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Dan Hawkins Weekly Press Conference
Release: October 07, 2008
By: CUBuffs.com
Photo Courtesy: Associated Press

University of Colorado Athletic Director Mike Bohn

Opening Statement

“Good afternoon, we wanted to take an opportunity to make an announcement today. We are excited to announce the extension of the contract associated with Dan Hawkins, our head football coach, to go through the 2012 football season. Obviously, Dan has brought respectability and pride back to CU, at a time when that was much needed.  I think it’s appropriate today that we talk about an extension for Dan, after two losses; because really, restoring respect and pride back to the entire university was really more important than wins. We really believe the wins will come and they’ll come in abundance as this program continues to grow and really match the world-class status of the institution, so we’re excited to do that today. Again, we’re proud of the contributions that Dan brings to our players and these young men in the next 40 to 50 years of their lives. His principled results, his work ethic, dedication, commitment, and passion are really unparalleled and incredibly contagious. We are honored and proud that Dan is our coach and we’re excited that he’s excited about it.”

On the Process and Aspirations for Extending the Contract

“I think it really comes down to the process, because it actually started this summer with the approval from the Regents, then going through the legal process to get it all put together. It’s always important to show progress, commitment, and keep continuity in your program. I think, for example, in our league alone you look at the coaches that are very, very successful. Starting obviously with Oklahoma and coach Stoops there, with his continuity and what’s he’s been able to establish in his program. At the same level, Mack Brown winning a national championship and what he’s doing at Texas, and keeping that going. Then you look at the Missouri program and see what they’re doing; the fact that they haven’t had any changeover in their entire football coaching staff in eight years, yet alone with Gary [Pinkel] being the head coach. So those are models that make a lot of sense and models that we want to continue to aspire to ourselves, and I think it’s important to continue to show progress and let our coach and his staff know that we appreciate what they’re doing, and he’s excited to continue to lead the program as well.”

On the Incentives Associated With the Contract Extension

“Basically the incentives change across the board, but we’re committed to an incentive based model and that’s what we’ve put together for all of our coaches who are on multi-year contracts. So that’s important to continue to keep the continuity with that together, so we’ll increase the amount associated with academic performance, community service, community outreach, things along that line. We added a couple of new [incentives] associated with number of wins and things along that line. But again, that keeps the integrity of the agreement together.”

 

Head Coach Dan Hawkins

On Securing a Contract Extension

“Everybody else seems to worry about that more than I do. The way I was raised, you have to show up, put your boots on and go to work every day; that’s how you put food on the table.”

On the Difference in Kansas' Play This Season to Last Season

“They’re still very good. They have a nice offensive package. Todd [Reesing] is playing well, they have a good running game, they’re good, they’re a really good team. We’re pretty similar because they have a lot of guys back. They have some depth in there and some experience, and like I said, they’ve been operating and know how to run their systems.”

On Kansas’ Offensive Line

“I thought they were pretty good last year, and I think they are doing fine this year. I know they had some good people that they lost, but I think they’re doing a nice job this year; they’ve been very productive.”

On Former QB WR Kerry Meier Adapting to WR, and His Play with QB Todd Reesing

“He’s one of those guys that’s smart and knows what’s going on and has a great feel for where to get on his routes. He’s a good athlete and then he has the intangible part too, where he’s really smart and he’s a baller. He’ll run routes and he and Todd will be on the same page and they’ll be able to adjust just enough to find a crease or an edge, and find some leverage for Todd to get the ball to him.”

On Colorado WR Scotty McKnight Being Capable of Playing QB

“He did throw a good one the other night. He’s got a good feel for things like that; I’m not sure if he could step in and play quarterback like Meier could.”

On Colorado RB Darrell Scott’s Playing Status

“We’ll see. [Our trainer] thinks he’s going to be fine, so we’ll see.”

On Kansas’ Defense

“They bring a lot of pressure, and they give you problems; we had a lot of problems with them last year, and had a lot of problems the year before. You don’t go along in the schedule and say, ‘Oh, well this offensive line isn’t as good as the last two.’ They’re a really good team and doing good. So we have to play well or we’re not going to have a chance. We don’t look at it as, ‘Okay, this team is off the other teams.’ We don’t look at it like that.”

On How Colorado’s Defense Must Adjust to a Versatile Quarterback

“It’s hard, because all of your pass rush lanes become really important. When you’re playing man coverage, you’ve got to make sure somebody is keeping an eye on that guy. Even when you’re playing zone you’ve got to make sure somebody doesn’t cover grass, while [the offense] is running wild. You have to treat the quarterback like a tailback or a receiver.”

