreboard, but you are playing in a matter that says, ‘this play counts. This play means something.’ And we don’t always do that. Naturally, some of that is us coaching and trying to get them to understand that and keep harping on that. There is a combination of factors in that. That was my take on it.”

On If It Is Hard To Play When You Are Trailing By A Large Margin
“I think it depends who you are playing against. If all of sudden they are emptying their benches and are just running the ball, then it is easier. When it is 7-7, there is more pressure because every play counts. But when I look out there when they are out there playing when you are down 35-7, are you playing like it is 7-7, or are you playing like ‘what time is the bus leaving?,’ and what time is it ‘wheels up?’ Those are the things that I am looking for. Those are the things that I think it is important that they understand that every time they are out there – as we say, ‘you are putting it on tape’ – what are you putting on tape, what does it say about you? Some of these guys have aspirations of playing on Sunday. Well when you are evaluating someone, you are going to look at what has it been like when you are losing, how hard do they play, how hard do you play when you are winning or in a close game? If there is a big difference, then that is a red flag, because as you know on Sundays, you are not going to have situations where it is not going to go your way. I’m sure when (Denver Broncos head) coach (John) Fox looked at that tape, who is playing hard? Who is still competing? Your name is on the back of the jersey and who you are representing, whether it is your owner, whether it is your school, whoever it is, you are representing them and you have to play and do things in a certain manner with a certain mindset at all times.”

On Not Starting Fast And Being Down Early In The Past Few Games
“You look at Stanford. Get a kick, get the recovery, we are right there, and then blocked field goal for a touchdown. We are still competing and were around it at halftime. You look at Washington, they go down, we go down, then we are doing it and then Rodney (Stewart) gets hurt. Then all of a sudden we stalled out and got going again. I don’t think it is a competitive issue from the beginning, it is just being complete. We had some critical third downs that we didn’t get off the field on defense. Third-and-nines and third-and-10’s against Oregon early, and they converted. There are a lot of things that go into it. I think they are amped up and ready to play and excited to play. We just haven’t been able to do anything to give us success early to keep that momentum going.”

On The Difference Of The Defense Now Compared To Six Weeks Ago
“It is different. Not as much pressure. Not as many looks per se because we are young on the back end and we want to make sure that they are where they need to be. You lose (Doug) Rippy. I don’t know from a percentage standpoint, but it is different.”

On Curtis Cunningham Playing More Than Conrad Obi At Nose Tackle
“Cunningham is playing better than him. That is why he is starting ahead of Conrad. He has been playing well and he has been playing well hurt, too. He had some physical issues but he playing very well, he really is.”

On If LB Josh Hartigan Is Starting At A Different Spot
“No, Hartigan will be at the same spot. Josh has been hurt too, so that is why he probably hasn’t played as much as he had been earlier, because of his injuries. I think he is back to as healthy as he can get. He’ll be back doing what he has been doing.”

On What WR Paul Richardson Can Do To Help The Offense In The Final Few Games
“He can do a lot, so can 5 (Rodney Stewart). Both of those guys are playmakers. Both of those guys force defenses to play us differently. Having both of those guys back close to healthy makes a big difference. He gives us the ability to have some big plays. It gives us the ability to take more shots down the field and have a chance of completing them. Nothing against the guys that were playing when he was out, it is just different. A different speed, a different everything.”

On Which Wide Receivers Have Stepped Up While Richardson Has Been Out
“Toney Clemons stepped up the last game. A couple of games before that, Keenan Canty did some good things. Logan Gray. Those guys have all picked up the slack so to speak. But no one has really replaced them from a big play kind of position. But those guys did make some plays, but not like you saw against Cal, 78 yards and 60-yarder. Not that kind of capability.”

On WR Tyler McCulloch
“Tyler has done well. He probably has hit the wall a little bit as a freshman. There is a lot of football, a lot of practicing, a lot of things going on for him. He has hit the wall a little bit, but he has played well. He has done some stuff for us on (special) teams. He has done some good things for us in the run game and we will continue to work him in and get him going, but I think Tyler is going to be a good player for us, I really do.”

On How Many Recruiting Classes It Will Take To Get ‘Up To Speed’
“I don’t know. I haven’t looked at it from that standpoint. I’ve been really focusing on what we have to do now and the guys that we do have and just are we getting better. I just feel that the guys we have committed now and some of the guys that we are really close on do make us better. As far as up to speed, we’ll have to see as that goes on. The good news is that some of the people we are playing and talking about are seniors. I’ll petition for Robert Woods to leave early if that is what we need to do, too.”

