Below is the transcript for Jon Embree's weekly press conference on Sept. 20, 2011:
On how long he enjoyed the Colorado State Win
"Probably by Sunday morning at 8 o'clock when I woke up."
On if he will recruit any more players from Ohio
"I've mentioned this before about our recruiting footprint. There are some athletes that are outside of that footprint that we are recruiting if they have shown interest in us, but we are just not going to go blindly throw stuff out there and waste resources and time recruiting kids that ultimately are going to end up at Ohio State or Michigan. If the kid has contact us and has shown us some interest or kids that have come out on unofficial visits from other areas, we will recruit them just like they were part of the footprint and part of the deal. However the first move has to be theirs or if we sent a questionnaire and they reciprocate the interest and we feel that it is sincere and we feel that there is a reason for them to come out this way, then we will recruit them."
On LB Doug Rippy
"Doug has played very well. Doug is kind of the emotional leader of that defense. He has done a very good job of tackling; he has gotten better each week at that. He does a good job of getting guys lined up and getting the calls in. He has a lot of responsibilities put on him and he has handled them all very well."
On Rippy being more of a leader this year
"I've tried for him to take more control of it. I don't believe that you have to be a senior to be a leader. I don't believe that you have to be the starting quarterback or starting middle linebacker to be the leader. There are guys who are at other positions that can fill that role as far as leadership and leadership is a lot of different things and Doug, because of the nature of his position and I believe because of his personality and how well he plays and how he prepares and how he handles himself off the field, that he is a guy that can be a leader for us."
On what Ohio State's biggest weakness is
"I haven't looked at all of their special teams yet. There are not a lot of weaknesses with that team and with that program. I know people are down on them around their program, but to me, it is more that they have been so successful and they have done so well and all of a sudden they lose a game and it is supposed to change, I don't see it. I think they are very good defensively. They are very physical. They are very good upfront. When you look at their offensive line, every guy is at least 6-5 and every guy is 305, 315, 320-they are some great looking guys, very athletic. Of course I always look at the other team's tight end and see what they do, and their tight end has been a threat in the red zone and he has done some good things and they have some speed on the edge. They're a program right now-I know that they are going through a quarterback controversy, so to speak, and I'm sure whoever they put out there will be up to the task."
On the Ohio State quarterback situation
"I hate cliche, but too much credit is given to the quarterback when it is good and too much blame when it goes bad. It takes a lot of people. A passing game from a throwing standpoint is protection, it is guys catching the ball, it is guys running the routes at the right depth, so there are a lot of things that can go into their issues. I don't think it is just a one guy problem with the passing game. The other games they were doing ok with it, so I'm not buying the sky is falling in Columbus."
On if he has a history with any of OSU's staff
"I haven't looked at the whole staff, but at the top of my head no. If Bill Myles is still around there, he was the coach that helped recruit me-I think he is an assistant athletic director-but that would be it."
On if his offense closer to getting the balance he wants
"We are getting close to the balance. That last drive we had of 10-plus minutes, I think was a testament of that. I think we are starting to get into a groove of running the football. We still have a ways to go, but again, it was another step forward in the right direction. That is the one thing that I am encouraged about of this team, is that each week we have improved in some things, whether it is red zone offense, whether it is tackling, whether it is running the football, whatever it is we have improved. I just want to continue to see us improve and keep making strides and see what happens."
On using more screen passes
"I don't know whose idea it was. To me, that is the most underused play in college football because unlike in the NFL, you can be down the field blocking. I'm a big screen guy and I think a lot of guys on our staff are big screen guys. It is another way to get the ball to [No.] 5, get the ball to [No.] 6; we can use other guys on screens. I look at it a couple of ways. One, having our linemen down the field helps with the pass rush and my philosophy is some people look at screens as trying to create big plays and all that, to me, let's just get four yards. It is an extension of the run game to me. I think as long as you have that rule in college football, that you should be using it to your advantage. It is a big advantage for the offense."
On offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy getting comfortable calling the game in the box
"Yeah he is and he is definitely comfortable up there and is doing a good job of seeing things. I think him and [quarterbacks coach] Rip [Scherer] do a very good job up there. I think that is part of the reason of why we have been successful in the second half of football games, the ability to make some adjustments, ability to tweak a few things here and there and take advantage of what we are seeing and what is happening."
On how big of an issue the penalties are
"We'll see this week. The team is just trying to do what I'm asking them to do. I'm not going to overreact on some of the things. I made a statement at halftime that if there were any more personal fouls that they wouldn't be going to Ohio State. We didn't have any in the second half. I'm not overly concerned about those. Holding, it happens here and there; it is what it is. The kicking the ball out of bounds, being offsides, those are the ones we have to fix. We might have a solution to kicking the ball out of bounds, we'll see this week."
On if he has settled on a kick returner
"I think we will still go with the same two guys, [Toney] Clemons and [Kyle] Washington right now."
On Kyle Washington being a kick returner
"He's done it and been successful at it in high school. I thought he was a good running back coming and I think he's a good football player. Obviously having him handle the ball as much as he did as a high school player, you trust him with the ball security issues. He has good size so you are not worried about if a guy comes free on a block and takes a shot that he is not going to give the ball up. Those were two of the factors that we looked at when we put him back there."
On QB Tyler Hansen running more
"I think part of it is Tyler becoming more comfortable and I've told him that it is ok to run. I think he is just making good decisions at the opportune time, when to run and when to throw it away. He is very good in being aware of down and distance. I think what Tyler has done so far this season so far is making good decisions. Understanding when it is ok to throw it away and live for another down, when it is, 'Oh, I better get something out of this.' A good example was right before half (versus Colorado State) in the two-minute, faking like he was going to go out of bounds and then stayed and cut back and picked up the first down and moved the chains. Understanding what the clock situation was then, understanding our timeout situations, us not having any. All those things I think he does a good job of understanding that and making good decisions to go with it, and then when he threw that touchdown pass to Kyle [Cefalo], moving with his feet and just being patient and not panicking and giving Kyle a chance where if he didn't get it, we could still get some points with the field goal."
On Tyler's decisions becoming more important now that the team is going on the road
"It is important every game. At home, away, neutral site, it doesn't matter. When you are the quarterback, those decisions, you have to be good at that at all time to give your team a chance to win."
On if he will do anything different on the road in Columbus versus in Hawai'i earlier the season
"I thought when we went to Hawai'i that our road mentality was good. We didn't start fast but we didn't start fast at home either. I look back at the Hawai'i game, we missed a sack which would have forced them to punt and we would have been down 10-0 at halftime. You have to make those plays. I think what happens on the road, and I feel that our kids understand this a little bit, is that missed opportunities are magnified a little bit more, especially when you go to a place like Columbus, when you are playing in the 'Shoe'. It's 108,000 people are trying to will their team to victory, and so when you miss an opportunity and it can create a momentum shift, when you do a play on the road at a place like this, it is magnified where as if it was a home situation, maybe it wouldn't be as glaring. I feel like they played hard, they competed in Hawai'i, we just didn't start fast, but we haven't started fast at all, period. So I don't think you can necessarily say that that is a road issue. We'll just go out there and keep plugging away and get after it and end this streak at some point."
On starting the game on defense
"I just defer and let the other team decide. It doesn't really matter to me whether we have the ball or not. We really haven't had a wind issue or weather issue, sometimes that may dictate what we do also, but we've won and deferred and let the other teams decided what they want to do."
On if he scripts plays
"We do. Maybe we have to get that script changed. Take the second half script. We do script plays, and for whatever reasons, either an errant pass, a dropped pass, a missed read, a missed block, it seems like when we start the game we always put ourselves in a negative situations. We have to stay ahead on the chains and we have to keep the chains in our favor. We can't be in third-and-long, even though we were better in third down situations this past week, we have to be better about having manageable third downs. We script the first 15; you can maybe talk to Eric [Bieniemy] about that."
