BOULDER - Colorado coach Dan Hawkins held his weekly press luncheon at the Dal Ward Athletic Center on Tuesday to preview the Texas game. Hawkins and the Buffs travel to Austin, Texas, to face No. 2 Texas Saturday in a 5 p.m. (MT) kickoff. The game will be nationally televised by ESPN.
On A List Of Problems Texas Can Produce
"That's a long list, they're talented, they're well coached. They play hard; they've got great personnel. That's why they're one of the best teams in the country. Then they've got some guys who have been there a while and have been doing it. That's a tough combination, there's no doubt about it."
On Colt McCoy's Running Ability
"He can buy a lot of time. The play he made the first play of the game last year was phenomenal. Everybody thought he was going to run with it and he turned and fired it to the sideline and they scored a touchdown. It was a great play. And then the play to (Jordan) Shipley was a great play, as well. He's what you want. He's a tough guy, he's a smart guy, he can run and he can sling it and he knows what he's doing. His progression since his sophomore year has been on an upward slope. A lot of that is his confidence and his continuity with the system and he's got some good guy's he has been playing with a little bit that have helped him, as well. He's doing a nice job."
On Giving Up Big Plays On Defense
"You just have got to keep working. Keep hammering away and keep going and getting guys in the right spots and getting guys to have a little intuition and a little bit of perception of what's going on. It's gotten better a little bit progressively. The sad thing is, you play Noel Devine, the first touchdown he ran there was about an eight-inch gap there and he made it through."
On Getting More Big Plays On Offense
"We had some better plays last week. Rodney (Stewart) did a nice job on his touchdown run. That continuity and guys hitting it the right way offensively, as well, helps. We have to get all those guys on the same page and get a little confidence and continuity in there."
On Markques Simas
"He's very talented. When he was red-shirting, you could tell that he had some ability and did a nice job against the defense. He's a guy that we need to get going and unfortunately when he was out the first couple of games, then he hurt his knee. It's been a long road for him, but he's a very talented player."
On The Start Of Conference Play
"We talk about the Big 12 and what that means and getting that whole thing going. You look at the season as a whole and then there's always little chunks and off shoots down the road. Winning the Big 12 is one of the premium's on the list and it starts now."
On The Texas Defense
"They've got the full package. They a great job scheme-wise, they're very hard to line up against and get a beat on and they're very talented and athletic and they've got all of the above. That's why they're one of the best teams in the country and deservedly so because they've got good players and they've got experience and they've got a good scheme. They do the full package. They're hard to move it on.
"You have to keep them off balance a little bit and try not to let them zero in on you as much as possible and that's all you can do. You have to make some plays and not turn the ball over and cut down on your penalties and maximize your opportunities when you get them. You have to hope that plays out in your favor."
On His Confidence In Aric Goodman
"It's good. He hit the upright again and missed another one. I think the guy's a good kicker, I do, and I know he's had some hick-ups but he'll be alright."
On The Confidence Level Of A Young Team
"It can go both ways. I think they all have a feeling that things are coming together and it's a little closer than most think and they have a sense of that and have a feeling of that. I think it can go against you either way. There's a good feeling on our team. Is that because we're so young or don't have old guys? I couldn't answer that."
On Being An Underdog And Using It As Motivation
"I've never been a big believer long term in extrinsic motivation. Every sports psychologist will tell you that's not the road to go down. Ultimately, at the end of the day, it's about your own self-efficacy and being able to get your 'A game' on regardless of who you play and where you play or what the situation is - whether you're favored or not favored, you better have a healthy respect for the other team and yourself and be able to understand the variables that go into it. That's what all great coaches and all great players and great teams aspire to do."
On Scotty McKnight
"If you are out there and you watch him and you know the kid, (his production) doesn't surprise you. He's extremely dedicated. He's extremely tough. He's a very smart player. He's probably underrated by most guys because he doesn't come in the tall, lean, 4.29 guy that people would see out there. He's a great rout-runner, he's very quick in and out of his breaks, he has great hand-eye coordination and he's very consistent in all of the above. It doesn't surprise me at all, because if you've been around the kid you just kind of know that's who he is."
