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By: Associated Press
Embree makes his first appearance at Folsom Field as a head coach on Saturday.
Jon Embree Press Luncheon Transcript
Release: September 06, 2011
By: CUBuffs.com
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Below is the transcript for Jon Embree's weekly press conference from September 6, 2011:

On California

"I watched the Fresno State game. I thought they did a very good job on the defensive side. I think they do a good job in playing to their strengths on the corners and trying to force some one-on-one matchups. They got good pressure on the quarterback. They showed a couple wrinkles from a pressure standpoint that I didn't see from their last year. Offensively, [QB Zach] Maynard did a good job with his legs, and did a good job of giving his receivers an opportunity to catch the football. I thought the kid showed tremendous resiliency, his second pass is basically a pick-six deep in his own territory and he shook it off and bounced back and did a good job in leading that team the rest of the game. They are a very good team. A team a lot like us, they have a lot to prove. I don't think they were thought of very highly before the season started. I know Jeff [Tedford] is a very good coach. I think Jeff does a very good job in tailoring his offense to his quarterbacks or his tailbacks. Factor in what happened last year; we have a tremendous task in front of us."

On what he saw from last year's Cal game

"Lack of effort, that disturbed me the most. I don't feel that we competed very well last year. I felt like we were just hoping for the clock to run out so we could get off the field. That is what it looked like watching it. I think when you talk to the kids, they will say similar things about their effort or lack of effort in that game and they were embarrassed about it."

On Cal QB Zach Maynard and how he compares to Hawai'i QB Bryant Moniz

"Moniz is a stronger runner than Maynard. Maynard, once he gets going is probably faster. The thing with Moniz that gave us issue is that he was stronger and we over-pursued a couple times and he was strong enough to run through arm tackles and obviously make some big plays. Maynard does a good job in getting on to the edge and he is more deceptive because of his long stride and all of that. Once he gets it going, he takes off. He had a run against Fresno, I think it was about a 50-yarder and that was pretty impressive to watch him go."

On what he is emphasizing to fix the running game

"We just have to keep doing what we have been doing. We will be doing 9-on-7 line, we will be doing team run line; we just have to keep banging away at it. It was disappointing, our running production, and you will continue to hear me say it, 'We have to run the football, and we have to be effective at that.' Some of that was on the backs, the first play of the game, we fumbled the snap and that play had a chance to go a long ways. We had a long run or a decent run called back because of a holding call. We slipped down, the running back slipped and that is a 20-plus yard run. You factor that in with a couple of negative runs that were on pitch or a toss that we ran weak, that is where you get the numbers that we had. It is not acceptable and we will just have to keep working at it and keep going. That is something that we will have to be able to do and hang our hat on is our ability to run the football."

On the pass protection in the second half

"Really it was a combination of factors. The quarterback has to get rid of the ball, a couple times we got beat up front, then other times it was our receivers not doing what they were supposed to be doing in protection. It was a combination of things. Unfortunately, the offensive line gets a lot of blame when the quarterback gets sacked, but sometimes it is not their fault and not their issue. We have to be better, and when I say we, I mean the whole offense has to be better with some of the things that we are doing in the passing game."

On the positives he saw in the Hawai'i game

"We didn't win, and that is the only thing that I wanted out of that game. The defense played very well. I felt we had some missed tackles but that is going to happen a little bit in the first game. It is just a disappointing game. Maybe I can answer that question better next week when I'm not still disappointed about this last game. The kickers did well. All the freshmen played well that played in the game. That is positive. I thought once Tyler [Hansen] got it going, I thought him and P-Rich [Paul Richardson] and Tyler [McCulloch] did some good things. There were a lot of positives, but for me, I wanted to win that game."

On shaking off the disappointing loss

"I can shake it. Kids are resilient. I'm over it and I'm excited and ready to get going for Cal. It is hard when you lose to talk about positives, for me. But believe me, I've put it behind me and I'm ready to go for Cal."

On getting the players ready for Cal

"I don't buy into the revenge factor as much because it is a different team, a different staff, they have a different team. It is a big game because it is our home opener. It is a big game because it is the next game. That is what I am talking to this team about. And next week you will hear me say the same thing. We have to learn to focus and play the game at hand and the task at hand. We have to learn to be more about us, than the opponent. That we have to play at a certain level or standard and whatever happens, happens. Part of our issue is we get caught up a bit on who it is, where it is, all that, instead of just playing and playing at a certain level and letting whatever happens, happens. I think that happened a little bit in the Hawai'i game. We were kind of feeling it offensively instead of going after it and just playing. We have to play from the time the coin goes up in the air, to the time the gun goes off. We have to get better at it."

