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Hawkins’ Press Conference Recap
Release: September 04, 2007
By: Nick Bernal, Graduate Assistant SID
Photo Courtesy: CUBuffs.com

BOULDER University of Colorado head football coach Dan Hawkins held his weekly press luncheon Tuesday at the Dal Ward Athletic Center. He recapped last week’s win against Colorado State and previewed Saturday’s showdown against the Arizona State Sun Devils. The following are quotes from the session:

 

 

 

Head Coach Dan Hawkins

 

GENERAL—“One of the things that is hard for me, is that by the time you get to Tuesday, last week’s game is so far removed from your consciousness. Obviously, Arizona State only having one game, you do not have as much tape to watch from this year, but you try to look at some things from the past. It’s interesting because people bring up questions about the game and you’re thinking like its last year. So it’s very hard, but in terms of the game it was partly good, partly bad. I thought we did some good things, we had some rough spots, turned the ball over too many times, need to improve  on third down both offensively and defensively; special teams played generally well, defense really struggled putting a key play together as they’d stop them, stop them, [then CSU would] convert. We’d have an issue in there, but once we kind of needed it, in that later stretch of the second half, I thought the defense came back around. Again, one of the things we really try to talk to our football team about is getting better and that takes a certain amount of emotional maturity, but being able to say that game is over now, what do we need to improve upon and lets work on that and lets push on. Getting caught in the highs and the lows is certainly an easy thing to do, but you try to avoid that. I really talked to them before the game about regardless of what happened, let’s learn from it, move on and get better. It is always nice to start with a win. We talked about that before, it’s Colorado State it’s the first game. Given how we started last year...I thought that this was a key week to express themselves and there is a certain level of frustration and anxiety or whatever it is that you carry with yourself. Getting that off your back certainly helps your emotional state. With that being said, it’s only going to get tougher and it’s going to go that way for a while in our schedule.”

 

ON COLORADO STATE—“I think Colorado State is a pretty good football team, they’re going to win some games. They have a tough schedule ahead here, but we played a rival this year and won and last year we played a team that everyone thinks you should stomp and you don’t. So you have two totally different scenarios there, and I think the other difference there is that our guys have really bought into the whole concept of what we’re trying to teach them of ‘Quit trying to win and just be a winner.’ I think that you have a lot more fortified, steely eyed group of guys that go this is the way and I totally believe this is the way to get better. You have to condition yourself to be a finisher, just finish and I think that they bought into that. Certainly, during my recap of the game on Sunday, I went and showed them all of the highs and lows of the game and I go ‘Guys, stuff is going to happen. There are going to be turnovers, there are going to be penalties, there is going to be this and that but it’s a long game and there are a lot of opportunities as long as you’re willing to be a finisher.’  Just a much more fortified group, clearly.”

 

ON ARIZONA STATE—“Arizona State is a really good football team, they really are, and I’m not just trying to over- hype. They have an experienced quarterback who is a very good player; he can run and he can throw it. They have an experienced offensive line that is very talented; they have a running back who is a big, fast guy. They have no weaknesses offensively what so ever. Defensively they are doing a nice job. Craig Bray, who coached here a few years ago, is the defensive coordinator and is very experienced and has been around the block. All that, coupled with playing on the road even doubles the intensity of the thing. We have a lot of things to work on and we have to continue to get better.”

 

ON THIRD DOWN DEFENSE—“It’s always just a glitch here or there, you know it’s amazing you have nine or ten guys doing the right thing and a couple of guys out of whack. We did get four sacks, which in a given game is not bad, but overall we probably need to get more pressure. It was disappointing at times when we got them to run and we weren’t in lanes or weren’t in gaps and let that guy run around a little bit more then you would want and that is just the case of a little wrinkle here or there.”

