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By: Casey Cass, University of Colorado
Jon Embree Press Conference Quotes
Release: September 27, 2011
By: CUBuffs.com
Untitled Document

On The Statistics That Washington State Has Put Up So Far This Season
“There stats are PlayStation kind of numbers. When you watch them, they are explosive. You watch them against San Diego State, first play of the game, they go 80. Their receiver, number 86 [Marquess Wilson] is a real good player. He reminds me of our guy, number 6 [Paul Richardson]. They have some other guys that they go to the ball with, number 84 [Jared Karstetter], another big wide receiver that can get down the field, plays big in the red zone. They are doing it really with a backup quarterback. They lost their starter; I think it was in the first game or early in their second game. They are very explosive on that side of the football and they rotate their tailbacks in. Paul [Wulff] has them playing very well.”

On WSU Coming Off Of A Bye Week Being An Advantage For Them
“I think from a health stand point. We are going to play a couple teams, I think Washington has a bye before us; Arizona State has a bye before us. I think when you get to certain stages of the season, you may tweak a few things but it is more of just getting healthy. I know they had a center who was injured and a couple of other guys that were nicked up. We’ll see if they come back, but that is probably the biggest advantage for them, the ability to get some guys healthy.”

On His Team’s Health
“We’re plugging along. It is part of the game. Right now we are thin at corner so we’ll see if Parker Orms can makes it back, somehow miraculously, we’ll see on that. Travis [Sandersfeld] is still a ways away. [Paul] Vigo, he is a week or two. There are a few guys that we won’t have but you have to keep going, keep grinding. We’ll see who we put back there. We’ll evaluate some guys this week. On the offensive line, we are closer. Then we have some guys that are going to have to play hurt. They got injuries and the dreaded, ‘The only thing that will make it better is time.’ We don’t have time so they’ll just have to find a way.”

On CB Josh Moten
“Josh is a competitive guy. His issue has just been consistency. He will get a nice long look this week and we’ll see where he ends up at the end of the week. But he is a kid that has been maturing. When I first got here, he was a question mark, and he has done a great job academically and in the weight room and all of those other things. He just needed a little time, he was a freshman. He’s been maturing so we’ll see how he does this week. He is a guy that is going to have a long look at to see how and if he can helps us.”

On If Moten Has the Physical Skills
“He has the physical skills from the size and he has some good speed. It is just knowing what to do and knowing how to do it. That has been the biggest issue with Josh.”

On If WSU Will Be CB Greg Henderson’s Biggest Challenge
“I tell him every week, ‘If you are a freshman, every week you go out with a target on you.’ They got him last week. Obviously there are going to be times where they make plays on you, but he has been very good. With their attack being a four-wide attack, everybody back there is a target. When you watch them, they don’t seem like a team that tries to create a matchup with number 86 [Marquess Wilson], trying to get matched up with certain people. They seem to attack more your coverage with when it is zone and when it is man, they have their man beaters already built in. I don’t know if Paul [Wulff] will come in and say, ‘Ok, we are going to go after this guy.’ Just looking at their scheme over the last three games, they are more of do what they do and let coverage dictate quarterback reads.”

On Lack Of Depth Helping On Recruiting Trail
“It will definitely help on the recruiting trail, but at the same time as a coach you just have to be creative and find ways on how to minimize things and protect guys in certain situations. Guys that are playing and are healthy, have to raise their game. There are a lot of things that come out of it; it helps you as far as building depth and for the future because you are playing guys that maybe won’t normally be playing. If there is a positive, that would be it. I would rather have the guys healthy.”

On Injuries Making Them Get Out Of What They Like To Do Defensively
“You will have to ask [defensive coordinator and secondary coach] Greg Brown. I think it limits you, but I don’t think it gets you out of things. It definitely limits you. Again, you have to find ways to protect guys and keep the exposure at a minimum. You may not be able to be as aggressive as you would like to be.”

