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Q+A with The Ralphie Report Regarding Cal-Colorado Football Game

The season is rolling on and there's no time to rest.  We got another big game tomorrow.  Cal.  Colorado.  Cal's first Pac-12 game!  Kinda.  Sorta.  Not really.  

Last week, Hawaii took it to Colorado.  New coach Jon Embree must have been stunned that new OLine coach Steve Marshall's players were surprising ineffective.  A Hawaii defense not known for its power totally dominated the Colorado offense.  Can Cal match or even surpass that level of dominance?  I sure hope so.  Controversial, I know.  

To find out more about the upcoming Cal-Colorado game, we talked with The Ralphie Report.  They are SBNation's  go to source for everything Colorado-related.  Bob at the Ralphie Report was so fortunate as to return our beautiful questions with perfectly written answers.  Everything you need to know about the Colorado team, especially if you want to know more about their coaching staff.  Plus, they put together a guide to Boulder for visiting fans!

So, please join me after the jump to see their answers.  Here are our answers to their questions.  Tell us your thoughts in the comments.  Are these guys woofing too much like that Fresno State blogger?  GO BEARS!

1. What are your thoughts on Steve Marshall?

I think the offensive line has a long way to go after the Hawaii game but after one week of college football, I don't have much of an opinion on any of our coaches. It is still too early to judge especially with a brand new staff. Colorado's starting LT David Bakhtiari was injured just seven offensive plays into the game so the Buffs were playing three offensive linemen who had never had a collegiate start before in LT Ryan Dannewitz, C Daniel Munyer/Gus Handler and RT Jack Harris. Hopefully with a game under their belt, the offensive line will improve.

2. How is the post-Kiesau offense looking so far? Has the playcalling changed dramatically?

The offense in week one had 240 total yards, 17 net rushing yards and gave up seven sacks so again, a little hard to comment with any positivity. I wasn't disappointed in the playcalling, more so the execution of the offensive line. Bieniemy will most likely end up being an upgrade over Kiesau when it is all said and done. The past few years with Kiesau as a coach, the Buffs finished 79h (2010), 104th (2009), 95th(2008) and 72nd (2007) in total offense.

3. After having such success at Boise, what happened with Dan Hawkins? How has Coach Embree changed things? How long do you think it will take Embree to put his stamp on the program?

This could be a five page response so I will summarize as best I can. Player development and preparation always seemed to be a struggle under Dan Hawkins. The Buffs never improved under Hawkins, they always seemed to regress typified against California and Kansas last year where teams in their fifth year under a coach shouldn't be thoroughly embarrassed like Colorado was those two days. Other things that went wrong under Dan Hawkins:

-A streak of 18 consecutive road losses

-One of the most penalized teams in the country

-Bottom three offensively in the Big 12 conference every year

According to the new coaching staff, Hawkins also seemed to lack discipline and failed to demand things from the team on the field. Embree spoke early on that the team's attitude needs to change and that many didn't have the correct amount of respect to play division one football at the University of Colorado. One of things that Embree has done is instill that intensity, demand players work hard to play on the team and provide this team with goals.

Players have also spoken about how they now know what the game plan is under Jon Embree on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. Under Hawkins, players felt they were running five different styles of offense whether it was the spread or a pro set or power football. I think Embree has brought consistency and a "NFL style" of football back to Boulder. Sure, I would have liked to say all of this with a win against Hawaii last week but I do believe Embree will right the ship. But it won't be an overnight turn around. This team needs a lot of help especially in the speed and depth department, both of which will take some time to fill.

4. Cal had two 100 yard receivers on Saturday, for the first time in 4 years. Meanwhile, Colorado gave up approximately 846 sacks and had their running game stuffed against Hawaii. Is it fair to say Cal got the better end of the Kiesau for Marshall trade?

Apparently the demotion from offensive coordinator to wide receivers coach helped Kiesau. It probably didn't hurt that he inherited Keenan Allen and Marvin Jones either. Like I mentioned above, it's a little a bit early to be grading any of the coaches on the CU staff quite yet. We'll give them a couple more games before making that call...

But seriously, I wish Kiesau nothing but the best at Cal, seems like a nice guy just didn't work out in Boulder.

5. The Colorado defense was really aggressive against Hawaii, calling frequent 5 man blitzes. Will that be standard for a Jon Embree defense, or was it just to counter Hawaii's run-and-shoot offense?

Cool, a non coaching staff question! I don't think I have answered three questions about position coaches ever.

I think Embree wants to be aggressive and get to the quarterback. I believe if they can't generate a pass rush with the front four/three, they will bring extra players from the linebacker position. They were probably a little more aggressive last week against Hawaii because the Buffs were breaking in two new starting cornerbacks including a true freshman and didn't want to leave them on an island.

The CU defense for the most part played well. If you would have told me beforehand that CU would hold Bryant Moniz to 178 yards passing, sack him five times, cause a turnover and hold the Hawaii running backs to 46 yards on 16 carries, less than three yards per touch, I would have said the Buffs win. Bryant Moniz, who only had 102 yards rushing all last season, torched the aggressive defense for 120 yards on the ground.

6. Do visiting opponents have trouble with stamina due to elevation? Or is ~24 hours enough to get used to it?

Folsom is always a tough place to play for visiting teams. Last year, Colorado wore out teams like Hawaii and dominated the second half. Growing up in Colorado my whole life, I don't know if it is 24 hours or 48 hours to get used to but I think altitude does have an impact in the second half on teams, especially ones that aren't deep.

7. Who is the player Cal fans should know about on the offense?

I usually say RB Rodney Stewart but until the offensive line figures it out, I would have to say WR Paul Richardson. The sophomore caught two touchdown passes against Hawaii to start the season. He was named All Big 12 Freshman Offensive Player of the Year last season even though he really only saw meaningful action in seven games. He is a very talented receiver who is expected to do big things in Boulder for the next three years.

8. Who is the player Cal fans should know about on the defense?

LB Jon Major is someone Colorado fans are expecting to take his game to the next level and have a big year. The Buffs lost two of its better linebackers from 2010 in Michael Sipili, Colorado's leading tackler, and B.J. Beatty, one of the guys who could provide pressure on the opposing team's quarterback. Colorado has a few players to fill in for Sipili and Beatty but none have proven themselves like Major.

Last year, Major sprained his MCL in the seventh game of the year against Texas Tech, causing him to miss the rest of the season. Before he was injured, Major led the team in tackles with 57, averaging 8.1 per game. Even missing the last four games, he finished fifth on the team in tackles. He was one of the most consistent Buff defenders when healthy, registering five 8+ tackle games in the seven contests he played in.

9. How often does Colorado replace Ralphie? I suppose he can't live forever... (by the way we are jealous and wish we could bring a live bear onto the field before each game)

We are on Ralphie V. The tradition of running behind the buffalo started in 1967 so about once every 10 years a new buffalo is brought in. Ralphie V currently weights 1,200 pounds and runs up to 25 mph. Here is a really good summary of the Ralphie with a ton of details.

10. Who do you most want to punch in the face? (inb4 Steve Marshall)

Everyone at Texas A&M for doing all of this "I'm moving to the SEC" during the season.