The spirit of Sal Aunese has to be smiling somewhere.

Aunese's son, T.C. McCartney, has decided to come home after nearly five years at Louisiana State as a football player and graduate assistant coach under head coach Les Miles to join the program his father once led at quarterback.

Colorado coach Jon Embree offered McCartney the chance to continue his graduate assistant work in Boulder where he grew up and played high school football.

T.C. McCartney, the oldest grandson of former CU head coach Bill McCartney, will officially join the Buffs as an offensive graduate assistant on Aug. 1 when a new NCAA rule takes effect allowing programs to have four graduate assistant coaches, two on each side of the ball. In the past, programs have been limited to two graduate assistants.

2012 CU football schedule

Sunday, Sept. 2 - Colorado State, at Sports Authority Field at Mile High

Saturday, Sept. 8 - Sacramento State at Folsom Field

Saturday, Sept. 15 - At Fresno State

Saturday, Sept. 22 - At Washington State

Saturday, Sept. 29 - UCLA at Folsom Field

Thursday, Oct. 11 - Arizona State at Folsom Field

Saturday, Oct. 20 - At Southern California

Saturday, Oct. 27 - At Oregon

Saturday, Nov. 3 - Stanford at Folsom Field

Saturday, Nov. 10 - At Arizona

Saturday, Nov. 17 - Washington at Folsom Field

Friday, Nov. 23 - Utah at Folsom Field

"That's definitely exciting," T.C. McCartney said. "It was all Colorado football since I was born. That's all I've ever wanted to be a part of so it will be nice to finally get to do that."

T.C. McCartney is the second grandson of Bill McCartney to join the program in the past two months. His half brother, Derek McCartney, signed a national letter of intent with the Buffs in February to play defensive end. Derek McCartney has agreed to grayshirt next fall, delaying his enrollment until January. So the brothers won't actually be on the field and in team meetings together until 2013.

Though they grew up together -- Derek is the son of former CU defensive lineman Shannon Clavelle -- the brothers were far enough apart in age that they never were able to be teammates in any of the sports they played.

"I think it's going to be a lot of fun," Derek McCartney said. "The age difference between me and my brother, like right when I got to high school, he went to college and I just didn't see him as much anymore. I think it will be cool. He will be around more and I'll be able to see more of him, which will be the best part."

Some might say the McCartney brothers returning to the CU program under the direction of Embree is fitting because Bill McCartney not only successfully recruited Embree to Boulder in the early 1980s out of Cherry Creek High School, but he also gave him his start in coaching in the early 1990s, also as a graduate assistant.

Embree said the McCartney brothers earned their positions with the program on their own merits. He said the fact that they hold the program so close to their hearts before actually joining it is just all the more reason to have them be a part of it.

"Obviously you don't have to worry about where their hearts are at," Embree said. "They grew up wanting to be Buffs. So that's always a plus. You know it's going to be important for them to do well and to represent the university and their family in the right way."

T.C. McCartney said he will miss his friends in the LSU program, Tiger Stadium on Saturday nights and the delicious food in Baton Rouge, but the opportunity to return to his roots, be near his family and work with his brother on a day-to-day basis is something he couldn't pass up.

"That is definitely a big part of wanting to come back, wanting to see him do well and be around him and be able to give him some advice after I've played college football," T.C. McCartney said. "Being able to help him out and reach his potential is definitely a positive."

T.C. McCartney said he believes his father would be pleased with his choice. Aunese was the Buffs' starting quarterback in 1988 but was diagnosed with stomach cancer prior to the 1989 season. He died in September that year and his teammates dedicated their season to him. They went undefeated en route to winning the Big Eight Conference Championship and advancing to the national title game in Miami where they lost to Notre Dame. The Buffs avenged that Orange Bowl loss to the Fighting Irish a year later capturing their first national title.

"All I really know is my family in California on my dad's side knows I'm going over there and they sound really happy for me," T.C. McCartney said. "So judging by that I'm sure he would feel the same way. He chose Colorado over a lot of different places. So he felt something special about Colorado and so do I."

Who needs a bubble?

The Buffs did not make use of the practice bubble Tuesday, despite snow and cold rain falling in Boulder throughout the day. Embree said it was good for the team to practice in less-than-ideal conditions because they won't always play in great weather. "The defense was really good today, got some turnovers," Embree said. "It's good for our offense to learn about handling the football when it's wet, quarterbacks throwing it and receivers staying on their feet."