On Playing Washington State
“This is a big game for both programs. I talked to our players about it. Obviously, playing the first Pac-12 game in the school’s history and with our issues on the road, if we are going to have any chance to accomplish anything you have to win at home. We lost one at home to Cal and obviously, now that I’ve been with this team for four games, you see how amazing it is when we get on a plane and the difference when we play at home, as far as looking at it from their perspective. Paul [Wulff], I got to spend a little bit of time with him; real good guy. They lost a lot of close games last year. They were in a lot of games late last year and I felt like them and Arizona State, who was in a similar situation – obviously their talent level at Arizona State is a little different than what they have Washington State from the standpoint of the sheer number of guys they have coming back – but I felt that both of those teams were going to be teams that were going to be very dangerous in the conference. Just because you get to a certain point when you are building a program and if you look at what he is doing and trying to do, you could just tell that they got to the point where they didn’t accept losing anymore. Being close wasn’t good enough. They came out this year and they have a good start, they started fast and obviously I know this is probably the next step in their progress – they have to beat a team like us at our place. It will be a hotly contested game.”

On His Team Taking The Next Step
“It is a big step because that is the thing about sports, it is such a fine line and when teams do finally start winning, the confidence and expecting to win, there are a lot of things that go along with it from how you prepare, from how you start games, there are a lot of things that go into it. When you are not on the winning end, more times than not when something happens, subconsciously when something goes wrong it’s, ‘Here we go again.’ You just have to continue to beat it out of them and get them focused on not necessarily the winning part of it, but the preparation that goes into winning, the importance of the first quarter, the importance of the second quarter, the importance of finishing, all those different things that go into it because if you look at the Cal game – we started slow and then we didn’t finish, but in-between that we played lights out. But when you play teams that have good players and when you play teams that are better than you, that is not going to be good enough. That is one thing that I think the guys are realizing. We’ve changed some things, how we prepare, how we practice, but all that does is give you an opportunity, you have to take those things and those have to carry over on the field. Obviously that has not been the case every game for us. I talked to the players yesterday, we had a team meeting and I had a discussion that they have to start seeing themselves of what they are capable of, they need to start seeing themselves of how we are telling them what their talent level is and what they are capable of. I’m an honest guy and I am not going to B.S. the guys that they are this when they are not. We have some good players, we do. Do we have a bunch? No. Do we have a lot of depth? No, but we have some good players and those good players have to see themselves that way and take it upon themselves that when you don’t have a bunch of great players, they can’t have an off game. They have to have that pressure on themselves that they go out and perform at that level every week or better every week. I think as a team, and this is just my opinion and you would have to ask the players, but I don’t think they completely see themselves that way. I shared with the team some of the comments that I talked with [Ohio State] coach [Luke] Fickell for a while after the game about some things and then we talked again on Sunday for about 20-30 minutes. And we talked about personnel, that is what we talked about. Hearing his perspective on our players and some of our players, and I shared that with them. I think some of them were kind of shocked of his opinion and how highly he thought of our guys. They need to understand that they are good, they are capable. It is kind of the old, you have been beaten down so much and I don’t know if it is an expectation or if it is truly seeing yourself when someone is telling you are good, what you are worth, you are better than this. I don’t know if past experiences help keep it down or what it is and that is something that I continually try and work with this team and our staff, and I expressed to them that this staff, eight of the guys of the nine assistants have played or coached or did both in the [National Football] League. So if we tell you something, odds are we are telling you the truth and what we are telling you is accurate.

On Focusing On What His Team Can Do, Rather Than What They Can’t
“I’m going to answer that question in two parts. One, a guy like [Anthony] Perkins, he doesn’t run as well as he used to, but he always finds a way to take the proper angle, he always finds a way to be just deep enough or just close enough or whatever it is to handle what his limitations are. Travis Sandersfeld is the same way. He knows what his limitations are, but he doesn’t let himself be put in that situation. That is one of the things that I am mad at myself and you talk about special teams, because of our lack of depth, in a perfect world, I’m playing all of my guys all the time. Because of our lack of depth, I’m trying to protect some guys at certain positions and certain players because if they get hurt, there is a drastic drop off.  So you look at a guy that plays 60 plays a game and do you risk him getting injured or put some guys out there, either a younger guy or another guy in special teams to protect your guys and it bit us. It didn’t just bite us; it took a huge chunk last week. I’m mad at myself for that. It is not those kids’ fault. I’m asking them, and as a coach you have to be careful of asking kids to do things that they can’t do, and I asked kids to do that and it exposed us. Moving forward, we just have to roll the dice. If it is 40 guys that play in a game, than it is 40 guys that play in the game, and they’ll just have to go until they can’t go anymore. That is where all that is.”