On the Progression of Colorado’s Pass Rush

“I think we’ve kind of changed up a few things. It’s one thing to just turn guys loose and say, ‘Yeah, get pressure on the quarterback.’ But when you play guys like Todd [Reesing], you have to take care of your pass rush lanes as well. So in some cases, you may not be getting a sack, but you’re going, ‘Well, he didn’t run down the field for 17 yards or 50 yards.’ So it’s a combination of being able to do both things. Brad [Jones] has been doing a nice job of getting some pressure in there, and you have to have that. Colt [McCoy] gashed us for a couple of runs last week as well; it’s hard with these guys that can run.”

On Practicing Tackling During Workouts

“There’s always a tradeoff a little bit, in terms of how many times you can go ‘live’, whether it’s a drill or a team situation; and it’s a trade off between injuries and getting guys to the ground. We [practice] tackling every week, we do it every week.”

On the Team Dealing With Losing Two-Straight Games

“We just don’t deal with it like that. Everyone’s trying to come up with a story and a byline. Our byline always gets old and ugly, but it’s just about getting better; just get better. Just improve, look for ways to get better. The same thing coming out of West Virginia, the same thing coming out of Eastern Washington, don’t get caught up in the highs and lows of the deal. That’s really simple in how we do it. We’re going to sit down at the end of the year and figure out what kind of a season it was, and until that time you just keep coming.”

On Backup QB Matt Ballenger Making An Appearance in the First Half Against Kansas

“We’ll see.”

On the Play of QB Cody Hawkins

“I think it’s a combination of things; we haven’t been too prolific on offense to begin with. So all of that stuff is cumulative. Has [Cody] played well? No, he hasn’t. But you have to be able to run the ball well, get your play-action game going, you have to be able to protect well and do all of those kinds of things. I don’t think it’s a one-man thing, it’s a whole-group thing; and [Cody] hasn’t played well, but we haven’t played great offensively either. So it’s a combination of all of those things.”

On Getting A Quarterback Out of A Slump

“You just have to keep playing and working, you just have to get through it. It’s not like you ignore it, but at the same time you don’t exacerbate the situation, because there are other factors that come into it. The fumble that he got credited for the other day, well, you’re going to turn around and hand it to a guy who’s supposed to get the ball and he doesn’t try to get the ball, then the balls is going to be on the ground; that’s your fumble. So you just try and work that stuff out. I’ve said this many, many times, how one guy on defense can make your defense look awesome and one guy on offense can make your offense look bad. We’ve got to continue to try and get all eleven guys on the same page and get all of those things like protection, runs, routes, and everything coordinated, so that everyone is on the same page. You just have to work and do the best that you can to get better, and keep improving and stay at it.”

On OG Matt Bahr’s Performance Against Texas

“He did okay, I thought when he came in against Florida State he did okay too. Again, I think it’s getting a feel for who you’re playing against and being able to not only say, ‘Well, I blocked the guy, but I also had enough push on him that the running lane was open. I had enough push on him that the pocket integrity stayed the same.’ So I though he had a decent outing.”

On His Decision To Put Matt Ballenger in the Texas Game

“I think you always want to push guys, you always want to have that element in there; that, ‘Hey, you need to play or you’re not going to play,’ and that’s something we are getting better at in our program. At that part of the game, it was more that we weren’t doing much anyway and the game was kind of at hand. We needed to get [him] in and let him get his first game jitters out of the way, and let him get relaxed, letting him get his feet wet and then see where he can go from there. Just getting him in there and see how he does. See how he competes and how he compares. Sometimes you never know, you bring another guy in and things happen, people respond. We’ll see how that goes.”

On OT Nate Solder’s Progression

“He’s going to be a great player and I think he’s doing okay. Again, what’s so difficult with our guys to judge is that there’s a good chance that he played against two first-rounders back-to-back. You’re going, ‘Well...’ But he’s playing against great people. I think again, the more confidence and familiarity he gets with it, the better he’s going to be. I look at Ryan Miller last year when he first came in and started playing against Oklahoma, it took him [time]. Nate is a little older in his play, but he hasn’t played much offensive line, so it’s still an adjustment for him. I think he definitely think has all of the tools, he has the smarts, he has the athletic ability, and he has the size and strength. Again, just getting more confidence instead of thinking about everything and reacting to everything, really trusting what he does and go do it.”

On Colorado’s Offensive Line Troubles

“By and large are we getting a hat on a hat? Yeah, we are. Is the push happening that you want, are you going to be able to hold up long enough for the ball to get there, and all of those things? Not always, necessarily. It’s a combination of both things; them being really good and us being able to put enough things together that you have a lot of hardball, off-speed stuff to compliment the thing. The less you do it, the worse it gets, so that was an issue.”

On Mark Mangino Energizing Kansas Football

“He’s been awesome, he’s done a great job there. Coming into a place that was by and large thought of as a ‘basketball school’, and being able to weather the storm and hang in there, and keep doing his deal and believing in it. I think they’ve kicked in about 40 million dollars worth of facilities and upgrades to help that program and help those guys get moving; and I think that’s helped a bunch. But he’s done a great job, and their administration and fans have helped them out as well, too. Clearly, given where they’re at, they’re one of the elite teams in the country; five years ago everyone was getting ready for basketball season, so I think it’s a big deal.”