On why offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy chose to coach from the field

"He had been going back and forth with it. I don't know if I scared him, putting him up in that picker and he is afraid of heights. I don't if that did it, or what. He wanted to be down and part of it too is that is where he has always been, a certain comfort for him. I think as a play-caller, probably it is a little better taking some of the emotion out of it and you can see more from up here. It is funny how people want to get down on the sideline for a game, and then they get down, they don't realize how much you can't see when you are down there. We will continue to talk about it and see if it is a better fit to for him upstairs."

On why the 2001 team was special

"The thing that I recall that year is losing to Fresno State actually. First game right here. Ralphie and that corner where we threw the pick, and lost, I think, 24-22. Just the resolve that the team had, realizing that everything that they wanted to obtain and all the goals that they wanted were still out there. We hit that stretch where we play A&M, Texas, K-State and I think Missouri all in a row. And it was at A&M, at Texas, at K-State. They were very difficult and physical games. We lost to Texas, again, the guys didn't blink because they knew that we could still had the chance to do what we wanted to do. Just a lot of great memories, the Oklahoma State game, Dan [Graham] scored a touchdown, spiked the ball, we got a 15-yarder, Victor [Rogers] took his helmet off, another 15 and then a delay of game, then we go for two and we get it with Derek McCoy. It is just a lot of good memories, and of course you can't talk about that team without talking 62-36, Chris Brown doing what he did. It was a great year. It was a group of guys similar to this in that there were a lot of seniors on that team and they decided that they were not going to have their senior year end in any other way but a successful one."

On using the 2001 Fresno State game as motivation for this team

"Other than talking about the bricks, I really haven't talked about the past too much. I want to be careful to compare them with past players, past teams. We need to find our identity. We are at a different stage. We have to get to where we can compete, be consistent and play and practice a certain standard every day. I don't think we are at a place in our program where we can say, 'Let's be like this team or that team from past program.' I have really tried to stay away from doing that to them. Staying away from when I was a player, when Eric [Bieniemy] was a player. I've tried to stay away from that as much as possible because I want them to understand that it is about them and try and get them to understand things that they need to do to be successful."

On if the fans are doing their part

"Obviously we would like it to be a sellout. I don't know if it is us losing or me, I only got one nasty letter, that is good. My address isn't out there yet or they are still supporting us. It would be great for these kids to have a sellout for their home opener. It would be great for the 2001 team to be honored with a full house, but I understand. I don't believe that it is a Colorado thing, it is just kind of how it is, with an exception of the SEC and some of those programs, you have to give them something to come out for first. That is ok and I understand it. I remember when Rashaan [Salaam] was going for 2,000 [rushing yards], we were 9-1, we didn't sell out that game and it was 58 degrees, great November fall day. A little of that could be the culture around here, and we have to do our part to get people to say this is something they want to be a part of. I'm sure the economy has something to do with it. There are always circumstances around it, and the ones that do come, I appreciate them coming and I need them to be loud."

On recruits coming in this weekend

"Yes, we will have a few coming in this weekend. As long as the fans that are here are loud and are good Buff supporters, they will make a good impression on those kids."

On changes each week

"I hope we see a significant amount of improvement. One of the things that I was disappointed about was the penalties, self-inflicting fouls. I thought the one was questionable on Parker Orms, the late hit. The run on Ray [Polk], I can live with one of those here-and-there, but it is the offside, the illegal motion, the kicking the ball out of bounds, the delay of game on the punt team - we have a new guy back there personal protecting, and it is a whole new scheme and he was trying to change the call and got stuck and didn't realized the clock. I don't expect that to happen again, but the other things, we have to eliminate. I expect to see improvement there. I expect to see improvement in how we start and how we play in a rut. I think we will be better tackling, we need to be. With the nature of our schedule we have to get better every week. I don't know if that is the coaches saying, 'You get the most improvements between your first and second games.' I like to think that the coach that says that is the coach that lost the week before. We have to get better every week and I do expect to see improvement every week as we go on and progress. What that looks like? I think that depends on what happened the week before. For this week, I want to see fewer penalties or be better tackling. I want to see some of those things that we set out to do at the beginning and to see those issues not keep raising their heads, so to speak."

On guarding against the notion of 'Here we go again'

"The kids have been pretty resilient. Malcolm [Blacken] said they did a great job in the weight room, they got after it and worked hard. They ran good, we had a light practice. I don't know if you have to guard against it, as coaches we have to keep the pressure on them and keep pushing them to get better and once they start having some success, it will breed more success. We have a lot of seniors and they badly want to go out with some kind of success. I think that, 'Here we go again,' isn't an issue at this point."