On why today's quarterbacks are completing so many passes
"I don't know if it is across the country thing, I haven't really looked at that. I do notice our conference. I happened to notice the Arizona game and I think [Nick] Foles was 16 out of 17 or something crazy and [Stanford's Andrew] Luck only had four incompletions. Part of it is just really good quarterbacks and the other part is that defenses probably aren't gambling as much. When you are playing a passing offense and can shrink the field and actually get them into the red zone, it is to your advantage because they run out of space in doing some of the stuff that they want to do. I think it is a combination of factors, but our conference, I say Pac-12 but also the Big 12. The Big 12 had that year when they had [Kansas State's Josh] Freeman and [Kansas' Todd] Reesing and [Texas' Colt] McCoy and [Oklahoma's Sam] Bradford. The Big 12 and Pac-12 have always had quarterback that could light you up so you have to decide if you want to try and slow them down by letting them eat up some real estate and get a good play or go after them right away and take a chance of getting gashed immediately. Our conference has some very good quarterbacks."
On if he expected so many true freshmen to be playing
"I did because as you build this team and build this program, we needed to upgrade our team speed and upgrade some things on special teams so I felt like some of these guys had that ability to be able to do that for us. I did think that we would have a good amount playing early as freshman."
On if he was thinking of a recruit playing right away last year
"As we were evaluating kids, that was the one thing that we were looking at - how would they be able to help us? How would they be able to help us offensively and defensively and how does their speed help upgrade our team speed? We looked at all three of those components as we were doing this."
On how he felt his secondary held up without CB Travis Sandersfeld
"Yeah they did. I feel bad for Travis, him being an in-state kid; I'm sure that game was important to him. He is a competitor, a great guy and helps lead back there. I think he does a great job in helping [Greg] Henderson and helping Parker [Orms], too. Having him not out there maybe didn't show in the stats, but it would have been nice having him, for him."
On when he might expect Sandersfeld back
"I expect him back by maybe Washington. Stanford, Washington, around that time frame. It will be how the X-ray looks and how I think he looks out there running. I don't want him out there with three-quarter speed against Stanford."
On how much WR Paul Richardson's performance vs. Cal helped the running game and other receivers versus CSU
"It helped a lot. He drew some attention and that is one thing that we were able to do, some things in the run game by just lining him up differently. When he was getting the attention that he was getting, we can use him to block people by lining him up at certain positions and in certain formations. We can get him to take two guys by just having him lined up in a certain way. That helped and also in the passing game because it allowed us to do some things with Speedy, again having him on the other side, drawing a lot of attention, and I think on Toney's touchdown, he took two guys with him on his route on the backside and Toney [Clemons] only had to beat one guy and the play-fake helped with that, so that is why Toney was so wide open. That is the great thing about our offense; you don't have to force anything. Once we see what people are trying to do in order to take away certain things, you just have to make the appropriate adjustments and have other people ready to step up and make plays, Toney Clemons or the tight ends or Speedy or whoever, you just have to have that flexibility within your offense to do that."
On the physical challenge of Ohio State
"It is going to be a physical game. It is going to be-and I told the team the other day-108,000 people or whatever come watch 9-on-7. That is the kind of game it is going to be. They are a physical lineup, run it down your throat team, which is something that we are aspiring to be. They have very good speed on the edge. It will be, and I hate to date myself, an old school Big Eight football game."
On if he is pleased with his team's physicality so far this season
"I am, I really am. I am pleased with the physical nature that we play with. I'm pleased with our mindset of not backing down. I'm pleased with how guys are embracing and enjoying hitting and getting after guys and finishing, whether it is an offensive lineman finishing a guy or on special teams with a guy finishing a guy on a block. They are having fun with it too, I think they are realizing that you can have fun and do these things. We continue to make strides; the guys do it in practice. We go live basically 24 plays in every practice against each other. Ones on ones. We will do it again today and they embrace it and they look forward to it and they have fun practicing and getting after each other. We basically get a quarter of football every day we practice of live work, and I think that is important for our mindset, I think it is important to continue to develop in what we need to do to keep this program moving forward."