On a School Being Patient With a Coach

There’s a lot of ways you can slice it and dice it. (Hawkins asked media members how long they have held their jobs, with said media replying 20 and 31 years) So, you guys are the Bobby Bowden and Joe Paterno; in coaching that’s just not how it normally goes, and certainly we respect that and we understand it. The common sense side of you also says, ‘Hey, there are situations and there are reasons for all things.’ As long as you can sit down and go, ‘These are the issues and this is what we need to solve.” You continue to get better and that’s what you have to do. Now the reality is in, today’s world, nobody wants that; and I fully expect that, I do. Mike Krzyzewski when he first went to Duke, his first few years, wasn’t real stellar; Frank Beamer, wasn’t real stellar. So, you just have to look at your situation and go, ‘Are we getting better? What are our issues? How can we solve our issues? Are we solving issues? Are we moving forward?’ If you are, you are. In the end, whether you’re Starbucks or Kansas football, you’re going to get better. There are some schools out there that get rid of their coaches, because they aren’t doing very well, and then you haven’t heard from there since. They want to win the national championship and weren’t happy with 10 wins, they got rid of their coach, and they haven’t been back in bowl games or heard from them since. At some point you have to turn your eyes around and go, ‘Okay, what’s the big picture here? What’s it all about?’ So anytime a coach gets retained and any time a coach gets to prove himself, and gets backed by everybody else, every coach in America is standing up going, ‘Good for him.’ I said the same thing about Gary Pinkel, there’s something to be said for a guy that’s been there eight years and had everyone on his staff there for eight years, and look where they’re at.

On Whether it is Easier or Harder to Get Rid of a Coach

“I think it’s probably easier, just because of the political climate. Generally, your fans, your climate, and your media aren’t going to advocate hanging in there; generally, the sentiment is, ‘Let’s get someone else in here. We want somebody else new.’ Then somebody with enough money that will say, ‘Yeah, I’m willing to support getting that guy out and getting somebody else in here.’ Usually, it’s easier. It’s the era of Playstation; just hit reset. “

On the Health of FS Ryan Walters

“He’s dinged, but we expect him to be okay.”

On Using His Contract Extension to Recruit

“I guarantee you that everyone is going to pull out every bullet in their holster and say, ‘Well, you know, a guy doesn’t have a contract.’ The thing is, even in recruiting now, parents and kids, even coaches will go, ‘How long is your contract for?’ That’s always part of the conversation. I think it’s great for our staff, it’s great for me, it’s great for recruiting; it provides continuity. I think it’s an awesome statement by Mike [Bohn] and the administration, and I really appreciate their support with standing behind us, believing in us. I think as much as anything else, what it means is ‘Hey, we believe in you guys. We know you’re doing the right things, and we know we’re going to get there, and we’re behind you, and we want you here’. That’s a huge deal. To put it into your terms, if you’re covering Colorado football and then all of a sudden [somebody] is now covering Colorado football and they’re taking you off of a few stories; you’re going to start going, ‘Huh? Maybe I’m not long for this job. Maybe I won’t make it to 32 [years].’ So that’s all big stuff.

On How He Feels About the School’s Commitment to His Assistant Coaches

I think we need to continue to work towards salary increases, we need to work towards multiple-year contracts; those things are kind of the norm in college football. I think that as we continue to get better, our guys are going to get preyed upon a lot, and that’s going to make it very tough for me. Everybody is doing what they can and at the higher level we need to change things, so that these guys can be on multi-year contracts. Then we’re able to work towards some equity with the rest of the conference, because we did a good job last year with staving off the wolves, but every year, even in the two-win season, I’ll bet I had four or five of our coaches who got hit on by other places. We have a good staff and I believe in our guys a lot; they’re great people and they’re good coaches, and all have winning records. They’re doing a good job and we want to keep those guys here. So, that’s all apart of the equation; to continue building and keep growing, and establish continuity.

On Changing Colorado State Laws to Allow

“Laws were made by people and they can be changed by people. Ultimately, at the end of the day, what it comes down to sometimes is what does it mean to people? I think you have to have enough political clout, and you have to have enough influence and people that realize what you’re doing is worthy and worthwhile. Hopefully we’re doing that and continue to do that, so that the lawmakers and those people will say, ‘Hey, these guys are a really positive force in our community and in our state; and we want to see this thing keep going and we’re willing to adapt some things to change.’ That’s why you have elections, that’s why you vote, and that’s why those people are there. Hopefully we can continue to do a good job, be a positive force, and people will say, ‘It’s worth it to keep these guys intact.” Whether it’s us or any other school, or sport, or whatever.

 

 

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