On rating how he did in his first game as a head coach

"Not good enough, we didn't win. I didn't feel like we had any situations arise where, whether I should have gone for it on fourth down or run a fake or anything like that where the decision is squarely on me. I really thought that we had the kids ready to go, felt like we were fresh and we played fast, we just didn't do what we needed to do, starting offensively. Obviously I didn't do a good enough job because we didn't win. I told the team after the game, 'We lost.' The offense didn't lose, the defense didn't lose, special teams, we lost. Coaches, we had to be better and that starts with me and there are things that players need to clean up and we all have to work on that together. If you lose, you can't say you did a good job."

On if he was surprised he got a nasty letter

"No, I figured I would get more. Here is my theory on this: when you get hired, 51 percent want you, 49 percent don't. When you lose, the 49 percent is the loudest. I expect that. That is the nature of society a little bit because you can do things and not put your name on it. They can get your Twitter or Facebook. It is what it is, but it doesn't bother me because I understand where we are and where we have to go and where we are at in this whole process. It is either somebody who is passionate or somebody who lost some money on Saturday, maybe both."

On his thoughts on Maryland's new uniforms

"I was watching tape last night and working and I just happened - as I was leaving - to see the helmets. Intriguing, I'll say that. These new uniforms, the combat unis, it is different, it definitely is, but hey, if that is what the kids want to wear and they keep winning, I guess they'll probably wear those helmets next week. They are 1-0 in them, unless they are special helmets for big games."

On CU trying the new uniform look

"Honestly I'm biased but I think we have the best colors in college football. The black and gold, I think is awesome. I know we've talked with Nike a little bit about a combat uni for a special game, but I really don't seeing us doing anything crazy. I think we have a great mascot in the Buffalo, and I think our colors are second to none with the black and gold."

On welcoming new teams into the Pac-12 Conference

"To me, I think a 16 team conference would be interesting just to see how that all will work with scheduling. I guess you would have to realign again. I haven't really thought about how it would affect us, it is kind of disappointing to see the conference is falling apart like that. I think that is the direction that college football is going. There has always been talk about these super conferences of 50 teams or 60 teams or 48 teams, whatever it is, and it seems to be heading in that direction. They really don't ask us though, they kind of tell you, 'This is who you are playing and this is who is in your conference,' and you deal with it. I do know that Larry Scott has been terrific for this conference. I know Larry Scott has done a great job in putting the Pac-12 brand out there and putting it in the forefront. He has done an unbelievable job, not just with football, but with all of the sports. I trust Larry Scott. If we do go that route, I'm sure he has an unbelievable plan for that, and if we don't go that route, I'm sure there is a good reason for it. I'm just glad that we are where we are."

On possibly being stuck in a division with some of the old Big 12 teams

"I don't know how that would work or how it would look. I know from a recruiting standpoint, obviously that was a big advantage for us. I guess we will have to cross the bridge when we get to it, if that was to happen like that."

On if being in the South division has helped with recruiting in the L.A. area

"A little bit, but we recruited well in Los Angeles when we were in the Big 12. Kids, at the end of the day, really just want to go somewhere to play to have a good opportunity. The landscape of college football is changing, not just with the conferences, but the parity. I think if you look around at all of the scores this past week, everywhere you look, these mid-majors or whatever you want to call them, non-qualifying conferences, they have a lot of good players too. The reason why they are getting good players is because A) they are developing guys, and B) you can only take so many at these places and there is a lot of good high school talent around this country and around those areas of California, Texas, Florida, Ohio and so forth. It is really interesting on how the landscape is changing. If these super conferences, so to speak, don't happen, there is not going to be many haves and have-nots. When I talk to kids during recruiting, 'Is your dream to play college football or to stand on the sideline of a college team that you always wanted to go to and watch someone else play for four or five years?' Almost always the answer is the kids want to play. They'll go where they can play."

On his son's performance at UCLA on Saturday

"Yeah I guess he caught five passes. That is five more than I caught my senior year in a game, I know that. I talked to him, it was a tough loss for them. He was playing with a dislocated pinky and all of that, but he is excited about their game this week. It was not a good weekend in the Embree house."

On if super conferences would get rid of the parity between teams

"Maybe initially it could. Again, you can only take so many kids. They are going to go and play somewhere. It is just like Appalachian State, Montana, you have some very good I-AA [FCS] teams that can play with some Division I teams."

On how good Paul Richardson can be

"Paul Richardson could be mentioned with the [Michael] Westbrooks, the Charles Johnsons, those guys, he could be. He could have his name up in the stadium. He has that talent, right now he has that work ethic, drive, and hunger. So as long as he keeps those and keeps working and grinding, he'll have that opportunity. He is really deceptive. He is stronger than he looks, he is faster than people think he is, but he is very competitive, he takes coaching very well because he will hear it - either myself, coach Kennedy, EB, - he isn't sensitive, he says ok, figures it out and goes out there and gets it done. He is one of those guys that rarely he will make the same mistake twice. As a coach, you love players like that. That is how you make improvement and how you improve quickly. I think Paul Richardson has the opportunity to be a guy that is mentioned with some of the best that have played here."

