DENVER -- Colorado coach Jon Embree continued to discuss the importance of restoring traditions lost under former coach Dan Hawkins on Thursday during the program`s annual recruiting luncheon.

Embree informed the crowd of more than 1,200 fans and boosters at a downtown Denver hotel of a challenge he issued to his team the first time he met with players back in early December.

He asked them to beat Hawaii in the season opener on the road next season and offered a piece of history as a reward if they come through.

The victory would end the program`s 17-game road losing streak that dates back to October 27, 2007, but that isn`t the historic carrot dangling in front of current players.

On a wall in the hallway just outside the Buffs locker room, there used to be about 40 cinder blocks painted gold with black writing displaying dates and scores of big wins in the program`s history. The tradition of painting those bricks was started by former coach Bill McCartney in the 1980s.

Hawkins painted over those bricks as he did so many other traditions held near and dear to the hearts of former players in an effort to put his stamp on the program. Embree is acutely aware of how annoyed former players were by the move when they visited the Dal Ward Center in recent years and has promised to bring back the wall of big wins.

But he won`t do so until the current Buffs provide a big win to be added to the wallfirst before the other victories are restored to their rightful place.

Embree has identified the Hawaii game as the target and he encouraged former players in the audience Thursday to remind current players of the challenge whenever possible in the coming weeks and months leading up to the Sept. 3 game in Honolulu.

"There have been a lot of great traditions around here that got swept under the rug and they`re coming back," Embree said. "We`re going to start with one of the things that means a lot to a lot of the former players in here.

"... As a former player, you like to go back in that building and see how many bricks you put in that wall.

University of Colorado football coaching staff Darian Hagan, left, Brian Cabral, Bill McCartney, Jon Embree, and Eric Bieniemy chant the CU fight song at
University of Colorado football coaching staff Darian Hagan, left, Brian Cabral, Bill McCartney, Jon Embree, and Eric Bieniemy chant the CU fight song at the end of the University of Colorado Football Preview Luncheon on Thursday, Feb. 3, at the Hyatt Regency Denver Convention Center in Denver. For a video of the event go to www.dailycamera.com Photo by Jeremy Papasso ( Jeremy Papasso )
 You had pride in that. So here is what I told the team, former players. You want those bricks back up? We have to earn one."

Embree said if the Buffs win at Hawaii the bricks will be restored in time for players to see them on the wall at the first home game of the year the following week, tentatively scheduled to be against California.

"... When we win a brick, all your bricks come back," Embree said. "So when you see the players, you remind them to get that brick on the wall."

Schedule tweak?

Speaking of the Hawaii game. CU is in discussions with ESPN and Hawaii about the possibility of moving the game up several days to Thursday night Sept. 1 and making Embree`s debut the first, or one of the first, college football games of the season in front of a national television audience.

CU officials aren`t discussing the move yet because it is only a possibility at this point.

Scott brings gift

Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott returned to Colorado for the first time since a June press conference at Folsom Field to announce the Buffs were joining the league. Scott spoke briefly at the luncheon and brought Embree a gift -- a Pac-10 baseball cap.

Salaam returns

Colorado`s only Heisman Trophy winner returned to a school sponsored event for the first time in nearly a decade.

Rashaan Salaam addressed the crowd and shared a bit of personal history. Salaam read aloud a letter he wrote as part of the application process to get into a private high school in the San Diego area about 20 years ago.

At one point in the letter, he predicted if given the opportunity, he would go on to college and "probably win the Heisman Trophy." ...

CU officials said 67 people paid $250 each to have their photos taken with Salaam and the Heisman outside the ballroom where the luncheon took place. More than $75,000 was donated to the athletic department by the end of the luncheon.