BOULDER - University of Colorado head football coach Dan Hawkins held his weekly press luncheon Tuesday at the Dal Ward Athletic Center. He talked about last week's game against the Kansas Jayhawks and previewed Saturday's showdown against the Kansas State Wildcats. The following are quotes from the session:
On Tyler Hansen
"He's a very smart kid, he's very competitive and he's a good player so it didn't surprise me at all that he played well. I think our team is getting better and has gone through a few situations, so I was not surprised by the victory and I wasn't surprised with the way he played, not at all.
"He'll be fine; he's been through the ups and downs before. Having the benefit of last year serves him well, but again that's just the nature of our football team I was very happy with him on Sunday.
On Tough Secondary
"I think our pass rush is coming together a little bit and [defensive line] coach [Romeo] Bandison is doing a nice job of rolling those guys through there. We're starting to get some pressure with those guys up front and I think that helps, and than just a little bit of continuity and experience back there. Obviously, Jalil [Brown, cornerback] continues to play well, Cha'pelle [Brown, cornerback] has been in there a long time, Ben [Burney] is settling in at safety and obviously Jimmy [Smith] is a very good corner. I think you have some talent and some experience there and those guys are starting to get a little continuity and a little help up front and that helps."
On Stopping the Run
"Same thing, just some experience. Guys are getting a bunch of snaps, seeing a bunch of plays and blocks and getting a feel for it, understanding things and communicating. Those guys have played more games and you go from having true freshman starting their first games to playing some of the best teams in the nation and that helps them kind of get a feel for it."
On TB Rodney Stewart
"Well, hopefully he can continue to stay healthy. I think he has proven how good he was last year. He has done a better job of turning the ball over, but I think both him and Darrell [Scott] have a better understanding of what we are trying to do offensively and he is such an instinctive player that the more he gets comfortable the more he can just focus on what he needs to do.
"I don't think size matters, he's not the largest in stature, but in the end it's about being productive and he's proved that he is."
On Fans Rushing the Field
"I think it's great, I think it's awesome, provided nothing ever happens. There have been a few instances where guys can really get hurt by that, but as long as nobody gets hurt and everybody is fine I think that's great."
On Kansas State
"They are doing a nice job, and a nice job in areas you need to be [doing a nice job]. They are running the football really well, doing a nice job on special teams, doing a great job in turnovers, give you a lot of problems and will attack you in many different ways on defense. This is a team that is getting better, starting to improve, really caught fire last week and obviously they have the home-field advantage and homecoming and all that. They're getting hot and obviously they have a coaching staff that has been around and know what they are doing but they do a ton of things and give you problems."
On Gaining Momentum
"We will see where our team's momentum is at. I hope we are very matter of fact about things, again just because you lose doesn't mean you will continue to lose and just because you win doesn't mean you will continue to win. It gives you some proof that you can [win] but you have to go back to square one and I think our team has been through enough things I think they will be fine with that. But that is a lot of it, just going back to square one and understanding what helps you win football games and working on those things and we certainly have a ton of things to improve on. We won last game but we can do a better job of taking care of the football and with penalties, there are still a lot of areas that we need to clean up."
On Potentially Winning the Big 12 North
"It's so funny, you go from your season is a disaster to holy smokes you're going to win the north. There is a lot of football to be played; there are a lot of games left to play. You have to play it out, you have to bury yourself down and get into that week-to-week grind and focus that way and let it all play out."
On P Matt DiLallo
"He had actually been sick but he punted through it. He just didn't strike the ball great for whatever reason, but he's a battler so we expect him to get back on track."
On PK Aric Goodman
"He's had an abdominal strain for quite a bit, we've been trying to take it easy on him but he had a great game. We're hoping he strains his other side this week but he made his field goals and his kick-offs were great."
On Progression of Defensive Line
"They are getting a lot more pressures and sacks and are playing extremely hard. Coach Bandison is doing a nice job with their techniques and new guys are stepping up. Marquez [Herrod] is starting to get some heat on them, Forrest [West] is starting to establish himself as a guy who can come off the edge, Nick Kasa can get up the field and Curtis Cunningham is good too. I think it's a combination of all them coming together and getting some experience. Anytime you start getting pressure it's a good thing."
On Facing Kansas State Head Coach Bill Snyder
"I think it's one of the joys of this league, you get to see great players every week, you get to see great coaches every week and you get to coach in some of the greatest places in America and to me that is part of the fun of it, matching wits and strategies against other coaches and from that standpoint it's a fun deal."