Here's an idea that might put an end to the Colorado football team's trend of slow starts in the 2011 season.

Make the players run on the field in front of Ralphie instead of behind her?

Unfortunately, that would only address the issue for home games, and this week the Buffs are on the road at Ohio State, one of the toughest places to earn a road victory in college football.

Through three games, Colorado coach Jon Embree has been pleased with his team's ability to improve from week to week. But heading into the final nonconference game of his first season as coach, Embree is prodding his team for better results as soon as the game starts instead of waiting until the second quarter or second half to get things going.

The Buffs have been outscored 40-20 in the first half in the first three games and 14 of the Buffs 20 first-half points came against CSU last week. Embree said his team has consistently misfired early in games, despite coaches scripting the first 15 plays, a practice that wasn't done under former coach Dan Hawkins.

“Maybe we've got to get that script changed,” Embree joked Tuesday during his weekly press conference. “Take that second-half script. ...For whatever reason, whether its an errant pass, a dropped pass, a missed read, a missed block, all of a sudden it seems like when we're starting the game we always put ourselves in a negative situation.”

Embree said a good start could be the key to this week's game against the Buckeyes, who have lost at home only five times since the start of the 2002 season. CU will be playing in one of the largest stadiums in college football (capacity 102,329) against a program with a deep appreciation for the kind of physical play Embree has been trying to reintroduce in Boulder.

“It's going to be a physical game,” Embree said. “I told the team the other day 108,000 people or whatever are going to come watch 9-on-7. That's the kind of game it's going to be.

“They're a physical, line up and run it down your throat team. That's something we're aspiring to be.”

Ohio State is coming off its first loss of the season at Miami last week, following a shaky outing the week before against Toledo. On the heels of a controversy filled offseason in which former coach Jim Tressel was fired and quarterback Terrelle Pryor moved on to the NFL after being ruled ineligible for part of the season for accepting impermissible benefits, some Buckeyes fans are down on the program.

“I'm not buying the sky is falling in Columbus,” Embree said.



Embree has been frustrated with his place-kickers kicking the ball out of bounds on kickoffs numerous times in the first three games. He hinted at a solution for the problem this week during his press conference Tuesday but wasn't specific about what he might do. ...