On If It Takes Longer For A Turnaround In Football Via Recruiting Than In Other Sports
“One or two guys is not going to make a huge improvement. It is a process. I think some of the guys that we got last year are doing very well. Paulay Asiata is doing well for us. Stephane Nembot is going to be a real good player. Obviously, Greg Henderson is playing a lot. (Tyler) McCulloch is playing a lot. Kyle Washington and Brady Daigh. Brady Daigh played really good last week. As you kind of go through it, Juda Parker, there are some guys that are playing for us this year that are playing a lot of football and are doing well. So that helps you when you start talking about the future.”

On If He Has A Rose Bowl Timetable
“I don’t have any timetables like that. I am more of a now guy. Where are now, what do we have to do to get better and are we doing that? I’m looking at it from that standpoint. If you look three, four, five years down the road, there might not even be a Rose Bowl, the way this thing is changing. I just focus on where we are right now and are we taking steps forward in everything we do, academically what we are doing, in the weight room, training room, trying to make sure that we are improving and get better.”

On If He Is Seeing The Progress He Wants From His Players
“Yes I am. I’m seeing them improve. There are a lot of different things that I see improvement out of players. Not making some of the same mistakes as they did before. Guys understanding what we want from them in the scheme. I do see improvement from the guys, especially the young guys; I see them improving a lot week-to-week. I see them gaining confidence in their ability to play in this league.”

On Having Nick Hirschman Start At QB And Then Have Tyler Hansen Enter The Game
“Hirschman took all of the reps. Tyler didn’t take a lot of reps. We had wanted to put Nick out there and see what he could do. As I have said in the past, it is always different when you come off of the bench then when you start at that position. When you come in and replace a guy who is injured as opposed as having all week to prepare and get a good feel for the game plan and understand what we want to do and why we want to attack a team a certain way. Nick took all the reps at the ones and did all that and we felt that he was struggling at some and we went to Tyler.”

On Who Will Start At Quarterback On Friday
“It will be Tyler. He is healthy, he is back.”

On What It Will Take To Have Parker Orms Or Paul Vigo Play On Friday
“We will have to have a lot of injuries to put them in. I want them to get back in football shape, get back being around their teammates and do it. That is why I am doing it. We are in spiders tomorrow, shells today so I think we can come out of it where we don’t have to have that scenario.”

On Playing On Friday Night
“I like it. I told (athletic director) Mike (Bohn) as long as it is a home game; I’ll play on any night. I will. It is just when it is traveling that it is hard. This is a lot like playing after a Monday Night Football game from how we prepare as a coaching staff, with a short week and you lose that day. SC really loses two days because of a day of traveling and all that. As long as it is a home game, I am all for it. I think it is great. I think it is great for our fans. Wearing all black; the fans coming out in all black. We are excited for it. I know how this crowd is for a night game. I’m one of the people that like it. I know some people don’t like how they act, but I think it is great how they are in a night game. They are rowdy, into it, helps us with recruiting. Like I said last week, I know people are frustrated, but one of the best ways out of this is recruiting and they help us with recruiting. They help us when they are in the stands because the kids we are recruiting see that and get a sense of it. A lot of kids I have talked to don’t get caught up necessarily in the record, they want opportunity and know that there is support there. That is how the fans help us because of the support like they showed at the Oregon game and how they are around town. That means a lot to those kids, future Buffs. This is another stage where they can show that the Colorado Buffaloes, people support them and they are behind them and that will help us get guys in here and they will just be coming to cheer on the Buffs and one of these days, one of these big games, it will be about us. One of these days, maybe we can get GameDay back out here. Those are kind of the things that you kind of like to do as a program. Those are the kind of things to me that we need to try to do as we build and get back to those situations. The nature of being in this conference and the history that we have had here at Colorado, we get back to being successful, GameDay will want to come here, but we have to do our part. I say we, Jon Embree and the rest of his staff. It is coaching the guys up we have now and getting guys in here in the future that will help us head down that path.”

On How He Is Blending Parker Orms And Travis Sandersfeld With the Younger Players
“They are just practicing right now. A lot of scout team work, a lot of individual work, drill work. That is all they are doing. Having them work against P-Rich and Toney Clemons and those guys.”

