BOULDER - Coach Dan Hawkins sat down with the media Tuesday for the weekly press luncheon and discussed many things about the Buffs squad, the upcoming game with Missouri, the state of the program and much more.
"We knew Kansas State was a good football team, and they proved that. It's interesting, you come off a really good Kansas win, and then you come off a road win, I know some of the media guys have talked to me about being surprised about the parody, and I am really not. A lot of things can happen in a season, so that's why you just try to keep your head down and keep going. You've got some teams that have lost a couple, some that have lost more than a couple, some that have won a couple but there a lot more games to be played. I think the one thing we've done every week and every year here, is trying to plan, do and evaluate. We were a little slow on defense, we held them to a field-goal, then got going on offense and scored a touchdown, then a dearth of action for a long period of time. There are definitely things we need to clean up; we talk to our guys about the margin of error and it doesn't have to be perfect and it's not going to be perfect, Kansas wasn't perfect. But you can't have the succession of whether it is execution, turnovers, penalties or special teams; you have to be a bit cleaner than that. I think part of it again is our young guys learning this a little bit, the pressure of competing, the pressure of performing day-in and day-out, game-in and game-out, and knowing how and when to shut the door and make sure that you're performance gets to that level where it's beyond reproach."
"Your back gets a little closer to the wall, but I think all the things we want to accomplish and hope to accomplish are still there. But this is a big week for us, obviously. These guys [Missouri] have gotten after us the last few years, and we need the fans to come out and support us like they did against Kansas, it is a huge momentum thing for us. We feel good about a lot of things, we really do, I know the play has been a little inconsistent to say the least, but I think our recruiting is going well, we're going to have a big weekend this weekend, a lot of great players are going to be here, I think we have to add some juice in some spots, but I like that. I think defensively we've made some good progress, the same team that played Kansas State and Toledo is the same team that played Texas and Kansas. We're just continuing to iron that stuff out, we're doing better on sacks, doing better offensively and defensively in the red-zone and on third-downs, which is always really positive."
On Tyler Hansen
"Tyler is our quarterback, we're good with him, the team is good with him, I'm good with him, Cody's good with him, we fully support him and he's going to be the guy. We really want him to be a full-time player and we're working towards that. Again, I think what happens with us is the margin of error is so darn small we haven't had a lot of games in this four-year span where we have had a lot of breathing room, in anything, so we are trying to play that as close to the vest as we can, but again, we are very supportive of Tyler and what he is doing and trying to get him in the game for the full 60 minutes and let him run the show."
On Dealing with Losses
"My deepest darkest moments are a hard deal, and I am probably as hard on myself as anybody, but that being said, we continue to work through it. Has it taken longer than we expected? Yes, probably. Have we made some mistakes along the way? Yes, I've been making mistakes for 27 years, but we continue to learn from them and grow from them and I think we're doing a nice job with that. I think it's hard for the fans, it's hard for me to think about that in year four we are young and I think it's a combination of things. I think it's because we only have about 11 seniors on the team, we've lost some guys along the way, and for a variety of reasons there too. I really feel strongly about what we're doing and I think if you talk to the players they like what's going on and I think they feel good about what's going on. They are just as frustrated about not winning games just like we are. We just have to continue to strive for a bit more consistency, we are continuing to work on leadership and work on road-games, but like I said, the staff is very positive, the players continue to work hard and I like our guys. We are a very young team and with that being said, there a bunch of kids we are red-shirting who I believe are going to be very good players when they play next year but I love our guys, I love coming to work, I love coaching. I think with our staff, with our team, with our players, it has been awesome, I think we have learned a lot, both about Colorado and the Big 12 and I think we just need to continue to put it together."
"If I had to start this thing all over again, I would probably do some things differently, but the base culture of it, not at all. If you look at our values and our principles about what we're demanding of people as men, as workers, as students, as football players, that is the stuff of championships. Why didn't it happen in year one? Or year two? Or year three? Guess what? There is still an opportunity for it to happen in year four, as strange as that may seem, there is still an opportunity."
On Coming Together as a Team
"We are right there and there are a lot of pieces in place. These guys just have to keep growing, growing- up and learning. The old guys have to teach the young guys on the road, we just have to firm it up a little more. When you beat Kansas, everyone wakes up; they don't come sleepy against Colorado anymore. I believe in what we're doing and how we're doing it. Our staff gets in there every week and re-creates it and rebuilds that culture and we work long and hard just like everyone else does. We can grow, we can move, but we have to have our fans here this weekend and get going."
On Road Mentality
"It's a combination of process, mentality, and knowing there are a lot of factors there. Knowing that nobody is going to cheer for you, things are going to go against you and you have to understand that. You have to go out there knowing everybody is against you and wants to see you fail and you have to have the technical and spiritual resolve and say not today."
Email 1 to Dan Hawkins-Parent of Recruit
"Hey man [Coach Hawkins]; I was just thinking about the game [vs. Texas], sitting right behind the team in a game like that is really about as good of a look of a program as you can get. We all came away very impressed with the class of the program, how your coach handled kids, how Coach Hawkins works with his players, he really cares about them and it is obvious. Cody [Hawkins] made the university and his family very proud with how he handled himself late in the game. The players were first class in how they behaved. I know you don't take much out of a loss, but I wanted to tell you we saw your program from a perspective in a front-row seat in a difficult game as a parent of a recruit, you should be very proud, I hope you guys can turn it around and head in the right direction because we would love nothing more for good people to have success when it's not always the good people that do."
Email 2 to Dan Hawkins-Former Player at Boise State
"I hope everything is going well for you, I saw you recently got a big win against Kansas. I am currently getting my teaching certificate in physical education to coach in high-school. I finally found something that I love to do to fill the void after football left. The transition from not playing football was really tough; I found a new love for teaching and coaching. I've taken tips from you [Coach Jeff Pittman] and Coach Hawkins when I am coaching. I have learned so many things, not just about football, but about life and that is the same approach I am taking when I am a coach. Tell Coach Hawk and Coach Pitt I say hi as I look back on things I realize just how great you guys really are at coaching."
Email 3 to Dan Hawkins-Anonymous
"Dan Hawkins has shown extraordinary grace under pressure and is worthy of my admiration. As a coach, as a man, as a father there is so much to admire in his demeanor and attitude. Yes, this isn't intramurals, this is Big 12 football but the values being taught in adversity are so much more lasting than players that come from winning in the short term with compromise. Coach Hawkins is teaching the lessons to all of us about what it is to live a life that is accountable in public. I would be proud to have Coach Hawkins be a part of our brand, win-or-lose, as three hours on a Saturday afternoon is a small sub-plot in a much larger story. He represents everything we value and please let him know we have his back now and always."