When he wasn`t hiring a coaching staff, recruiting new players or meeting with members of his current roster this winter, Colorado football coach Jon Embree was usually holed up somewhere watching film of the Buffs in 2010 and trying to identify problems he would need to correct in 2011.

Spring practices begin Friday at 4 p.m., and Embree met with reporters Wednesday afternoon to answer some questions and provide a preview.

It became more of a review.

Embree was straightforward and honest when asked what his film review of the Buffs` 5-7 season told him.

"What shows up to me on tape was we didn`t play hard," Embree said. "That`s really what showed up on tape. We let the scoreboard affect how we played way too much. Instead of focusing on the next play. You can`t look at the scoreboard. Your job is to beat the guy across from you that play no matter what happened good or bad before it."

Colorado produced a fifth consecutive losing season and former coach Dan Hawkins was fired, leading to Embree taking over at his alma mater in early December.

Embree`s instincts following player interviews and film review tell him he needs to make things tough on the Buffs this spring to find out who really wants to be a part of the program and who doesn`t.

He said he doesn`t plan to install much of the offensive playbook this spring because he wants players understanding their responsibilities and playing with confidence and no excuses.

He said he plans to teach players how to practice this spring so they know what kind of effort and attention to detail will be required of them in the fall and beyond.

"If you throw a lot at guys and it takes them awhile to pick it up, then you may not get your best players," Embree said. "I want to see who can play and then we can go back and teach them and get it going."

Embree said scoreboard watching and not giving 100 percent at all times weren`t the only issues that came through on film.

"We`re awful at situational football, at understanding what the situation is," he said. "So we will start that this spring. We`re starting it the first practice about understanding the situations and what it means and why you have to do certain things and think. We don`t know how to play the game within the game. We just showed and played last year. It`s like recess."

One game film irked Embree most. Not surprisingly, it was the final game Hawkins coached. The Buffs surrendered a 28-point fourth quarter lead at Kansas and lost.

Embree said his players had the misfortune of him watching that game film on the same morning of a team-run day. He said they paid the price even though the game had been in the books for months.

"If you`re up that much, and the coaches were kidnapped and it`s just the team out there playing, you`ve got to find a way to make one play, make two first downs on offense, make them kick the ball one dang time. Just make them kick it once," he said.

Embree said his primary focus in reviewing film of last year was too see who played hard and who didn`t. He looked most closely at effort and body language. But ultimately Embree says every player will start with a clean slate this spring.

He said there are no starters or reserves at the outset. He issued a depth chart with players listed at their positions alphabetically.

"I tried not to over-evaluate because if you do and you go in with too many opinions, then you`re not really going to let guys compete like they need to compete," Embree said.

Notable

Embree said the Buffs will use a 4-3 as the base defensive scheme but they will also change looks at times and adjust to what opponents do offensively. ... Mike Iltis, Shawn Daniels, Anthony Perkins, Parker Orms, and Chidera Uzo-Diribe are expected to miss some or all of spring ball recovering from injuries.