Buffs embrace challenge of ending streak

Dating back to 2007, Colorado has lost 18 straight games when leaving the state. The Buffs look to end that streak Saturday at Hawaii.

BOULDER - Colorado's football team has lost 18 straight road games.

It's a fact. And, first-year head coach Jon Embree isn't hiding from it.

The new coach, in fact, has no problem talking about the streak that has haunted CU since 2007.

"I think it's important that they understand what's in front of them," Embree said Tuesday.

"We talk about tradition, we talk about legacy, we talk about a lot of things for this senior class. It's important for this program that we end that (losing streak). It's important for these kids and this program that they know it's not OK to lose 18 in a row. They need to know that when we end this streak, it'll never happen again. And the classes that follow will have to know that it will never happen again. We're not going through that.

"The only way you get that point across is to talk about it. If you don't talk about, you're pretending something hasn't happened, you're pretending something is not there. I'm not afraid of it and they're not afraid of it. They understand the challenges in front of them and looking forward to it."

The streak includes 16 true road games, a neutral site game against Florida State in Jacksonville, Fla., and a neutral site bowl game against Alabama in Shreveport, Louisiana. Since November of 2007, every time the Buffs have taken an airplane to a game, they've come home with a loss.

So, with the Buffs set to board a plane for Hawaii on Thursday, they aren't shying away from the streak. They're setting their sights on ending it Saturday against Hawaii.

"It's something we know about and we've talked about as a team, and it's something we have to take care of right off the bat, which is good," quarterback Tyler Hansen said. "It's best for us to get rid of it quickly."

Embree stressed Tuesday that the trip to Hawaii is a "business trip."

"The only beach they'll see is when they land and take off," he joked. "It's a business trip. So, (to enjoy the sites) they either need to get married and have a honeymoon there or maybe we go back there for a bowl game. It's not about the beach."

CU players talked the same way about the first road trip of 2010, to Berkeley, Calif. The results weren't pretty, as Cal handed the Buffs a 52-7 loss.

So, what's the magic answer? There isn't one, but Embree will try to find the right formula.

"I've really tried to not discuss the past," Embree said. "(Former head coach) Dan Hawkins did what he felt was best and gave him and gave the team the best opportunity to win. I'm going to do the same for our program.

"We have to be comfortable when we go into another place. Part of being comfortable is understanding there's going to be some disadvantages and embracing them. Understanding the locker room may only have room for 30 and everyone's going to have to double up. Whatever it is."

Embree said the players need to understand the dimensions of the field are the same in Hawaii as they are in Boulder - or anywhere else. From there, there's no sense in worrying about other factors, he said.

"I don't care if we're playing on the moon. It's all the same," Embree said. "That's got to be your mindset. It doesn't matter where you play. If we're not in Folsom Field it doesn't matter. We prepare the same way for every road trip. And that's got to be our mindset if we're going to end this thing. You can't get caught up in the surroundings, the circumstance, the weather ... we're going to play Washington (on Oct. 15). Guess what? It's probably going to rain. I don't care. It's 53 yards wide, 120 yards long, that's all that matters."

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