On What The Roles Will Be Of Orms And Sandersfeld
“Travis will stay as is at corner and nickel and all that and when Parker is back, he’ll play corner and kind of the same role that he had before we lost him.”

On When Parker Orms And Paul Vigo Might Play
“Parker and Vigo will not play (on Friday). The following week, they have an opportunity to be out there and to play.”

On When TB Malcolm Creer Will Have His Surgery
“He’ll probably have it in about a month. He tore it good. He got the ACL and MCL so we want the MCL to kind of heal up before they do surgery. So with him, probably early December. Probably right after Thanksgiving, would be my guess to do the surgery. Great kid. It is too bad and unfortunate that it happened. He should be back for camp.”

On If He Has Had Any Feedback From His Players Following His Comments After ASU
“The feedback has been fine from the team. There is a core group of guys that we have had conversations about that and how we can help to remedy that and help guys see what it is that I am talking about and understand that we can’t be like that.”

On If He Is Pleased With The Response By His Players
“Yes and I’m pleased with this team overall too, from how they have responded to things. I’m trying to get better about it, but I am not going to take the question any more of ‘What did you say to them in the locker room?’ Because I said it and I was so frustrated and mad and the players understand what I am saying and what I mean and then I say it and it never quite comes out exactly right. I think some of those people think that I am calling out the team or I am offending someone and it is not like that. I feel like that I have a great relationship with the guys on this team, the players. They know that I care for them. They know that I will do anything that I can for them on and off the field. I have since I gotten here and that will continue after they are through playing. It hurts me when kids get hurt like that because I look at these guys like they are my own kids and I treat them like I treat Taylor, Connor and Hannah. As you guys are around me, this is who I am. I’ve told my kids before that I am disappointed in them and they know that it doesn’t mean that I don’t love them anymore, that I don’t want them to be successful any more, and there is times that they are disappointed with me too. I have an open door and the players know that I don’t hold grudges and they can come in and say, ‘Coach, I don’t like this, this and this,’ and we can talk about it and it’s ok. I am not one of these guys where I am the king of the kingdom kind of guy where I am sitting up here. Yes, Jon Embree makes mistakes, I’ve made some and I’ll make some in the future and that is alright. I’m just expressing to these kids because the one thing that I never want a kid to come back and tell me – and I tell this to my children all the time too – I don’t want you to come back and tell me, ‘I wish you would have told me,’ or ‘I wish I would have known,’ because when they do leave this environment and they go into the real world, if you become complacent, whether you are having success or not having success, complacency will get you. If you become complacent and you don’t know how to handle adversity, whether it is a child getting sick or whatever, you are in trouble. I’m just trying to help these kids and I’m sure there are ways that I could probably say things better, but I can only express myself as Jon Embree. That is what I have tried to do with these kids; I’ve tried to be real with them. We do have fun, we do a lot of things, but when it is time to go, when it is time to hear something, they have to hear it, just like when people criticize me, I got to hear it and try and get better if it is warranted and that is all I am trying to do with the guys on this team.”

On If He Is Concerned About Division Within The Team
“No. I don’t worry about it because, 1) I feel like I have told them the truth, and 2) I think they understand where I am coming from and why I say what I say. I think they see it on tape when it is pointed out by the coaches too. Mac used to say, ‘Sometimes you have to tell the truth, they may not like hearing it, but they’ll respect you for telling the truth because eventually they will understand that is what it is.’ I don’t worry about that with division. I’ve been on winning teams that have had divided locker rooms. I don’t think that it is a winning or losing thing. There are a lot of things that can divide a locker room. I feel this team is closer to being a team. Since I’ve got here, we’ve done a lot of stuff to try and ensure that they get to know each other. From how we travel and what we do when we travel, from how we practice on Fridays, from a lot of things that I have done to try and continue to build team morale and them liking each other and then wanting to play for each other. That would be more for them to answer specifically.”

On If The Threat Of Snow And Cold Weather On Friday Gives CU A Mental Edge
“I remember the first time that we went up to Washington State and UCLA. We came out of the locker room like we were going to go snowboarding, and it was 40 degrees. It can help us. I know how the altitude affects you when it is real cold too, it can get your lungs good. We need it all. I hope we get that Denver Broncos-Green Bay Packers Monday Night Football game (on Oct. 15, 1984) kind of snow. We got to paint the lines yellow and keep shoveling it off after every TV timeout. I would love for that.”

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