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Ryan Miller was born and raised in Littleton.

The senior left tackle's hobbies include camping, playing the drums, line dancing and flying kites.

Stephane Nembot is from Douala, Cameroon.

The freshman defensive end's hobbies include watching television sitcoms, art and Tai Chi.

Thanks to Colorado's new locker room structure, the two very different big men on campus have a lot to discuss.

"One of the first things I did when I got here is blew up the locker room and changed it around," first-year head coach Jon Embree said. "Walk-ons, seniors, freshmen, black kids, white kids ... I just moved it all around so we didn't have any cliques. And I'll do it again after this season done."

In recent years, the locker room was organized by position groups. Embree is hoping the camaraderie will spread throughout the roster and help the Buffs get through a difficult 13-game schedule, which kicks off in eight days when CU plays Hawaii at Aloha Stadium.

"We're not going to have the best talent, but we can be the best team. To be the best team, you have to know each other and trust each other," Embree said. "They seem like they like each other. I guess we'll find out when we hit some adversity just how tight we really are."

Miller said the chemistry reminds him of his Columbine High School team that beat Mullen in the 5A state championship game when he was a senior.

"Right now I sit next to Nembot and Juda Parker. It's a different dichotomy," Miller said. "It's awesome getting to know different guys. You would know them before, but you wouldn't necessarily have that every day conversation."

Of sound body

After Thursday's practice, the head coach said the Buffs are physically ready for Hawaii.

"We were banging and getting after it," Embree said. "Guys are pressing a little bit, and I can tell we're getting closer to the game. We're trying a little too hard to be perfect, instead of just trusting the technique and doing their job.

"I'm happy where we are from a physical standpoint. Now we have to get the details done with our assignments and the mental aspect of the game."

The Buffs will have some contact on Monday, but for the most part the focus is on staying healthy and mastering the game plan.

Kickoff luncheon

The Boulder Chamber's annual kickoff luncheon will be held at noon today in Balch Fieldhouse. Embree is the featured speaker. 

Individual tickets and tables for 10 are still available through the athletic department website.