Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Quick Post: Mac weighs in

Legendary coach, leader of men, and all-time great Buff Bill McCartney jumped back into the boiling cauldron of disquiet yesterday afternoon.  It's the second time in a week that he's spoken up in an attempt to quell the anxious masses.  The message both times has been two fold: 1) Coach Embree is the man for the job, and will eventually get this thing turned around. 2) BuffNation needs to remain loyal, and give him the time he needs to right the ship.

"When you get disappointed, when you get frustrated, you want to bitch and moan, and whine and complain, and want to see how many you can attract.  Well, I want to take the opposite perspective, and talk a little bit about loyalty."

Mac hit all the high points.  He talked about his early career struggles with his win-loss record, he talked about the damn sign in the meeting room, he even went through Coach Embree's resume and qualifications (as if the man's character was ever in question).

I've always had trouble with Coach Mac.  His faux-preacher pomposity grates on me, but, then again, I'm not a religious man, and that very pomposity is part of the reason why.  I guess I'm just not his target audience.  Give me a speaker willing to talk to me as a man, rather than a soul to be saved.  Nonetheless, every time he's dragged onto a podium to tell me how I'm going to Buff Hell for this or that, my brain automatically shuts off. ("Be a good Buff, or spend eternity listening to Plati talk politics."  NOOOOOOOOOO, I'll be good from here on out!)

I was reminded halfway through the speech of Matt McChesney's quote from Monday: "Pride swallowing is the best way to approach this. [...] Pride is really hurting the Colorado Buffaloes."  Coach McCartney's speech Tuesday was all about pride, specifically pride in the institution that he helped build, and is currently helping to sustain.  Coach Mac, and a large chunk of his legacy, is tied to the success or failure of Coach Embree and his staff.  He pushed for Embree, made the deal happen.  Without Coach Mac's boosterism in the late fall of 2010, Coach Embree is still coaching tight ends in Washington, D.C.  I can't help but wonder if that pride of self could blind him to larger issues...

I'm not yet ready to write off the Jon Embree era.  I certainly am not stupid enough to ask for his head 16 games into his tenure.  But to bombastically run around as if character alone will turn the program around strikes me as absurd.  You don't lose 69-14 in Fresno simply because of rebuilding.  The team, with some notable exceptions, quit, and that is a structural problem that needs immediate addressing.  The problem is on the field, not in the stands (although, if any Buff fan wears powder blue at the UCLA game, I'm going to flip).

Coach Embree did make one concession to the masses Tuesday.  He announced plans to move offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy from the box to the sideline in the hope that his fire and intensity can effect change on gameday.   
"I don't know if it helps, but, I do know this: I've always been a hands-on type of individual. I've always fed off of energy. My job is to make sure our guys are holding themselves accountable in detail and in work, so I want to make sure I can get a feel for what's going on and grab a guy here and there and talk through it."   
Fair enough, hopefully it works.


Aaron Jordan said...

I don't think it's time to throw in the towel with Embree yet. I see/hear a lot of people already talking about mid-season firing of Embree, and I think that is crazy. Even if Embree is 100% the problem, firing him so soon, especially when we know the CU Donors aren't ready to fork over for a big name coach (especially when we need to spend that money on other things) is going to hurt the program even more.

The bottom line, I think we need to give Embree at least 1 more season. If anything, it will just get some more girth on the roster for the next coach to win with. If we get rid of Embree at the end of this season, they next coach is going to have the same problem and be starting a bunch of true freshmen.

RumblinBuff said...

I mostly agree. Embree certainly needs to finish the season. A mid-year firing in year two of a college coach's career is beyond absurd. The only reason would be an external cause (abusing players, breaking the law, massive ethics violations, etc). Outside of those factors he's finishing the season. If we go 0-12, however, he may not get a 3rd.

Just saying, but his buyout would be cheap compared to Barnett/Hawkins... Also, the AD has the money now, just would rather spend it in other places.