There are a ton of jaw-dropping negative statistics and notes being produced by the Colorado football program in the first season-and-a-half under coach Jon Embree.

But after the Buffs endured another beat down on their home field Thursday night at the hands of Arizona State, this one might stand out above the rest.

In nearly five full seasons -- a total of 58 games -- under former coach Dan Hawkins, the Buffs suffered 10 blowout losses by margins of 20 points or more. Under Embree, the Buffs have equaled that total in just 19 games.

Eight of those 10 lopsided losses have come against Pac-12 Conference opponents.

Opinions abound over why the program is struggling so badly in its transition to a new conference and this coaching staff.

Some believe it's a product of Hawkins leaving Embree very little talent with which to work. Others believe Embree and his coaching staff, particularly coordinators Greg Brown and Eric Bieniemy, aren't up to the task because all three men had limited or no previous experience in their current roles before they were hired at CU. And others believe it's a combination of those issues.

To Embree's credit, he hasn't shied away from taking responsibility for the Buffs' poor showings and he also has shown he's willing to adapt as he goes. More of that could be in store during the second half of the season.

During his postgame comments Thursday night, Embree made it clear that he believes his defense is doing enough to win games and he has been disappointed with the inability of the offense to be more productive.


Embree said he planned to meet with his offensive staff Friday afternoon to discuss ways of improving the offense and scoring more points in the second half of the season, which is definitely the tougher half of the 2012 schedule.

In an interview with the Camera on Friday morning, Embree expanded on his thoughts about the need for more offensive production. He said he understands the perception created by lopsided scores is that the defense is the major problem, and he wants to see improvement on that side of the ball, too. But he believes that aside from the 69-14 loss at Fresno State, the defense has played well enough to win this season.

"This conference is an offensive conference," Embree said. "You're going to have to score 30-plus points to have a chance to win. Our defense has given us a chance. (Thursday) night it was 34-17 for a long time and if we can put some pressure on them and do some things offensively, that helps the defense out.

"When you're playing these spread offenses and you're sprinting 40, 50 yards every snap to try to get to the ball, it starts wearing you down. So the combination of us not scoring and three-and-outs, you put your defense at risk. That's exactly what we've done."

It got away from the Buffs on Thursday in the fourth quarter when they allowed 17 points. Meanwhile the CU offense didn't score a point in the second half.

Freshman cornerback Kenneth Crawley said after the game that he believes some of his teammates on defense quit down the stretch against the Sun Devils.

"I feel as though the defense gave up, some players gave up," Crawley said. "They're a hell of a team. They've got a lot of great athletes, but I felt like we should have done better."

Crawley was asked why he thought some of his teammates quit.

"We're down for one," he said. "That's basically it. We was down. ... I know there was some (quit) out there."

Embree and CU junior Parker Orms both said they don't agree with Crawley's assessment that some players threw in the towel. Embree said he believes the Sun Devils' final touchdown was a product of CU defenders not being able to focus after watching linebacker Brady Daigh taken off the field on a stretcher.

Embree reported Daigh had passed all necessary tests and was released from the hospital. He said the sophomore might be healthy enough to play as early as this week.

The Buffs are scoring just 20.6 points per game and are one of the worst rushing teams in the nation averaging 110 yards a game. Embree said those facts must change for CU to be more competitive going forward.

"We've got to look and find ways of how to run the football better," Embree said. "I mean, how many fourth-and-1s have we not made this year? We got to have a way to run the ball and say, 'Hey, we can run this play and get three of four yards.'

"We've got to, as a staff, find a way to help the kids and find a way for us to be able to do that. ... If you look at other scores around the conference at what other teams are doing, you got to get around 30 points, and we're not doing that."

Follow Kyle on Twitter: @KyleRingo