On how he would grade QB Tyler Hansen's performance vs. Hawai'i

"You will have to talk to Rip [Schere] about that if you are looking for a number. I don't get into that too much if they are 85 percent or 90 percent. I know he didn't do as we would have liked in some of the decisions. I know he can be better there. I don't feel that Tyler was Tyler on Saturday. I don't think he played like he played all of camp. I don't think he played like he is capable of playing. I'm excited to see what he does this Saturday if he plays like we think he is capable of playing. On the other side of it, his two touchdown passes were big time. He had pressure and he did a good job of stepping up and putting the ball where only Paul could get it. Those were some tight windows. He had some drops early that hurt him and I think as a quarterback you try and get them going early and you get some drops or get some things that get you out of whack a little bit - I think that affected him some. I expect Tyler Hansen to play good this Saturday and every week moving forward. The thing I love about Tyler is his expectations are probably higher than what mine are for him. Having someone like that and your leader is good. I want him to be more aggressive leading, and I've told him that. I told him on Saturday near the end of the game, what I expect from him and how he should handle some things moving forward."

On why Tyler Hansen wasn't like himself last week

"I don't know if he was pressing or if the guys were pressing at all too much in general. It kind of looked like it on one side of the ball. To fumble the ball on the first snap of the game, I bet we probably fumbled five snaps all spring and all of training camp between all of the quarterbacks. I don't know if Tyler has even fumbled a snap. They can probably answer that question better than me. It was amazing to me on how the second half they just came out and played. We have to come out on the first snap and just play. Not worry about where we are playing and who we are playing. We just have to learn to come out and just play."

On the first snap fumble

"To me, when that happens, the quarterback always takes responsibility. It is up to him to get the ball. I'm sure if you ask Tyler, he will say it was his fault, if you ask Daniel Munyer, he'll say it was his fault. Bottom-line, we are better than that. Of course, the rest of the game, we don't have that issue. We rotated the center some, and we never had another issue. We never had a bad shotgun snap. I know our offense and that first half, that's not us. And I said that after the game. It was disappointing because it wasn't us. But it's on tape and it's part of us now."

On if he will continue to rotate centers

"We will talk to Marsh [Steve Marshall] about that, we rotated them some. I think you have to keep both of them playing some. Daniel [Munyer] played some guard for us to. With our situation on our offensive line being dinged up and our depth, you can't have guys just standing on the sidelines, I think you have to have some guys going and get them in there. That is why we are recruiting O-linemen like crazy. There is some tremendous opportunity for some guys next year to come in here and have the opportunity to compete and play. We are playing some guys and rolling them in - we have [Ryan] Dannewitz going some. It is good that we practice some of this in camps, mixing different lines and different scenarios just because we felt that we have eight linemen that we feel good about, maybe nine, so you have to have different combinations ready to go. We'll keep playing Daniel and Gus [Handler]."

On redshirting Stephane Nembot

"Yesterday one of the questions asked to me was would there be any changes, so I said no, there weren't going to be any changes. Then guy walked up the hill with me and wanted to get some work in at offensive tackle, so we will redshirt Nembot. He wants to play offensive tackle. I was telling you guys the truth when you asked me that, so you know. He said he felt more comfortable over there than on the defensive side. I don't know what it was specifically, maybe it is more opportunity on the offensive side - I don't' know if he feels more comfortable with it, but he asked and he feels like he could help us as an offensive linemen so we'll start working him there today and give him a chance to grow, learn the system, get a feel for what he can do. He has great feet so I feel he will be a natural at tackle."

On any update about the injury to OL David Bakhtiari

"Still day-to-day. We will keep working him, keep getting him in range of motion. A lot of that depends on the tenderness with the MCL and how stable he feels with that joint. We don't want that to get worse. If he can't be a 100 percent and has to worry about protecting his leg, then the position he plays, all it does is it takes for him to feel like he can't slot or something and then he gets beat around the edge and then we are talking about our quarterback. If he is ready, we will play him. We will see how he progresses."

On if QB Connor Wood will walk-on

"Connor will walk-on for the semester and then we will get him going for the spring. He will help with our scout team, continue to give good looks. Connor obviously gives us another live arm and will help our defense and help our secondary. He is a big arm kid and can do some things. It is always great when your scout team makes it harder than it is in a game, then you have arrived as a program. He gives us a step in the right direction towards that."

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