Jon Embree doesn't know when or if Will Pericak will be selected in the NFL draft next spring.
Colorado's head coach only knows that the former Boulder High School standout shouldn't be finished playing football after this season.
"Will Pericak has had a heck of a year so far. Will Pericak has done a lot of really good things," Embree said at his Tuesday press conference. "He's a guy that's going to play on Sunday."
The CU staff, which has an impressive amount of NFL coaching experience, believes Pericak can play defensive tackle at the next level in a 4-3 defense. But they feel the versatile 6-4, 285-pound prospect is better suited for defensive end in a 3-4 scheme.
After playing inside against Colorado
"I've got to have a good season and that's really all I'm focused on," Pericak said when asked about Embree's NFL projection. "I'm focused on having the time of my life playing college football. ... Doing that is going to create the best opportunity to play at the next level. Whatever happens, happens."
Pericak will be grilled by scouts about being a Type 1 Diabetic and how that impacts his football life. It's an issue the fifth-year senior is happy to talk about publicly if it can serve as motivation for young people with the disease.
"It's definitely a curve ball you're not expecting," said Pericak, who was diagnosed at age 15 when he was a freshman at BHS. "It has forced me to kind of watch what I do eat and know what I eat. And also the differences in how exercise affects blood sugar and how to stay on top of that and in control. ...
"Football has kept me in shape and to be as healthy as I can. It's an extra step I've gotten used to."
Respect for (real) refs
Embree said he is consistently engaging in respectable dialogue with officials during CU's games. Besides the horribly blown calls, a lack of respect for the replacement officials in the NFL has the CU coach concerned about the future of the sport at its highest level.
"Can Mr. Roger Goodell's hand reach this far and get in my pocket?" Embree said with a smile when asked about the controversial lockout of NFL officials and the performance of their replacements.
No, the commissioner can't fine college coaches. Embree was an assistant with the Kansas City Chiefs and Washington Redskins before returning to his alma mater.
After working late preparing for Saturday's game against UCLA, Embree did catch the final play of the Seattle-Green Bay Monday Night Football game that many Americans are talking about.
"I could not believe it. It's just crazy," Embree said. "It's the best game out there, the NFL. It's the best league, it's the best game going. I think what people will understand when they do get it fixed is just how good those guys in the stripes (the locked out NFL officials) are. They're the easiest target, but those guys get it right a lot."
Celebration time, come on?
Speaking of penalties Embree doesn't agree with, Josh Ford was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct after coming off the sideline to celebrate a touchdown in the fourth quarter at Washington State.
After the 15-yard penalty on the kickoff, CU allowed a 56-yard return that set up a field goal for the Cougars to make the score 34-28.
It only added to the drama as CU marched down for the winning score, a 4-yard Jordan Webb touchdown run with nine seconds remaining.
"It didn't bother me," Embree said of Ford's penalty. "The funny thing to me is Parker Orms was the first one down there. Parker was also the first one to get back before Josh, so Josh gets the penalty."
The Buffs could be getting some important players back from injury this week. Linebacker Doug Rippy (knee) plans to play for the first time since getting injured in the Sacramento State game.
Starting center Gus Handler (ankle) is listed as questionable. Defensive tackle Josh Tupou (concussion) and linebacker Paul Vigo (concussion) are day-to-day.
Only free safety Ray Polk (ankle) and center Brad Cotner (toe) have been ruled out for this Saturday's game.
"You start getting some key pieces back, that will also help you," Embree said.
"It looks like Oregon has gotten faster, which is disappointing," said Embree, who watched the Ducks' 49-0 win over Arizona on CU's flight home from Spokane. Wash. "I don't know where Chip (Kelly) gets it, but he's got it rolling."
Jim Mora, a CU assistant from 1968-73, will be in Boulder to on Saturday as part of the 1970s reunion. His son, Jim Mora Jr., is UCLA's head coach. ... The Buffs are 16-4 all-time during Family Weekend (originally called Parents' Weekend). ... The last seven times the Buffs opened up conference play with a win they went on to make it 2-0.
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