Former Colorado defensive lineman Matt McChesney has had enough of watching the program he poured his heart into for five years become what he called a “disgrace” and “the worst program in the nation.”
McChesney, who hosts a radio show weekday mornings on Mile High Sports (AM 1510/FM 93.7), spoke out Monday and used his Twitter account (@SixZeroStrength) throughout the weekend to share his thoughts on the state of CU football following the Buffs' 69-14 loss to Fresno State.
McChesney said he believes at least some of the Buffs quit on the field Saturday against the Bulldogs. He said changes need to be made and he believes there is a real possibility the Buffs will go winless this season for the first time since the program's first season of football in 1890.
“I wasn't the best player in the world, and I'm not saying I was,” McChesney said. “I wasn't the best player in the NFL, but I have eyeballs and I was around great players and good coaches, and I've been in successful situations and I've been in situations where we've failed. And I know the difference between effort and quitting, and they quit and that is a direct reflection of the coaching, but in actuality, it's on the kids. These guys have to figure out what's important to them, and if it's not important to the seniors, then how can they ever expect the younger guys to buy in?”
McChesney was asked what immediate changes he would make if he were in charge at CU?
“If I was in charge, Greg Brown would be fired today,” McChesney said of the Buffs' defensive coordinator. “They are not responding to his coaching whatsoever. I mean, I don't even see effort anymore. That just goes to show me that they're not responding.”
McChesney said CU coaches should be trying to simplify things for the players, because CU is often over-matched physically. After Saturday's loss at Fresno, coach Jon Embree said that is exactly what he and his staff tried to do and it didn't work.
McChesney said the Buffs were still doing things against the Bulldogs that didn't make sense to him, such as dropping their best pass rusher, Chidera Uzo-Diribe, into pass coverage at times.
“We constantly put our guys in unwinnable situations,” McChesney said. “What are you supposed to do when your coach is putting you in situations that you're not comfortable in and then you're getting beat? There is no success to fall back on, I guess, is my point.”
McChesney said he is not calling for Embree to be fired, and he is not happy to be criticizing Embree and offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy publicly. Both coaches were assistants at CU under Gary Barnett during McChesney's career. He said he remains hopeful that they can turn things around, but he does believe changes need to be made somewhere.
Following the loss to Fresno on Saturday, Embree said he had no plans to make changes to his coaching staff.
McChesney said he knows Embree and Bieniemy care deeply about the program and want to make it a winner, but he has serious questions about what he sees on the field. He is a season-ticket holder and, while he claims not to be an expert, he was a regular contributor during his career and he played for four different NFL franchises over five years.
“I'd like to give Embree and E.B., the benefit of the doubt, but it's really hard for me to do that after 69 points to Fresno and losing to Sac State and losing to CSU, and then having to look at our conference schedule the way we do,” McChesney said. “I mean, I don't see a team that we can score a touchdown on let alone win. They're going to all score 60 points on us.
“I'm not going to blame Dan Hawkins. I'll tell you that. I'm not going to be that guy who just blames the old coach. This is Embree's watch. It's his responsibility.”
When asked about McChesney's comments after practice, Embree said he was not aware of them and hadn't heard from the former Buff.
"It would be nice if he would call and tell me that," Embree said. "That's disappointing that he can't tell me. He has my numbers. That's just interesting that he couldn't do that. I guess that's who he is."
CU plays at Washington State this week.
McChesney said he was one of many former Buffs affiliated with Buffs4Life, a charity founded by Embree, who put heavy pressure on CU to hire either Embree or Bieniemy as head coach two years ago. He said it might have been a mistake.
McChesney emphasized that he was speaking for himself.
“Maybe they shouldn't have listened to us,” McChesney said. “If it was really Buffs4Life pushing for the coach, and we got the guy that we wanted, then we were wrong, or I don't know if we made the right decision. I'm starting to doubt everything, and that's not a good thing.
“Honestly, if I ruffle some feathers, good. Good. Any emotion at this point from the alumni base, to the coaches to the players is a good thing. And if they have to point it at me to be the (person) who talks the truth, then that's fine.”
McChesney said there is only so much coaches can do. He said at some point players have to take responsibility and that starts with the seniors who are supposed to be the leaders. He said he is aware there are only eight seniors on the roster this year, but he refuses to allow that to be an excuse.
“I'm calling out the seniors on this team, the Jon Majors, the Will Pericaks, those kids,” he said. “In my opinion, they should bench them. Don't let them play. If we're talking about the future, then start playing kids who are going to be here. These guys have had their chance. They've had their chance to do something, just to play hard, or at least fool all of us into thinking they were playing hard, but they quit.”
Later, speaking about the whole team, McChesney said, “It comes down to the leadership of the players. If any of those kids are not embarrassed about going to class today, or embarrassed about showing their face, then there is a fundamental problem.”
McChesney said if changes are not made, the program will continue “to slide down the mountain of irrelevancy.”
“I'm a (expletive) nobody,” McChesney said. “I played there for five years, and I had a cup of coffee in the NFL for six years. If my feelings and my reaction stirs up all this controversy then people need to pull their head out and evaluate what's really important. What is this, a (expletive) feelings contest?
“If you're making $700,000 a year, you better be able to stand the heat, whether it's from a CU alum or not. If people want to sit there and criticize me for telling the truth and for having the (courage) to stand up and say what they're thinking, try and defend 69-14 and losing to Sac State. I'd love to hear this.”