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Hawkins’ Press Conference Recap

Courtesy: Nick Bernal, Graduate Assistant SID
Release: September 25, 2007
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By 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 game against Miami (Ohio) and previewed Saturday’s showdown against the Oklahoma Sooners. The following are quotes from the session:


Head Coach Dan Hawkins


ON OKLAHOMA—“They are really good. There are no real weaknesses; they can throw it, they can run it, they are big up front, they’ve got speed, they have receivers, running backs. same thing on defense, they are big and fast. They have a very good kicking game, all the way around: kickers, punters, returners are very solid all the way around. They are one of those teams that when you watch them, typically you don’t do this much at this level anyway, but you don’t look at anybody and say ‘Oh I bet we can get this on that guy.’ There is none of that here. They are a very complete football team.”


ON DOING WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL—“Again, a lot of it is just being as efficient as possible. To some degree you look at things like if the quarterback throws you the football, you catch it. If you’re supposed to block that guy you block that guy. You need to do the things that are within your control and certainly, there have been enough opportunities for us around here in the past couple of years to be able to do that. That is really what we focus on.”


ON PLAYING GOOD TEAMS—“Certainly you play teams that are of that caliber, the Georgias and to a certain extent the Florida States, you learn to accept it because that is just the way it is.  There aren’t a lot of weaknesses in those kinds of teams.”


ON OKLAHOMA POTENTIALLY BEING THE BEST TEAM IN THE COUNTRY—“Yeah, there just aren’t a lot of holes there, with Oklahoma there are none. It is hard to say sometimes because I haven’t sat down and watched a lot of Florida tape or a lot of SC (Southern California) tape.”


ON LEAVING POINTS ON THE FIELD—“Obviously, the one long run that (freshman TB) Brian Lockridge had came back; we had an opportunity to score right after halftime when (junior WR) Pat (Williams) fumbled then (redshirt freshman QB) Cody (Hawkins) threw his second pick as well as his first pick. Those are the things you continue to look at and you say we had opportunities to score or get into position to score there and we didn’t. Again, that is just a case of us needing to be much more efficient in what we’re doing.”


ON MAIAVA AND MILLER’S FIRST PLAYING TIME—“He did a nice job, (freshman OL) Kai (Maiava) played really, really hard; he really did, and so did (freshman OL) Ryan (Miller). I was really pleased with both of those guys. I think it was great for them to get in and get their feet wet and get some action. I think that is great for those guys in practice too, because they understand the pace of the game and what it takes to be successful.”


ON WHETHER CU CAN BEAT OKLAHOMA—“Totally, anybody is beatable and anyone can beat you. I’ve just been doing this for too long, I mean Montana State can beat you and you can beat SC. You have to play efficient and you have to do things right. You can’t leave stones unturned; you have a field goal attempt you have to make it. You can’t turn the ball over and we’re having those issues. You have to play clean, but can Appy (Appalachian) State beat Michigan? Yeah.  You can win and you can lose on any given Saturday.”


ON BOISE STATE BEATING OKLAHOMA—“Haha, well, you know, the funny thing about that game is, that was a heck of a game obviously. But they attempted to try some other things in that game, but they didn’t work and nobody really knows about that. Those do stick out.”


ON OKLAHOMA’S MIND SET AFTER LOSING TO BOISE STATE—“I’m sure it did a lot for them. In the early days, we had a game like that at Boise where we call it the helmet pass. We were driving to beat LA (Louisiana) Tech and we threw the ball off a kid’s helmet and it got picked. We ended up being second in the conference and we didn’t get to go to a bowl game. The first place team and the third place team went but we were second and we didn’t go. I know that provided a lot of fuel, in the off-season for guys’ workouts and I know that (Oklahoma) Coach (Bob) Stoops has been around long enough that he knows that you’re going to have set backs but you can use that thing as some energy and you come out swinging a little bit harder in everything you do.


“It is one of those cases, where he (Stoops) knew Boise had a good team but he also knew that the whole thing that happened before the season was a little disruptive and (former OU RB) Adrian Peterson getting hurt was a little disruptive. Then, what I told him, and people didn’t make a lot about was when (WR) Malcolm Kelly went down in that game, he was kind of their one serious big-time threat and he went down in that game too. Now, you’re basically saying it’s (playing without your best) quarterback, tailback, receiver in a game like that. I thought he did a pretty good job given the hand that he was dealt.”


ON OKLAHOMA QB SAM BRADFORD—“He got in there early which helped him, spring ball helped him. hen he has a great complement of people around him, great receivers, great tailback, great o-line. I think that they have been in this game long enough that they have done a good job of bringing him along with the package. Early on it was being more efficient and lower risk throws and as he got seasoned they have been able to do more with him, but they have great people around him so that helps.”


