CU Buffs football coach Embree says decision day is Wednesday
By Kyle Ringo Camera Sports Writer
08/09/2011 08:36:53 PM MDT
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Colorado coach Jon Embree was full of surprises Tuesday during the sixth day of fall camp and the first with two-a-day practices.
Embree announced his starting kicker would be true freshman Will Oliver following the morning session and he spent a good five minutes giving his team a serious tongue lashing after a lackluster afternoon practice. While chewing out his team, he informed players that he plans to sit down with his staff following Wednesday's practice and decide most of the 70-man travel roster for the season opener at Hawaii.
It was a sharp dose of reality for players who might have thought they would have several weeks and at least one or two scrimmages to prove they deserve a seat on the plane. Wednesday's morning practice ought to be the most spirited of camp.
"It wasn't good enough. That's not giving us a chance," Embree said, describing what annoyed him Tuesday. "These guys are getting activity confused with productivity. They think because they're moving around they're doing something. That's not how we work around here."
Embree said he expects to have the travel party for the Hawaii game 85 to 90 percent finalized Wednesday, with injuries being the most likely factor to knock a guy off the team plane and earn another player a seat.
"Like I told the players, I'm not one of these guys who going to just sit around for three weeks and then try to figure out who can do it," Embree said. "You don't get all day to show that it's important to you. The guys we have that have shown its important to them and are in their books, those are the guys we'll go with until they prove otherwise that they can't do it."
The news likely surprised some, but it wasn't unexpected or unnerving to fifth-year senior defensive end Josh Hartigan.
"Guys shouldn't be surprised," Hartigan said. "He's been saying it for awhile now that we're going to figure out who is going pretty soon and he wants guys to show up."
Backup quarterback Nick Hirschman missed both practices Tuesday and will probably be out for a week to 10 days because of an ankle and foot injury. He has been ruled out of Saturday's scrimmage. Coaches expect him to be ready for the season and to serve as senior Tyler Hansen's backup this fall.
Quarterbacks coach Rip Scherer said he has been impressed with Hirschman so far in camp.
"I think Nick has done a heck of a job and really made progress," Scherer said. "He's probably made a bigger step from the end of the spring to now than Tyler has to be honest with you, but he had further to go. I've been very pleased with him.
"The challenge we have is we've got to find a third."
Harrington to redshirt
True freshman cornerback Sherrard Harrington has missed much of camp because of a hip injury and won't be able to return to the field for at least 4-6 weeks. Embree confirmed the plan is to redshirt Harrington, a speedster from the Washington D.C., area.
Embree said he doesn't know when Harrington was injured or if it is an injury he sustained in high school. He said Harrington described it as "hip tightness." It is not expected to require surgery.
Fellow true freshman Woodson Greer, a linebacker, also is likely to redshirt. Greer has been practicing in non-contact work as he continued to recover from shoulder surgery in the spring.
Praise for O-line
While Embree was still fuming following his post-practice dressing down of his team, he was asked about the competition at center. The question seemed to calm him. He praised offensive line coach Steve Marshall and said centers Shawn Daniels, Daniel Munyer and Gus Handler all have their strengths and have enjoyed good moments to this point.
"I've got to say this about that group," Embree said of the line. "They've come to work. Marshall has done a good job. I like the toughness up front. It's not right all the time, but they compete hard. And when something happens, it's not so much mental mistakes, it's just getting beat. I can live with getting beat."
Welcome, please pay your fine upon leaving
CU parking services has been issuing parking tickets to fans who park in the dirt lot just outside the practice fields this week. All practices through Aug. 19 are open to the public and the athletic department has invited fans to attend. So it has been an unwelcome surprise when those fans return to their cars after practice to find they have been ticketed.
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