On what goes into determining what game is "brick" worthy
"For us, it was whenever our first win came in. Ohio State will be one because it represents an opportunity to win on the road, Washington State will probably represent one - our first Pac-12 game - so there will be things like that that will go into it in determining the criteria. Obviously anytime you play a top-25 program, that's another opportunity. I told the team at the beginning of the season that we would probably have about eight opportunities at bricks this year, just due to the nature of our schedule. I think I just named four more opportunities right there."
On if the brick games will be decided before the fact
"Yes, generally I do. I tell them that is an opportunity."
On Big 12 teams possibly joining the Pac-12
"The nature of college football, the landscape of it right now is incredible. Two teams petition a conference and a day later they are in it. That is how fast it is moving. I don't know what will happen. I trust Larry Scott and I trust Mike Bohn and Bruce Benson and the decisions that they make as far as that in moving forward. It is a situation where the train has left the station and I don't think you can stop it at this point. It seems like the thing that is out there and the one that everyone is trying to get to the number 16 for whatever reason. If it happens in our conference, it is what it is and we'll move forward and let them figure it out. It doesn't really affect us from the standpoint of we have a home. Mike, Phil and Bruce did a great job of being ahead of all of this and getting us a home. To me it really doesn't affect us in one way or the other because it would be different if we were trying to find a home and dealing with that kind of chaos. But the fact that we have one, it doesn't affect us from a recruiting standpoint, in fact it helps us because we can sell stability, we know where we are going to be for the next 20 to 30 years or however this lasts until something else happens."
On if being in a Pac-12 division with old Big 12 schools will affect recruiting in California
"No because we recruited well in California in the past when I was here and we weren't in the Pac. Colorado is unique because I think we can go into California and Texas and recruit. If that was to happen, I think that helps us in Texas recruiting. We are doing pretty well in Texas as we speak. I think sometimes too much is read into California and a California kid won't come here if we're not playing in California. Kids want to go someplace where they can play and they have a chance to play in an offense or defense that will highlight their skills and can be coached and get better and where they are going to enjoy living and be a part of something when it is not football."
On the effect of expansion has on his job
"Competition increases but I believe that things go in cycles. We did beat Texas for a Big 12 Championship ten years ago; it is what it is. Once you get it going and when Colorado won the national championship, we've always had a difficult schedule so we've always played teams of that caliber, whether they were in our conference or not. You got to play whoever they put in front of you, that is how I feel about it. You have to find a way to win ball games. It is funny talking about how things go in cycles, it was interesting watching Florida State playing Oklahoma because I remember when Florida State spent 11 years finishing in the top four or something (13 straight years in AP top 4, 14 in top 5), and they fell on hard times and now they are finally kind of getting back. Miami has gone through issues where they were the king and then they fell on hard times. The thing about college football because of recruiting, you miss in a couple of classes on some guys and someone else hits, you can close the ground. Whether they come or not, it's not easy winning, I understand that. You just have to worry about what you can control and that is getting the best players you can here and outcoach people on game day."
On TB Brian Lockridge
"B-Lock is our fourth recipient of the AFCA Good Works team award for what he has done out in the community and Brian joins Derek West, Robbie Robinson and George Hypolite as winners here at the university. Brian is a tremendous person. I was asked a question about what makes me proud and I made the statement that I am most proud when people come up and talk about our players, our athletes doing something good off the field, whether it is helping someone or being polite or being courtesy or doing the extra mile off the field and Brian exemplifies that. He is a great kid, a very good teammate, everyone likes him, all the athletes like him. He puts himself out there in the community, he puts himself out there with other athletes and he helps support all of the other sports and he is very deserving of this award. We are very glad that he is part of our program."