Untitled Document

Ahead of Colorado’s home game against the Washington Huskies on Saturday, head football coach Jon Embree talked with members of the media and fans at his weekly press luncheon on Tuesday, held this week at the Millennium Hotel Harvest House in Boulder.

Among the topics that were discussed was the quarterback situation for this weekend, CU's freshmen from Upland High School in California and defensive lineman Will Pericak, who if he starts this weekend will break the school record for the most starts in a collegiate career. Pericak has started in every game in which he has played, 47, and is currently tied with Ryan Miller for the top spot, who achieved the mark from 2007-11.

Below is the complete transcript of Embree from the press conference.

“Getting ready for Washington this week, started looking at tape on them.  I think when you are looking at them, the thing that jumps out at me the most is probably, not a surprise, is their tight end [Austin Seferian-]Jenkins, he is probably the best tight end in the country.  He is a guy, he reminds me a lot of Marcedes Lewis that I had at UCLA, he is a big body like that, and very athletic, he will create some matchup issues, so we have to get an answer for that.  Keith Price has been playing well the last couple of weeks, he had struggled earlier in the year but he is playing a lot better the last couple of weeks.  They have a running back, [Bishop] Sankey, who is a good player, I think he is over a 1,000 [yards], I am not sure.  Defensively, they are doing some multiple fronts and a mix of pressure, they do a good job there, they are sound.  They try to make you earn it all the way down the field; they don’t give up a lot of big plays the last couple of weeks.  So obviously our offense, we have to make sure we can continue the momentum we had that we created last week.  It is our first of two at home, so opportunity is... about getting a win for the seniors at home, and doing that and what it means for us to do that.  Something we talked about yesterday afternoon at our team meeting and about our opportunities at home to win at home, and what our mindset needs to be to not only finish the season but get that win for them at home.”

On Tailbacks Christian Powell And Donta Abron
“Yeah, and Marques Mosley is from the same high school.  I will start with Christian first; I think everyone is a little surprised at how well he played starting with the Sacramento State game but now seeing him consistently play physical and do some things every week.   The run that I was really pleased to see him do was last week in Arizona, when his helmet came off and he just kept grinding it out, and he got in the end zone but because of the rule he was marked down at the two.  He is a big guy that will play big and he is starting to figure some things out in the running game about when to take it outside; he has good speed, not great speed, but good enough.  He had a chance I thought to break one, got tripped up but that would have been a 60-yarder, so I am very pleased with him.  Then Donta Abron; he is obviously starting to hit his stride now.  Earlier in the year, the adjustment of being a freshman and learning how to prepare for college football, how to practice and do all of those things, so he was a little slower coming around.  Again, he had a great physical run too, right there on the sidelines, staying in bounds, fighting through some tackles the last five yards to get in the end zone.  I think those two along with Tony Jones gives us a real good one, two, three punch to that position, and you are going to need all three guys as you continue to run the football because the guy gets nicked or dinged, it is not like it puts your running game at a huge disadvantage.”

On Powell, Abron, And Mosley Coming From The Same High School At Upland
“Well, I think it plays a little bit of a role.  Marques was more ready than those other guys earlier, and then Christian followed after him and then Donta.  Coach [Tim] Salter does a great job with those guys in his program at Upland.  He is a guy that Eric and I have had a relationship with for a while he was at Bishop Amat when Eric went through there.  Then when I was recruiting in southern California as an assistant, had a good relationship with him there and then he went to Culver City.  We knew what kind of players we were getting from that standpoint of the program they were coming out of, we knew that they would be guys that would be able to contribute early.”

On Changes With His Coaching Staff
“No I haven’t, and as I said, after the season we will sit down and evaluate and look at why there have been some issues with us as far as getting our performance to translate from practice to the field on Saturdays.”

On Translating Practice To Games
“Part of it is, us playing well as a team.  Sometimes it is the defense that plays well early and not the offense and then vice versa, whether it is a quarter or a half or the entire game.  We just have to play a complete game on both sides at the same time.”

On Being Worried About Not Finishing The Season With A Home Win
“No, because I expect us too.  I don’t think of it any other way.”

On Any Changes With Recruits
“We just got a commitment last Friday, from a kid who was at the Stanford game.  We have some kids coming in this week.  The kids that we have had committed, we have had all of them stay but one, it hasn’t affected us.  The kids that we are recruiting, they are into building something, they are into opportunity.  I think it is a testament to our kids that are here on the team and in the program because they are hosting them; they are around the players, and whether it is the upperclassmen or the players that just came in this year.  All of those kids, we have used different kids to host, and they have all done a great job.  It hasn’t affected us.”

On Deciding To Play The Younger Guys This Season
“Well a lot of it is, out of necessity.  I mean I sit there and I think, ‘If you don’t have Josh Tupou, Tyler Henington, Justin Solis, or Samson [Kafovalu], who is playing defensive tackle for you?’  All of those kids and same on the back end, with Yuri [Wright], [Kenneth] Crawley, and Marques [Mosley], all of those kids knew there were great opportunities to play for them, just because of the shape we were in just from a roster standpoint, in a lot of positions.  Same with the tight end position; those kids knew; Vincent Hobbs knew, Austin Ray, Sean Irwin, whoever out of that group emerged was going to have to play for us; it is just how it is.  They understood that, the other piece of it is going through at times getting beat physically, or getting beat for touchdowns, or fumbling or some of those things that happen, unfortunately that is part of getting exposed to college football and going against some great athletes.  You know that is going to be a part of it, you just try to minimize it as much as you can with those guys.  When I talk with them, those kids that are going through that and some redshirt guys, I just talk to them about the things that they are doing well and just focus on improving and getting better each week.”

