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 Toledo and previewed Saturday's showdown against the Wyoming Cowboys. The following are quotes from the session:
On Throwback Jerseys against Wyoming-"I think it's cool, Nike did a lot of work on it, J.T. [Galloway] did a lot of work on it, and the kids always love it, too. One of the things that we try to do is try to bring back our former players and alums, and part of the reason we put silver in our current uniform is to honor those guys because those were their colors, silver and gold. Like Mike [Bohn] said it's a chance to recognize all those people who played in the earlier era as well."
On Wyoming vs. Texas-"It looks like a typical Wyoming team; I mean they play really, really hard. We've played against them before; those guys play with a lot of heart, a lot of guts, a lot of passion, and they play football the way it's supposed to be played. I think they're evolving as they come into their new era right here, but they did a nice job, they got after Texas."
On Finding Consistency in the Offense-"We're getting close. We made huge strides last week, I did. I think we responded, I thought we did a nice job early in the game and as the score got away then we kind of had to change and I thought our guys adapted and did that and we got back in it and within a couple scores and if we were able to break serve then we could have been able to do that. I think we're getting really close to that. We are."
On Having Faced Wyoming Head Coach Dave Christensen-"I just remember him from his days at Missouri but I don't know him personally. We are obviously looking at that because it will be the same system, basically. That doesn't mean they are going to run the exact same play but it is the same system, the same style, and they have gotten after us before. We actually did probably better here in our first year in 2006, but they have gotten after us the last few years and certainly we have to make some adjustments according to that, as well."
On Defensive Issues-"The biggest thing is we have a really good defensive staff, and it's interesting, what we are trying to do to some degree is try to make it so perfect and so exact that sometimes you overdo it just a hair. I think you can do that on offense too, and you run into situations where you make sure you have the right amount of numbers, and if they have seven in the box, run it, or eight in the box so don't run it, sometimes you just need to just line up and run it. I think that's a lot of it, we just have to be able to kind of not worry about every single exact nuance, but maybe the simplicity allows for the complexity, and that's it. We get tied into knots by trying to do too much or thinking a little bit. Part of that is due to inexperienced nature, particularly as it pertains to the kids up front, and part of it is like I said, trying to be such a great coach that you want to put them right in exactly the right place every single time, I think that's a lot of it."
On Improvement on Tackling-"You know what I really find, we always work on tackling, and we will tackle tomorrow. Your better teams tackle well, the more aggressive teams tackle well and the more confident teams tackle well. As you start playing hard and play confident, you get more guys to the ball, you learn your angles and there are more guys at the point of attack, that's a lot of it. It's just a question of trying to put too much in, and you're trying to do such a great job of getting your guy in the exact spot based on formation, down and distance and field position that maybe you overdo it a little bit, and it becomes paralysis by analysis to some degree. I think that's a little bit of it, I really do.
"Again, we need to relax a little bit. You just have to simplify a little bit. You have to work within the parameters of what a guy can do and that's a lot of it, just calming down a little bit, focusing, thinking, not over-thinking."
On Handling the Loss against Toledo-"We tried on Saturday to learn from it, we came back Sunday and practiced hard and pushed on and got going. How much of that lingers? You never really know. I don't think there is a huge problem, because most of the guys were pretty much past it come Sunday, so I don't think it was really a problem."
On Differences between the Wyoming Quarterbacks-"They are trying to find a bit of a sweet-spot there, those guys are pretty close. I don't know how different they really are, maybe a little bit of our situation with Tyler [Hansen] and Cody [Hawkins] last year. Not hugely different, I think they're just trying to find their sweet spot."
On Surprising 0-2 Start-"Again, you just keep going. I relate it to the other side, I know we haven't had the winning streak yet, but remember after the Oklahoma game, I wasn't shocked about that, I wasn't shocked we beat Oklahoma. As a coach, you're always hanging in the middle there knowing things are capable of going both ways. Certain segments of the population are always going to get on one end of the spectrum or the other about what happens. But every coach, you win you redial, you lose, you redial, that's just how it has to go no matter what the situation is."
On Players Morale after Two Losses-"If your personality, your culture and your philosophy was to live in an exuberant manner like that, it would probably be hard [dealing with the losses], but it's not. We are very methodical about how we go about business, and how we address and look at things. We look at is a process, not the end-all game, so I don't think it's a huge issue for those guys, I really don't."
On Potentially Being on the Hot Seat-"Coaches that are in it, and they know, you do what you believe in and you hang in there and you keep plugging away and in the end the thing cracks, it does, and it cracks for everybody. It's interesting; coach [Kent] Riddle has a buddy who coaches with the [New York] Giants. The Giants went 0-2 in 2007, and what did all of you say? Let's fire the coach. They won the Super Bowl. I mean there are a ton of those stories out there, but nobody likes those stories, nobody recounts those stories, nobody publishes those stories because people don't like those stories. Every year those things happen and we've already talked about it with Colorado, too. All those stories are out there, but nobody wants those stories, everyone just wants to live in the world of drama and the hype. Every coach has gone through it, every coach knows, so you just keep hanging in there, you keep doing your deal, keep getting better at what you're doing and eventually the thing cracks, it always does.
"I'm always secure; you know whether you (the media) approve of me or disapprove of me, really doesn't affect my self-esteem. I know this, my boss is sitting over here, we're doing things right by the kids, we're doing things right by the school, and we're doing things right football wise too. We're doing things the way you're supposed to do them; I know that, as a football team, in the weight-room, in academics, discipline wise, and in the structure of where we are and who we are at the University of Colorado I have 100 percent confidence in that. You have to control what you can control, and I know we're doing that."
On Talent of Players-"Again, those things are always relative. You guys have heard me talk before, about where that all comes in. Are we good enough? Yes, we are good enough, but that also gets both fueled and tainted by confidence and momentum and all that. We just need to build a little confidence and get a little momentum and turn the page a little bit and those things will go. I've been on both sides of that deal before, you can take a team that has B physical talent, that has A intangibles, and they're probably going to beat the team with A physical talent and B intangibles. We just need to keep going, get a little better, get a win and get a little wind underneath our wings."
On Colorado WR Markquis Simas-"He's a good player, a real good player. I hate using that term [impact player], so is he capable of being that type of player, really good, yes he is. He's anxious to play."