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2010 Record: (5-7, 2-6 in Big 12)

Head Coach: Jon Embree (1st Year Head Coach)

Last Bowl Game: 2007 Independence Bowl (lost to Alabama 30-24)

 

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Pac-12 College Football Roundtable

Pre-Spring All Pac-12 Team

Returning Pac-12 Offensive Firepower

 

Schedule

9/3: at Hawaii (2010 result: won 31-13)

9/10: California (2010 result: lost 52-7)

9/17: Colorado State (2010 result: won 24-3)

9/24: at Ohio State

10/1: Washington State

10/8: at Stanford

10/15: at Washington

10/22: Oregon 

10/29: at Arizona State

11/4: USC

11/12: Arizona

11/19: at UCLA

11/25: at Utah



2010 Offensive Statistics:

Scoring: 24.2 ppg (9th in Big 12, 84th in Nation)

Rushing Yds/Game: 136.83 yds/game (11th in Big 12, 85th in Nation)

Passing Yds/Game: 222.7 yds/game (8th in Big 12, 59th in Nation)

Total Yds/Game: 359.5 yds/game (10th in Big 12, 79th in Nation)

 

2010 Defensive Statistics:

Scoring: 30.8 ppg (10th in Big 12, 91st in Nation)

Rushing Yds/Game: 140.25 yds/game (4th in Big 12, 48th in Nation)

Passing Yds/Game: 259.8 yds/game (9th in Big 12, 110th in Nation)

Total Yds/Game: 400.0 yds/game (6th in Big 12, 83rd in Nation)

 

2010 Misc Stats:

Turnover Margin: +0.00 per game (6th in Big 12, 56th in Nation)

Penalties: 52.2 yds/game (4th in Big 12, 64th in Nation)

 

Returning Starters:

Offense: 9

Defense: 7

Kicker/Punter: 1

 

Top Returning Statistical Leaders:

Passing: QB Tyler Hansen, Sr (112 of 164 for 1102 yds, 6 TD, 6 INT)

Rushing: RB Rodney Stewart, Sr (290 for 1316 yds, 4.5 ypc, 10 TD)

Receiving: WR Tony Clemons, Sr (43 rec for 482 yds, 3 TD)

Tackles: S Ray Polk, Jr (60)

Sacks: DE Josh Hartigan, Sr (7)

Interceptions: S Travis Sandersfeld, Sr (2)

 

 

Last season the Dan Hawkins era finally came to an end at the University of Colorado. Hawkins was hired from Boise State after going 53-11 on the blue turf. Unfortunately, Hawkins would never have a year at Colorado as good as his worst year (8-4) at Boise. Hawkins went a combined 19-39 (and 10-27 in the Big 12) and was let go prior to the season ending last year. After pulling off back-to-back wins against Hawaii and Georgia, the Buffaloes faltered in conference as they dropped five straight games. A 52-45 loss to 2-6 Kansas was the final straw as Hawkins was relieved of his duties shortly after that game. After Hawkins was dismissed, the Buffaloes finished 2-1 in their final three games. Colorado now turns to former Buffaloes TE Jon Embree as the head man. He coached for Colorado from 1993 to 2002 and most recently served as a part of the Washington Redskins coaching staff as a TE coach). Embree has no experience as a Head Coach so it will be very interesting to see how he fares in his first few seasons in Boulder. The other big change for the Buffs is that they are no longer a member of the Big 12. Colorado enters 2011 as a member of the Pac-12 South Division with Arizona, Arizona State, UCLA, USC and Utah. How will the Buffs fit in against their new Pac-12 opponents? This will indeed be an interesting year on and off the field. To get the inside scoop on the 2011 Colorado Buffaloes we caught up with the crew over at Allbuffs.com.

Here are a few words about Allbuff: Allbuffs started as a small community of Buffs fans over a decade ago.  As the years progressed, Allbuffs has become the largest University of Colorado community available on the web, providing up-to-date news and poignant (or sometimes not so poignant, but still hilarious) commentary on CU. Now onto the questions....

 

Jon Embree has taken over for Dan Hawkins. Now that he's been on campus for a few months what is your overall impression of Embree?

There was a lot of trepidation when Jon Embree was hired.  Many fans were pulling for the man who is now the Offensive Coordinator, Eric Bienemey.  Coach Embree’s name had come up when the coaching rumors were floating around (he was the ‘runner up’ when Dan Hawkins was hired), but he was still a relative unknown to Buffs fans.

It didn’t take him long to win many of the fans to his side.  His initial press conference showed the he was going to fix the losing culture at CU.  Dan Hawkins and his ‘everyone gets a juice box’ mentality were gone.  In his place is a leader who is serious about Colorado football.  Coach Embree is a man who is realistic and forthright, who has a plan of returning CU to prominence, who is intense, and above all, a man who loves the University of Colorado.

The last point may be the most important.  It has become clear that Jon Embree knows what it takes to win at CU – a school with a rich history, but a school that also has some financial and cultural limitations.  However, Coach Embree has said a numerous times that he has been working his entire career to get the head coaching position at CU.  Buff fans now know that we’re getting someone who loves the school as much as we do.

More concretely, he has inspired confidence with the fans by hiring a staff that is filled with top-tier recruiters and NFL experience.  He has already upgraded the recruiting department, and CU is now in the mix for top tier talent.  He hasn’t won many of those recruiting battles yet, but CU is right there, and the Buffs will get some of those players as relationships are built over the coming years.

