Scouting Colorado

While Colorado was averaging less than one yard per carry, they were giving up more than five yards a rush against Hawaii in the season opener. That stat is a killer because it gave Hawaii a lot of short-yardage situations on third down. As a result, Hawaii was 50 percent on third down conversions and was also successful on its one fourth-down play…

Jon Embree isn't dwelling on his first loss, but instead planning for his first win.

The former Colorado player made his coaching debut at his alma mater in a 34-17 loss at Hawaii on Sept. 3. The Buffaloes were shut out in the first half and could not catch up in the second half. Embree had few good things to say after the loss but by Tuesday he was ready to move on to play California in the home opener on Sept. 10.

"I can shake it, I'm over it," Embree said. "It is hard after you lose for me to talk about positives, but I have put it behind me. I'm ready to go for Cal."

The Buffs will need to be ready after losing 52-7 at California last year, but Embree was not around for that game.

"I don't buy into a revenge factor because it is a different team, a different staff," Embree said. "It is a big game for us because it is the home opener and it is big because it is the next game. That is what I am talking to this team about. They have to learn to focus and play the game at hand."

Embree is looking for a better effort against the Bears than he saw last week. "I hope you see a significant amount of improvement," he said. "One thing I was disappointed with were the penalties, lots of self-inflicted fouls. I expect to see an improvement in how we start and how we play overall. I think we will tackle better. With the nature of our schedule, we have to get better every week."

Embree said he also expected to see more out of quarterback Tyler Hansen, who was 16 of 30 for 223 yards with two touchdowns and an interception against Hawaii.

"I didn't feel like Tyler was Tyler on Saturday, he did not play like he did all through camp," Embree said. "I'm excited to see what he does this Saturday if he plays like we think he is capable of playing."


--In the five games played between Cal and Colorado, the lead has never changed hands. The team that won scored first and never trailed in the game.

--Redshirt freshman Daniel Munyer and sophomore Gus Handler split duties at center at Hawaii and Embree said he expects both to get playing time again this week against California.

--True freshman Stephane Nembot was being considered to play immediately on the defensive line this year, but those plans changed this week. Nembot has been moved to offensive tackle and he will redshirt as he learns the new position.

SERIES HISTORY: California leads Colorado 3-2 (last meeting, 2010, 52-7 California).

SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: Colorado must get more out of its running game than it did last week against Hawaii. Rodney Stewart had 52 yards rushing, but needed 18 carries to reach that mark for an average of less than three yards per carry. Quarterback Tyler Hansen was the only other player to run the ball and he ended up with minus-35 yards thanks to seven sacks. That all adds up to 17 yards on 28 carries and less than one yard per carry. Stewart is a big-play back, but did not run for more than 12 yards on any play so he needs to get more running room and the Buffaloes need to find another back or two to give him a rest.

SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: While the Buffaloes were averaging less than one yard per carry, they were giving up more than five yards a rush against the Rainbow Warriors. That stat is a killer because it gave Hawaii a lot of short-yardage situations on third down. As a result, Hawaii was 50 percent on third down conversions and was also successful on its one fourth-down play. The Buffaloes need to be better against the run when they play Cal to force them into longer conversions on third- and fourth-down or else it could be a repeat of last season when Cal scored 52 points against Colorado.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "We have to get ready for Cal. We don't have any choice. That's whose coming in. They whipped our butts last year. We just got to go. We need to get better." -- Colorado coach Jon Embree.


THIS WEEK'S GAME: California at Colorado, Sept. 10 -- Being at home should be a plus as Colorado does not have to hear about its 18-game road losing streak this week and instead brings the confidence of going 4-2 at home last year. However, the Buffs likely do still carry some scars from a 52-7 loss at Cal last season.

KEYS TO THE GAME: Colorado needs to get off to a better start in its home opener than it did last week against Hawaii. The Buffaloes were shut out in the first half while falling behind 17-0 at halftime. The game got off to a shaky start with a fumbled snap on the first play and it did not get much better until the second half. Colorado had only 61 yards in the first half, including seven on the ground. Another slow start will almost certainly lead to another deep deficit against Cal. That was the case last year when the Bears took a 31-0 halftime lead against Colorado in Berkeley.


QB Tyler Hansen -- For the first time in his career, the senior is the unquestioned starter at quarterback for the Buffaloes. He went 16 for 30 for 223 yards and two scores in his season debut at Hawaii. Hansen did all that under pressure from the Hawaii defense that sacked him seven times. He moved up to 10th on the school's all-time passing list with 3,045 yards.

RB Rodney Stewart -- The junior was the only running back to carry the ball against Hawaii and gained 52 yards on 18 carries. He had a big day receiving with four catches for 98 yards. The receiving yardage was a career-high and his 52-yard reception was his longest with the Buffaloes.

K Will Oliver -- The true freshman, ranked as the No. 31 prep kicker in the nation last year by ESPN, showed no nerves in his debut. The 18-year old connected on a 34-yard field goal and made both of his extra points against Hawaii.


--Left tackle David Bakhtiari suffered a sprained left MCL in the first quarter against Hawaii and is listed as day-to-day.

--Connor Wood, a quarterback who transferred from Texas, is expected to enroll at Colorado and join the team for practice this week. He must sit out this year under NCAA rules. Top Stories