Jon Embree doesn't leave the Colorado football practice fields with a hoarse throat nearly as often as he used to.

Nearing the end of his first season at the helm of the program he once played in, Embree doesn't have to do as much yelling anymore.

Players used to frustrate him to no end in spring and summer practices with so many mistakes and too much uncertainty. Embree and some of his assistants could be heard voicing their disapproval halfway across campus.

Embree has seen improvement in slow, steady doses from the Buffs throughout a difficult season filled with more injuries than the program could ever hope to absorb.

The Buffs finally produced a victory over a Pac-12 opponent last week, leaving Embree feeling like his players finally grasped the level of effort and intensity he needs from them every week.

As the Buffs prepare for a trip to UCLA this week, Embree said he believes the Buffs have started to adopt his character and mentality on the field and off of it.

"I do feel like it is starting to do that," Embree said. "I do believe as a position coach and as a player, that your players reflect you and I do see that in our team. They are having fun now."

Embree recalled a moment in last week's win over Arizona when he noticed the difference some of his players on offense.


During a timeout as the Buffs waited for a play call with the ball deep in Arizona territory, offensive linemanEthan adkins approached Embree and told his coach when the offense scored on the next play, some of the players planned a brief celebratory dance -- "the 'Bernie' from Weekend at Bernie's."

The Buffs scored and danced just as Adkins predicted. Embree said it was something the same players never would have been bold enough to do when he first began coaching them last spring even in the summer or the early weeks of the season.

The moment was pure Embree.

The coach first caught players off guard back the spring when he would occasionally tell the defense what play was coming before the snap, challenging them to stop it and the offense to execute perfectly so it couldn't be stopped. Players have gradually become accustomed to those moments as the year as gone on.

"For them to come and say that to me and some of the things like that, that was how I was like as a player and as a person," Embree said. "I'm out there and I want to let you know what we are going to do and then I want to do it. That is just how I am. I believe in reaching success and obtaining things, you have to say it. If you want to win a championship, then you have to say, 'I expect us to win a championship,' and then you have to go and do it.

"I think every team that has done it and has had that success, that is what they have done. You don't just sit there and sneak up and get in after the fact. If you believe in something so strongly that you say it, then all of your actions that you do from that point forward have to be to get success in those goals."

Embree was excited to see his team playing with more confidence. He wishes it would have happened sooner for the members of this year's senior class, but at least he didn't have to wait through another offseason.

The Buffs have two games remaining in Embree's first season and he said his top priority aside from winning both games is making sure that they continue to build on the confidence it took them so long to find.

"I want to see them continue to play with the passion and energy and enthusiasm as they have played with the last couple of weeks," he said. "The USC game, we just couldn't consistently sustain it. I want to see them continue to play that way because that is how we have to be every game next year. I want to see them do that. I want to see those kids continue to have success and have fun."

Making history

Colorado wide receiver Paul Richardson needs six more receiving yards for this season's team to make history. The Buffs have never had a trio of receivers each accumulate 500 or more yards receiving.

Richardson has 494 yards receiving entering Saturday's game. He would join Toney Clemons who has 528 yards and Rodney Stewart, who has 525 yards. 

Richardson was the Buffs' leading receiver earlier in the season, but he has been slowed by injury. He posted a message to his Twitter account on Thursday saying he has been slowed after tearing his MCL. He had been listed on the CU injury report as having a sprained knee earlier in the year. He is on the injured list this week with a concussion and is day-to-day.

Buffs honored for

academic prowess

CU defensive lineman Will Pericak, a product of Boulder High School, and defensive back Travis Sandersfeld were named first team members of the Pac-12 Conference academic All-Conference team on Thursday.

Pericak already has earned a degree from CU and is on schedule to earn a master's degree by the end of his senior year next year.

Defensive linemen Nate Bonsu and Tony Poremba and defensive back and kickoff returnman Justin Gorman were named second team members, and offensive linemen David Clark and Daniel Munyer earned honorable mention status.