So, we’re seeing it off the field – but the biggest question remains – can this guy win football games?  We just don’t know yet.

 

Tyler Hansen split time with Cody Hawkins at the QB position last year but only Hansen returns this year. Is this Hansen's job or is there another QB on the horizon that will challenge for playing time?

Tyler Hansen is the guy.  Behind him on the depth chart is a RS Freshman, Nick Hirschman.  Nick has some skills as a pocket passer, but is still raw in his development, and certainly didn’t show enough to unseat Tyler in the spring.

Tyler Hansen is a young man who has had a tumultuous career.  He was treated very poorly by the previous coaching staff (his redshirt was burned…. twice), and was subjected to the much discussed QB controversy with the Cody Hawkins.  This year he comes into the position with stability, confidence, and new-found leadership.  He has a nice arm, is quick on his feet, and is extremely elusive inside and outside the pocket.  In the past, he hasn’t had much protection, so he tends to panic – either scrambling too soon, or failing to make all his progressions.  He needs to get better command of the pocket, and not rely on his feet to make all the plays.

I expect he will be more properly used in the pro-style offense that the Buffs are implementing.  A veteran offensive line, a commitment to the run, and a heavy dose of play-action bootlegs should give Tyler the best possible opportunity to succeed.

 

Colorado gave up 30.8 points per game last year. Who needs to step up on the defensive side of the ball this year?

The defense is a bit of an unknown, but the Front-7, and specifically the defensive line, is going to really have to step it up.  Amazingly, the Buffs sent two corners to the NFL last year, including first round draft pick Jimmy Smith.  As such, their replacements are going to be extremely green.

The defensive line is going to be required to do what defensive lines do.  Improve against a mediocre run defense, while also making the opposing QB uncomfortable – relieving some pressure on the young secondary.  The player to watch is perennial under-achiever, but spring standout, Conrad Obi (Senior, DT, 6’3”, 300 lbs).  It all seemed to gel with Conrad and the new coaching staff, as he was a force throughout spring ball.  If he can clog the middle and push the pocket a bit, the defense might have a chance.  If not, then it could be a long season.

 

Who are some newcomers that can make an immediate impact this year?

Tony Jones is the newcomer to watch.  He is an explosive redshirt freshman out of Paterson, New Jersey.  He is another small, shifty, and quick running back for the Buffs (5’7”, 185lbs), but will be spelling Rodney ‘Speedy’ Stewart.  He has excellent vision, and is confident in finding the holes.  If the offensive line can take care of business, then the RB tandem will be potent.

Another player to watch will the true freshman kicker Will Oliver out of California.  To put it bluntly, the Buffs kicking has been pathetic the last two years.  No one seemed to be able to get the job done.  The news right now is that Will has shown the leg and the accuracy to be kicking for the Buffs as a freshman.  God knows Buffs fans hope that he provides some consistency from the position.

 

Looking at the schedule, what are the most important games this year?

Strangely enough, the most important game of the year for the Buffs is their first game of the year.  Colorado travels out to Honolulu to face a tough Hawaii team.  Why is it the most important game of the season?   The University of Colorado hasn’t won a road game in over two years.  They gave up a 24-point fourth quarter lead to a terrible Kansas team last season, in what finally cost Dan Hawkins his job.  This team is pathetic on the road.

Jon Embree realizes this, and has been focusing on the Hawaii game since he arrived.  The team has been talking up the Hawaii game since the start of the year.  This is a game for them to prove themselves.  If they come out and win, it shows that CU is going down a different path.  If they lose, then it will get many fans wondering if anything is really going to change.

 

What is your gut feeling on the final record for the 2011 season and what makes the season successful in your eyes?

I think this team looks better than last year’s team, but a brutal schedule nets them only 5 wins (UH, CSU, WSU, UA, UCLA).  However, recent off-field troubles for some foes play into Colorado’s favor as they have a chance to beat depleted and distracted Ohio State, Oregon, and Southern California.

The season would be a huge success if they can scratch out a bowl game and pull in a strong recruiting class – signaling that they’re ready to return to the national scene.

 

Next Preview: Kansas

Coming in August: Pac-12 Preview

Coming in August: CFBZ Top 25 Countdown

 

2011 Team Previews

ACC- Boston College, Clemson, Duke, Maryland, Miami, NC State, UNC, Wake Forest

Big 12- Baylor , Iowa St, Kansas St, Texas Tech

Big East- Cincinnati, Louisville, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Syracuse, UConn, USF

Big Ten- Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota ,Northwestern, Penn St, Purdue

C-USA- East Carolina, Houston ,Marshall, SMU, Southern Mississippi, Tulane, UAB, UCF

Independent- Army

MAC- Akron, Ball St, Bowling Green, Buffalo , Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Northern Illinois, Temple, Toledo, Western Michigan

MWC- Air Force, New Mexico, UNLV, Wyoming

Pac-12- Arizona , Arizona St, Oregon St, UCLA, Washington

SEC- Kentucky, Ole Miss, Tennessee

Sun Belt- FAU, FIU, Louisiana, Middle Tennessee, North Texas, Troy , ULM, Western Kentucky

WAC- Fresno St, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, San Jose St