On Being In “Psychologist Mode” So Early In the Season
“This guy is probably going to get mad at me for saying this, but I used to joke with my wife that I felt like Frasier Crane taught with Tony Gonzalez. Tony kind of got me into psychiatrist mode when I in Kansas City and just talking with him and helping him through different things that would happen during the season. So I guess he kind of prepared me for this moment.”

On If He Expected To Be Doing A lot Of Psychology With His Team
“Yeah because they are kids. They are kids and I dealt with it with my own kids. I dealt with it some when I was a college position coach. I had a great player that didn’t see himself as a great player and was hard on himself, Marcedes Lewis. When I got Marcedes as a sophomore, he just didn’t see himself for what he was. Different pressures I think he put on himself and it took a while, but he figured it out and now he is Pro Bowler and he is doing great. I’m very proud of him because I know where he came from and what he was and to see him the way he is now, means a lot. It means a lot to me for knowing that I had a big role in that. I know that you will be dealing with kids in that matter as long as you are a college coach.”

On If His Players Believe In Themselves In Practices, But Not In Games
“Practice is always different. We have had very good practices, don’t get me wrong, but there is a certain comfort level when you go up against the same guy every time. Then all of a sudden there is a guy that has a different logo on and sometimes you build them up in your mind. I never talk about the other team with our players. I don’t do a player-by-player scouting report with them because I don’t want to build guys up. You want to tell them the truth and you don’t want to tell a guy he is better than he is either. I want them to form their own opinions as they watch tape. Really, we are at a state in our program that we need to be more concerned about the stuff that we can control. That is what I am really trying to work on, getting our mindset and getting our guys to really see what they are capable of being. When you come out and see us practice, last week we are live 40 snaps and it was very spirited. You talk to coach Fickell and he talks about how they have guys beat up and sore and here you are, you went toe-to-toe in from a physical standpoint with Ohio State. So what’s the difference? It is the mental aspect, it is executing on third downs, it is getting better on special teams, it is the little things and it is all things that they can control. I say they, the players because it is we until game time because coaches, we are on the sideline and we’re in the booth. It becomes them at that point. Players need to embrace that and understand that, that it is all them when they step out of the field, good, bad and indifferent. Obviously it is a process. I get frustrated with it because I don’t want them to miss out on opportunities. I told the team yesterday, ‘It would be a shame for you seniors to be sitting around four or five years from now thinking would’ve, should’ve, could’ve.’ The moment is now, the time is now and I understand that we are building a program, but I want to win now, I want this team to win now, I want these guys to experience it. I’m not about forsaking this year for the future. Tyler Hansen deserves it now, Josh Hartigan deserves it now, there are a lot of guys that deserve the opportunity to win now, and now it is up to them. Like I told the team yesterday, it is their decision, it is up to them, if we are going to take that next step. We’ll see, we’ll see this Saturday.”

On What Is Different About His Team Than He Thought Earlier
“Besides the win column, I thought we would have a little more depth at certain positions. I’m not going to say what positions. I thought there are some guys who are backups that would be better and would keep pushing themselves. There are some guys that seem to be content being No. 2. I have never understood that, but it is what it is. I thought we would be running the ball better. I understand some of the issues, but that is not enough for us not to be better at running it. Those would be the two things that stand out to me at this point of the season.”

On Why His Team Has Struggled To Run the Ball
“I would rather not say because I don’t want to talk about players and I don’t want to say anything that makes it sound like excuses. We are just not running it well; I’ll just leave it at that.”

