The 2011 team hosts its first home game this week against California, which is where two members of the 2010 CU coaching staff landed after being fired along with former coach Dan Hawkins.
Former offensive coordinator Eric Kiesau and former secondary coach Ashley Ambrose were on the CU sideline last season when the Buffs traveled to Berkeley and were trounced 52-7. They hope to help the Bears reprise that performance Saturday in the thin air of Boulder.
Kiesau, who came to CU from Cal in 2006, is in his second stint with the Bears under coach Jeff Tedford. He is once again coaching wide receivers and serving as passing game coordinator.
Ambrose is coaching the Cal secondary after serving one season as the Buffs secondary coach and two others as an intern in Boulder.
While the schemes are different this season at CU under coach Jon Embree, Kiesau and Ambrose are very familiar with the players on the Colorado roster and their abilities. Knowing what throws CU quarterback Tyler Hansen struggles to make and what route combinations CU defensive backs have had trouble against in the past will serveas a small advantage for the Bears.
But Colorado also has a coach who switched sidelines in the year since these teams last played. Offensive line coach Steve Marshall will probably be a big help to CU defensive coaches this week.
Other former Buffs coaches and players will return to Folsom Field with opponents later this season.
Former offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich, who served in that role for three seasons under Hawkins will return to Boulder with Oregon in October. Former CU wide receivers coach Ted Gilmore, who spent the past six seasons at Nebraska, is in his first season coaching USC wideouts this fall. The Trojans play a Friday night game beneath the flatirons Nov. 4.
The most emotional return this season will come in mid-November when former CU safety Ryan Walters travels to Boulder with Arizona on
Nov. 12. Walters is one of the youngest assistant coaches in the nation in the Bowl Championship subdivision. He is in his first season as secondary coach for the Wildcats.
Walters' father, Marc, also played for the Buffs in the 1980s. He was a senior in 1986 along with CU head coach Jon Embree.