 

ON HIS EXCITEMENT LEVEL AFTER THE GAME—“Obviously it was a little more on the up side—and down side last year—but usually it’s pretty even keel. I know immediately after the game people were going, ‘You weren’t really jumping up and down’ and I was saying ‘I kind of expected to win,’ but at the same time as I’m walking out there I’m going ‘Ok, it was a good start but we need to get better in these areas.’ I really think you need to think like that for the longevity, I was happy for our guys that we got a win, happy for our fans and all that but you really have to try to not sit around and gloat or sit around and brood because neither one is going to help you. A lot of that too is...you have all these fans sitting here and they’re going ‘Alright we have something to cheer about.’ So, that was a lot for them, it wasn’t so much for me, but it was a lot for them.

 

“I really didn’t want to get up there [on the podium]. I know I’m the head coach and all that, but I was good just having the players up there. I didn’t gain any yards or make any tackles, so it was kind of embarrassing for me a little bit.”

 

ON INCOMPLETION BEFORE THE GAME-TYING FIELD GOAL IN THE FOURTH QUARTER—“I talked to him [redshirt freshman Cody Hawkins] before the play, and it’s either wide open and you’re throwing a touchdown, or it’s covered and you’re throwing it into the stands. There is always a fine line there, and great players always feel like they can make plays.  After it got tipped and 70,000 people went ‘uhhhh’ or at least half of them went ‘uhhhh’ you know Cody was out there giving me [it was so close to being a touchdown]. I do think there is a fine line out there between playing to win and not being afraid to fail. When you go back and look at it on tape, yeah if he does throw it an inch higher it’s a touchdown and it’s not a field goal. So you have to be careful with what you do with a player there. Sometimes it’s like a guy who breaks on a ball and he thinks he can pick it and the guy catches it and you think ‘what are you doing?’ I think you take a little salt out of that guy and I think Cody has a little bit of moxie and is a pretty accurate passer, so overtime you’re looking for experience there. I always tell guys in that situation that if you make it you’re right and if you don’t then you’re wrong and that is just the cold brutality of it.” 

 

ON QB CODY HAWKINS’ PERFORMANCE—“Mixed I guess, I thought it was pretty clean, our offense was pretty clean for most of the first half; very, very efficient. You know that flea flicker that we threw, you would love to have that back, and it was one of those things where [Offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Mark] Helfrich was going ‘We’re doing pretty well on offense, we don’t have to try that’ and he looks to me saying ‘What do you think?’ and I’m saying ‘Run it, run it!’  To me, the mentality of us saying we’re going to do that, adds to it. Now, would you love to have him throw it away, and again he would tell you and Mark would tell you that is touchdown or second down, but again he’ll learn from that. He missed a few throws which is not typical of him, he’s a pretty accurate passer and he missed a few fairly easy throws, but I thought he showed great poise when we had to convert on three third downs on one of those drives and get going. I’d say he had a good start, but still there are plenty of things to learn from.

 

“I know all of this stuff becomes very fluffy, but I think that the great athletes and the great coaches and the great teams understand that there is a purpose and there is a big picture to the whole thing. I think with Cody having been around me, I think that way and his mom, if you’ve ever met her, is even more so then I am. The biggest fear is being afraid to throw it out there, so I think he really relished the whole moment, and I think he is used to it. Some kids are ooh and awing about the stadium and ooh and awing about the police escort and about the crowd and he’s saying I’ve seen this thing a bunch of times. It’s almost a Hoosiers thing, where everything is the same, and I had no doubt that he’d be fine in that arena and he was, he as fine. Again, as you look at a couple of those throws he did make, especially that throw to [redshirt freshman wide receiver] Scotty [McKnight], he got whacked and didn’t even know it was a touchdown until after.”

 

ON THE FIVE STARTING OFFENSIVE LINEMEN PLAYING EVERY SNAP—“We have some of those [young] guys on the ready-ready, and we’ll see, we want to bring them along. We’re in a situation, obviously, where knock on wood, if that happens every week that is awesome, but if somebody gets hurt or gets sick or something and you’re going to have to go to some of those young guys. We’re trying to be judicious about who plays.”

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