On If He Felt He Gave The Running Game Enough Opportunity Versus Ohio State
“We do use the quick passing game and screens as part of our run game too. I know we had the fumble on the zone read that went down and part of the initial play was trying to get them to go side-to-side a little bit so we could then just run it at them, but then the game got away from us. I think Eric [Bieniemy] probably can address that a little bit more from that standpoint of it, about the lack of initial runs. You get stuck at times too. If you are second-and-10, second-and-eight, second-and-10 all the time, you are fighting uphill so you are trying to get ahead of the chains too. When you are not getting first down and going three-and-outs, that limits what you do also. I think it is probably a combination of stuff, but we probably need to be a little more patient with the run but the game dictates how patient you can really be. When you feel it slipping away, sometimes field position and all of that dictates that sometimes.”

On If He Mentioned WSU’s Recent Lack Of  Road Success To His Team
“No I haven’t. I’ve just really been trying, starting yesterday, to get these guys to understand us and the things that we can control. I don’t think Washington State is the same program that has gone through the issues that they have gone through. The state where we are in our program, we have to make sure that we show up and what we are supposed to do, and if we do, then everything else I think takes care of itself.”

On What His Team Has Done That Has Matched His Expectations
“We’ve been physical. From that aspect, I feel that we have been a very physical team. I do think that. For me, I was expecting to be 4-0, that is just me, I expect to win every game. That is how I go into stuff. If I’m playing Michael Jordan in hoops, I’m going to have to figure out a way. Foul him or do something, make him shoot with his left hand or whatever else you can do. That is just my mentality. I am disappointed about where we are in the non-conference and now here we are in our conference play, so we can start anew from that standpoint and play for some things. I have been on a team that started 0-4 and played Oklahoma for the Big Eight title [in 1986]. Things happen, but before anything can happen, you have to take care of business at home and find a way to win on the road. I expected us to win on the road by now. There are a lot of expectations that I have, but to me, it is getting the rest of the team to truly have these same expectations; to truly have the same feeling and passion that I have for it. There are guys that do, don’t get me wrong, there is a decent amount that do, but obviously not enough of us feel that way. So I have to continue to find a way to get everybody to feel that same way.”

On The Team’s Psyche Being More Damaged Than He Thought
“I don’t know. That is something that the players have to answer. I’m an optimistic, believe-in-it guy, the past is the past. It is all about the next time you can compete. The next time that you can go. That is what I love about Mondays, is that it is game week. It is game week and that is the nice thing about not having a bye. There is nothing worse than having a bye after a loss; to me, it takes forever for the next game to get there. I’m excited, I’m excited about getting to play Washington State. I don’t know and haven’t harped on what has happened in the past outside of the road losing streak. I’m just trying to concentrate on now and today and that is what I want them to understand. It is about how do we prepare today, how do we go today, what do we do tomorrow and obviously how we’ve prepared in the past isn’t good enough, so what are you going to do to go above and beyond. You just can’t keep doing the same thing and think that it is good enough, it is proven that it is not good enough. Am I watching enough tape? Am I going as hard as I can in practice? All of those different things that you can do and you can control to make yourself better, are you doing it? That is where my challenge is, is to expose the guys that aren’t, and that is why I said if we got to play 40 [players], then we got to play 40. It is not a right, it is a privilege to play for Colorado, and we are not just going to suit you up to suit you up and you are going to have to earn it and you have to prove that it is important to you. Some guys have a high enough skill level where they don’t have to do extra, they are just built that way, but eventually the odds catch up to them. What you have to do is know what you can and can’t do and in what you can do, you keep doing that at a high level, and in what you can’t do, work on that and figure it out. It is what it is right now for us, as far as all of that stuff is concerned. We might be like an NFL team, send 48 out there.”

On If The Players Are Still Excited
“Yeah I’ve heard from six or seven guys from Monday on. I’ll let the players answer that to where they are with it, but the right guys are still excited and enthusiastic. So that is a good sign.”

On When He Talked With Ohio State’s Luke Fickell
“During the handshake I talked to him about some certain things, I’m not going to share, but we talked for a few minutes and made sure that we were going to talk further on Sunday evening.”

On If It Is Common For Coaches To Talk With Each Other After The Game
“No, I head from [Cal head coach Jeff] Tedford after our game. We phone tagged, but that has been it. It is not too common.”

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