On If Senior DL Will Pericak Starting Every Game Of His College Career Is Significant
“Yeah it is, it says two things, 1) obviously playing at a high level, and 2) staying healthy.  Especially the last piece, that is hard to do when you play like he plays, he is high motor, he is a physical guy, he plays every play out there like it is his last play.  So that is a testament of how he trains and how he takes care of himself in the offseason.  Also a testament to his heart because he is not completely healthy all of the time and he is out there playing and he doesn’t say two words about what is bothering him from a physical standpoint.  It says a lot about him as a player, and his character, and I am happy for him.  He is going to be deeply missed.”

On NFL Scouts Take On Pericak
“Yes they (scouts) have.  They don’t really talk to coaches, they watch tape, they talk to the trainer, they talk to the equipment man, they talk to the strength and conditioning coach.  They watch a lot of tape, they may just ask, ‘Hey what kind of kid is he,’ and that is it.  The scouts that do come through, the one thing they say is, ‘Wow, his motor,’ they cannot get over how hard he plays; and that excites them because, as I told Will, he has made himself some money this year because of that.  There is more talented people out there than him but he will play longer than those guys if he stays healthy, just because of his motor and how he prepares and gets ready for the game of football.”

On The QB Competition Between Nick Hirschman And Connor Wood
“Nick was better and that is why Nick was going, and then the way Nick was playing, we were not going to put Connor in and then obviously he got hurt and then Connor went in and played well.  Except for the one pass, he (Wood) would like to have back in the end zone with Gerald [Thomas] for a touchdown, I thought he did a good job of managing the game.  I thought he (Wood) did a really good job of giving guys the chance to catch the ball and run with it.  The hardest pass and the one I was holding my breath on was the one to Scooter (Scott Fernandez), because he was so wide open and you have this tendency to kind of want to hand it to the guy, so between the throw and then that was a hard ball to catch to because you know you are wide open; that was the one I was most nervous about.  Obviously they executed it and did great with it.  I was proud of Connor, he has to get better at some things but I expect him to do that, and then we will see where Nick is at either today or tomorrow from his situation.”

On How Jordan Webb Is Taking Not Being The Starter
“Great.  There were some sideline shots, he was going crazy, cheering them on and greeting the guys with some of the plays they made when they came off the field.  He was good at helping those guys in what he was seeing on the sideline and all of that.  Those guys really pull for each other, they really do.  When Scooter (Scott Fernandez) scored his touchdown, when you see DeVaughn Thornton and Vincent Hobbs and their reaction, you would have thought it was them scoring the touchdown, those guys went crazy, a lot of those guys pull for each other.  They just want to see guys have success and Jordan was fantastic.”

On Getting A Win Late In The Season
“It will be big.  We talked about trying to create some momentum for them in the offseason.  Then moving forward into 2013, we have talked about that with them.  I talked to the older guys, the seniors, about how they want to finish and how it relates to them.  It would be big, we talked about those things on Monday and we will continue to talk about it all week, just about what these two games mean, just to everybody on this team and this program.”

On Recovering Defensively From Last Week
“Well, I talked to our team after the game on Monday.  I talked to the defense about pride, and that no matter how much they think about or wish or go over it, it isn’t going to change what happened on Saturday, but they have an opportunity these next two weeks; I appealed to their pride.  Offensively, I talked about humility, we have played pretty good three out of the four weeks, but it hasn’t translated to wins and there are some things that we need to fix, so don’t think you have arrived and relax.  That was my message to the team, when I spoke to both sides of the football.  Then I just talked again to the team about finishing, about running through the line and not jogging through the line, and what that meant and what that looked like.  That was my message to the team on Monday.”

On Sky Kicks On Kickoffs
“It is not necessarily the confidence of the kicker but in the coverage, not getting enough hang time.  A sky kick is to try and get the ball around that 20 or 25, forcing them to a fair catch or tackle it with minimal return, because that is where they would get it if we kicked it out of the end zone.  So that is what we try to do, we kicked one out when they started cheating up, he was able to drive it and get it out of the end zone and had the wind behind him.  That is really why we try to do a sky kick; it just helps from a coverage standpoint, and allows you to maybe force a fair catch.”

On The Kickers Not Being Consistent
“Yeah, we can’t get it out of the end zone for whatever reason.  So that is just the best thing for us to do with our skill set as far as coverage and what we are doing kicking.”

On True Freshman QB Shane Dillon
“Shane has been practicing, his arm is getting stronger.  He has shoulder surgery, we have been cautious working him back.  His shoulder gets stronger every week, I think Jon [Major] can probably say some things because he sees him every week, but he does a really good job of giving us a look on scout team, whether it is being a running quarterback or running the ball.  He has really good leadership qualities, he gets mad when he doesn’t beat the defense, he wants to win all of the time, so he has that quality about him.  We do some stuff with him after practice, we keep all the young kids out and work with them and I get a chance to coach them, because obviously when they are doing scout team stuff, you don’t really get to coach those guys, the tight ends, quarterbacks, young linemen.  He is very competitive in the 7-on-7, he has got good accuracy, he is pretty dang accurate, which has been good having that show up with him.  He needs to get stronger, he still looks like a manikin, in his uniform, but he is working and getting stronger in the weight room.  All of his numbers are going up which is good, so we are excited about seeing what he does this spring.”