Jon Embree is well aware of what is at stake. He knows there are a few wrinkles he needs to iron out, thanks in part to the thrashing the Buffs received from Hawaii this past weekend.
“We have a tremendous task in front of us,” Embree noted at last Tuesday’s press conference.
This Saturday, the Buffs (0-1) will face the California Golden Bears (1-0), their first matchup against a team from the Pac-12 this season. Like Colorado, the Bears haven’t had any recent success with their football program, but they shouldn’t be taken lightly. Cal got off to a slow start against Fresno State last Saturday, but once the cobwebs were shaken off, bounced back to win 36-21.
Embree and cast will be taking on a Golden Bears team that had no trouble picking the Buffaloes apart last season 52-7, demolishing them on national TV. Having reviewed the footage several times, he wasn’t at all impressed by CU’s effort in that performance, with their lack of effort being his key concern.
“I don’t feel we competed very well last year,” remarked Embree. “I felt like we were hoping, waiting for the clock to run out to get off the field. That’s what it looked like watching it.”
Senior defensive tackle Conrad Obi had a different take.
“I think the effort was there,” he said. “I don’t think we executed at all. All the things we wanted to do, we didn’t do. Guys got loose, missed tackles. The effort was good, the effort was there.”
With the disappointment of the loss to Hawaii and the memory of last year’s game against Cal already at the back of their minds, the Buffs are ready to move forward and continue paving way for a new chapter.
“We put too much work into it to fall into old habits,” said Obi. “As a senior I’m not gonna let that happen. I’m not gonna let guys give up.”
Colorado will continue to run the ball as planned, hoping that senior running back Rodney “Speedy” Stewart will give them the running game they so desperately need. Stewart did the majority of the ground work for the Buffs against Hawaii, with 18-of-28 carries for 52 yards. With a good running game cemented, senior quarterback Tyler Hansen will have a chance to open up the passing game.
The performance of Colorado’s offensive line will be the determining factor in getting the offense in sync. A poor performance against Hawaii allowed for Hansen to be sacked seven times.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Buffaloes will be taking on California’s junior quarterback Zach Maynard. Maynard threw for 266 yards and two touchdowns against Fresno State, and ran for 55 yards on the ground. While Maynard is nowhere near the caliber of runner Bryant Moniz is, he can still damage the Buffs on the ground.
Luckily for the Buffs, Maynard is a mediocre passer. He only completed 16 of his 35 passes with one INT against Fresno State. Colorado’s secondary did well, holding Hawaii’s passing game to only 178.
If the Buffs can click on all cylinders offensively and defensively, Cal will have a formidable foe in CU.
The Buffaloes will take on the Golden Bears Saturday, September, 10th, at 1:30 p.m. at Folsom Field.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Shay Knolle at email@example.com.