In the process of reviewing all aspects of last week's loss to Washington State, Colorado coach Jon Embree also took a second look at how he responded both inside the locker room and what he had to say publicly in his press conference.
The result could be a less emphatic Embree.
After the Buffs blew a 10-point lead in the final 5 minutes to lose to the Cougars, Embree was asked to share what he had said to the team in the locker room. He said he asked the players, "When is enough, enough?"
It was both a reference to the past five years of losing seasons and the 1-4 start the Buffs are off to this fall. CU has given itself a chance to win in the fourth quarter of three of its four losses but found ways to lose those games instead.
Embree was on the verge of yelling some of his answers to questions at points during his postgame remarks because he was so bothered by watching his team give away a game for the second time this season at home.
"As you guys know being around me, I wear my emotions on my sleeve, especially when you just come off a competition and you just feel like your heart has been ripped out and you see how your players and some of your guys are just devastated," he said. "It's just like if you're a parent and you see your kids hurting. It bothers you. I'll get better with it as I go. There will probably be some pretty boring press conferences, but I'm learning."
As a rookie head coach, Embree said he is still "learning some things the hard way." He said he talked with players again Monday and made sure they understand that he wasn't blaming them entirely for the loss or questioning their effort.
"I'm just asking them when is enough," he said. "What I meant by it is I've been here for five weeks and I'm tired of it. I know they've got to be tired of it after five years. So however that came off to people or whatever with the team I just wanted to make sure they know that I'm not questioning them."
After Monday's practice, Embree said coaches also made mistakes during the pivotal final 5 minutes against Washington State and share equally in the loss. He said both coordinators, Eric Bieniemy and Greg Brown, would make some different calls in the decisive stretch if they had it to do over.
While Embree's fiery and emotional reaction to the loss received plenty of attention by fans and media members, players didn't see it as such a big deal.
"It doesn't affect us at all," senior Brian Lockridge said. "He's a straight shooter. ... He's a straightforward coach and like anything else in the world, you would rather have a guy who is straightforward than a guy who beats around the bush. At the same time, he's willing to go the extra mile to get us better and get us into the position that he wants."
Players also say they haven't been bothered by Embree's comments about an overall lack of talent on the roster or preseason comments that he expected to be an underdog in every game this season. In fact, some appreciate Embree's unequivocal nature.
"He's just keeping it real," defensive back Terrel Smith said. "There is no sugarcoating nothing. That's what I like about him. He gets straight to the point and tells us how it is. That's what we need. We don't need no one telling us, 'Oh, it's OK to lose.' ... He's putting his foot down and saying he's going to be honest with us. That's what we appreciate the most."
Fifth-year senior defensive end David Goldberg said the kind of honest appraisal the Buffs receive from Embree and the current assistant coaches will eventually help make the difference in close games like the Cal and Washington State games. It already has made a difference. Goldberg said the Buffs are very close to being a 4-1 team instead of a 1-4 team.
"Coach Embree is an honest guy and I wouldn't want it any other way," Goldberg said. "He tells it how it is. I'd rather have somebody who is going to say how it is and tell you what you need to work on and tell you where you're good and bad versus someone who is just going to pat you on the back and say it's OK. You're never going to get better unless someone tells you what you need to work on."