On Cody Hawkins Accuracy
"We're on to a few things and are trying to clean a few things up here or there and that involves a lot of different scope and sequence. There's no question a lot of it comes from forcing balls and trying to make a play when a play isn't there. We're on to a few things that will help him a little bit. (Getting ahead early) is a key for every game. It's hard to stay in rhythm. (Playing from behind and trying to make a play) is part of it."
On Playing Another Quarterback
"A lot of it, depending on how the season goes and what happens and how things shape up, Tyler (Hansen) wasn't available last week and another factor is bringing those other young guys along to a point where you say 'alright, this guy can get in and call a play and get the snap and functionally operate.' So it's a combination of those things."
On Redshirting Tyler Hansen
"(Pulling a redshirt) is always a touch call to make. It always is. I could be the same with Nick (Kasa), it's like 'how long do you go before you bring Nick in?' There's other guys that we look at and go 'could this guy help us?' and 'how ready would he be' and what would be the quote-unquote fairness factor of getting a guy in at this point. It's never easy. I know, talking to Joel (Klatt), he played just a few plays his freshman year and, you know, that was his freshman year. Talking to Brian Daniels, he played just a couple of plays his freshman year. You're trying to do the best job you as coach while maximizing every guy's experience and opportunity to play and play a lot of plays. Sometimes it just doesn't work out that way, it's just not in the cards."
On Nick Kasa
"He didn't play a lot of plays last week, but he's doing really well in practice. He's a big, strong, physical guy and he's athletic and he can run and he's smart. He's all of the above. As he continues to get confidence on his knee and get confidence with the system, he'll progressively get better and his numbers will continue to go up."
On B.J. Beatty
"He came into his own last year. Unfortunately, he broke his leg and that set him back a long time. Last year, he had a great spring and got into fall and had a spiral fracture in his leg and that limited him. To me, he was in his own last year and unfortunately had the injury bug. He plays with a lot of passion and a lot of toughness. He's a smart guy and he cares a lot and pays attention to the little things. That's why he makes plays."
On Keenan Stevens
"It's interesting, I told somebody this the other day, we took 72 guys to West Virginia and I think 44 of those guys were in their first or second year with us and there were eight true freshmen. You really look at the healthy contributions of guys. Every goal of every program and every player is to really kind of starting your junior year to really start seeing some playing time. I look at Keenan and he's a guy who has labored and worked hard and played a subservient role but continues to learn and continues to be tough and works and he's doing a great job that way. Work and effort and passion over time always pays results. Sometimes, guys don't always see that, they want in the first year or six months or two years or whatever. The reality is we have got some guys playing in the national football league that really weren't significant guys until they were juniors or seniors. You never really would've predicted it when they were younger guys, so he's just one of those guys who works hard and he's tough and he cares and he's got a big heart and he pays attention to details. He played pretty well, he really did. For having a guy right in his face the whole game, too."
On Patience In A Walk-On Vs. A Scholarship Player
"It depends. You have it both ways. It's just how you are wired. Some people can hang in there for the long haul and make sense of it and others can't. That's a whole semester's worth of psychology classes. (Keenan Stevens) one of those guys who has been patient and he continues to chip away and continues to work hard. I tell these guys, 'in the end you get your just due' I totally believe that. Now, the problem is the end for some is longer than others and they can't see it through. He's been very patient and continued to work hard and whatever he can do to help the team and he's getting his day in the sun."
On Bryce Givens
"He did OK. There are plays where he's really, really awesome. And there's other plays where he's the freshman that he is. He's a big, strong, talented guy and he plays with a lot of heart and a lot of determination. He's got good feet. He has a chance to be a great player. But you know you've got a guy who's a freshman. It's interesting, we were talking the other day, in both our o- and d-line and we don't have a senior playing in the two-deep on our o- and d-line. Here's Bryce, he's a freshman."
On Anthony Wright
"Unfortunately, he sprained his ankle last week and that set him back a little bit, but he's running OK right now. You've got (Andre Simmons) in there who continues to come along and the learning curve is hard for a new guy. Brian Lockridge has done some really nice things out there as well. Combination of those guys (are on that next level), Will (Jefferson) is in the mix, too."
On Jason Espinoza
"I don't think (he'll be limited). He caught balls with (a broken thumb) before. I expect him to do the same thing again."