ON PLAYING A TEAM LIKE OKLAHOMA—“Totally, if you’re the right kind of coach and the right kind of team, then that is what you want to do. You want to play against the great teams; I told our guys that I think it is awesome that four out of our five games we’ve been on national TV and playing great football teams and that is why you do it.”


ON OU BEING THE HOMECOMING GAME—“I don’t know. It is interesting because...I think that the whole spirit of Colorado is being revived and that has been great. Our crowds have been tremendously awesome in our two home games that we’ve had here and obviously Invesco as well. You hope that you keep adding to that; I don’t know if in football any players’ heart is a notion of lets win this game because it is homecoming. Especially because of the fan support we’ve had in the first two football games anyway.”


ON PLAYING OKALHOMA IN 2006—“We got off to a slow start; if you remember right they scored on the first drive and I think it was a little bit that our guys were taking a little while to feel out. Obviously (former LB) Thaddaeus (Washington) had a great game; I thought that (Defensive Coordinator) Ron (Collins) called a great game. Fortunately we were able to do some things to limit their running game and not give up big plays. Unfortunately, again, it’s like the Florida State game when your offense isn’t answering, after a while it is tough on your defense. We had the ball on their side of the field after a fumbled punt and turned it right back over to them and then it’s 10-0 late in the game. The offense just didn’t have any answers.”


ON LB NATE VAIOMOUNGA —“The guy has a great motor, and as you guys well know, if you look at the depth chart we don’t have a lot of linebackers. He plays hard, he plays fast; again he is like those guys (other linebackers) but he is young and he’s going to make some errors that way but he is a tough, physical guy who has a great motor.”


ON LB RJ BROWN’S AVAILABILITY—“He won’t be able to go this game, no.”


ON OTHER INJURIES—“I think they’ll be good, we’re having one of those years where everyone is getting a ding but we feel like they’ll be ok.”


ON TURNOVERS—“Turnovers, turnovers. We have not done a great job on offense in limiting turnovers, but we have not done a great job of creating turnovers. We have gone through a lot of games where we haven’t gotten any fumbles, and we have some interceptions because T-Wheat (CB Terrence Wheatley) has some interceptions but we need for guys, when they get their hands on the ball, to catch it and get the ball back. I think the whole idea of modern day defense is not to stop them it’s more to get the ball back. That is the job, so we need to force some fumbles and get some interceptions.”


ON CU’S DEFENSE—“It is just repetition, part of it comes along through repetition and there is also what I like to call the ‘buy in,’ where guys start to think ‘If I do that, it’ll happen.’ What we had a lot last year, is that guys want to compensate for somebody else, where they say I saw that guy come open so I thought I should cover him, rather then doing what they’re supposed to do. Once they learn to have confidence in doing what they’re supposed to do and trusting that everyone else is going to do theirs, then it exponentially increases. It’s like anything else, you have some glitches and some confidence issues, some doubt issues and that creates more. It goes back to the whole winning begets winning and our guys have confidence in the system and confidence in the guy next to him and know that they can stop people and play well on defense.”


ON LACK OF LINEBACKER DEPTH—“There is not a lot that you can do. Depending on what happens down the stretch and how things pan out, you may play some more dime and nickel types of things and be more encouraged to get into those situations where you get into 11-and-10-guy personnel and passing situations where you might be more inclined to go into dime and nickel personnel rather then base.”


“It’s doubtful (that former linebackers like Joe Sanders or Maurice Cantrell would move back to linebacker). I mean all things are possible but that is doubtful.”


ON TE NATE SOLDIER—“Yeah, Nate is a really smart kid. Very talented, he can run; you don’t see a lot of 6-8 guys running down on kickoff, but if you watch him, he can really run. I always say that if you are 270 and have six percent body fat that is pretty amazing. I think as he continues to get confidence and grow he is really going to be a dynamic player. He is really smart and a high achiever and when he makes a mistake he is a little harder on himself then he should be and I think he is learning to work through that.


“His grades are awesome, and I think he wants to go into some sort of biology and research and he is kind of geared that way. But playing tight end is hard, because there are a lot of conceptual things and you’re in a lot of different spots. When you are used to getting A’s on all your tests and then on your first test you don’t get one, you kind of glitch out a little bit and it is just getting him to realize it is like golf where you just have to relax sometimes to get it all to work together.”


ON THE RUNNING BACK SITUATION—“I was really pleased with how all of those guys turned it up a notch, they got north and south, ran a little harder and were a little more physical that way.  You will probably see a similar lineup on Saturday in that way.”


ON TB BRIAN LOCKRIDGE—“I don’t know, there is no question that healthy competition is good. I was not a very good player but I remember when I was playing I had a guy breathing down my neck and he never took a play off. Now you got a 100 on the test, you never took a play off, you caught every ball, you never fumbled and you were never hurt because you knew you didn’t want to be Wally Pip.”

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