Trimming the fat

On future road trips this season, Colorado coach Jon Embree says it's possible he will take a small roster of only 56-60 players instead of the 70 allowed. This week against Washington State fans can expect to see fewer Buffs on the field throughout the game. What's Embree up to here?

Speaking with reporters after Monday's practice, Embree said after giving his team's performance at Ohio State last week some thought, he had made the decision to start playing more starters on special teams and stop rewarding people who don't contribute with seats on the Colorado team plane.

Embree said if he has to manage his roster like an NFL coach who is allowed only 53 players, he will do so until other players prove they can play at a high level and be trusted on Saturdays.

Embree is taking the action in response to four games worth of evidence that many of the players on the current team are getting beaten on special teams by opponents with more speed and strength.

It was never more apparent than following Monday's practice that Embree has realized just how far there is to go in recruiting to fill the holes he has up and down the depth chart.

"It just reconfirmed what unfortunately you saw live happening on the field," Embree said of his film study of the loss at Ohio State. "We're in a little bit of a difficult situation but I think we're just going to go with out guys. I know part of our issues with special teams is we don't have depth on our team period. So you don't want to lose Greg Henderson and expose him as the only corner you have left. We're just going to put them all out there. There will be a lot of starters playing on teams from here on out. We just got to see if we can weather the storm."

During interviews after the OSU game and again Monday, Embree has done his best not to throw players under the bus or pin all the team's problems on a lack of ability. But make no mistake, that is the assessment from all the coaches of the current state of the program. There simply aren't enough players with the athletic ability to compete at this level on the CU roster. Sure, guys are capable of taking the field and playing for 60 minutes, but there is not enough of them who are capable of dominating the man across from them, which means CU fans are pretty much assured of another long season.

You have to read between the lines at times with Embree, but when you do, the truth is usually there to be found.

"We're asking guys to run 30 or 40 yards to get blocks," Embree said explaining his team's problems returning and covering kickoffs. "So sometimes they're not able to do that. That's where you get holding and block in the back cause you get outrun. So that is the issue on the returns. Coverage is a similar type thing. Part of your coverage is predicated on you being on a certain yard line when the ball is caught.

"If you're not there, if you're not at that yard line, then that gives the return team more time to set up and get blocks and the returner more time to read and find the seam. So that's probably the falring issue that if you look at it, it shows up."

BuffStampede Top Stories