BOULDER – Dan Hawkins got up close and personal Tuesday – with himself. Deviating from his standard weekly media conference procedure of foregoing any opening remarks and taking questions, Colorado’s fourth-year football coach came prepared with nearly a dozen topics he wanted to discuss and did so for about 25 minutes. Among them were:
  • His future – “I’m going to be here a long time,” he said, adding, “I knew coming here, this was a challenge.” His fourth Buffaloes team is 2-5 overall and 1-2 in the Big 12 Conference, making his CU records 15-29 and 9-18. He added that he is a “fighter, not a quitter . . . we’ll see it through and we’ll make it happen. I have 100 percent confidence in that, 100 percent confidence.” After receiving a contract extension last season, Hawkins’ current pact runs through the 2012 season.
  • His state of mind – “In my deepest, darkest moments, there’s no question – it’s hard. It’s a hard deal. I’m probably as hard on myself as anybody.”
  • Progress of the program – “Is it taking longer than expected? Yeah, yeah, I’m not going to lie to you, it probably has. “Have we made some mistakes along the way? Yep. I’ve made mistakes for 27 years (in coaching). But we continue to learn and grow from them and I think we’re doing a nice job with that . . . . If I had to start over again, would I do some things different? Yes.”
  • The quarterback situation – Hawkins reiterated that Tyler Hansen is the Buffs’ starter and insisted the sophomore is not on “a short leash.” He said he and his staff are “fully supportive” of Hansen, who was spelled by junior Cody Hawkins last weekend at Kansas State when CU ran a no-huddle, two-minute offense at the end of the first half and again in the final 9 minutes when the Buffs trailed by two touchdowns. Cody Hawkins, said his father, entered the game because the Buffs’ “margin of error” is very small and Cody was better at directing that offense. Dan Hawkins said he wanted Hansen to develop into an “all-the-time” player who does not go the sidelines in certain situations.
  • Darrell Scott’s rehabilitation – Dan Hawkins said the sophomore running back, who underwent arthroscopic knee surgery last Thursday, is more likely to return against Iowa State (Nov. 14) than Texas A&M (Nov. 7).
  • Bryce Givens’ return – The redshirt freshman right tackle did not make the K-State trip and is listed as Ryan Miller’s backup on this week’s depth chart. Dan Hawkins said he expects Givens, whose absence has been for “personal reasons,” to be “back in the fold” this week.
  • Punt returner Jason Espinoza – The K-State game was not a highlight for “Espy.” He caught a punt inside his 5-yard line and was buried, then later bobbled a punt that the Wildcats recovered. Scotty McKnight replaced him as a returner thereafter, but Dan Hawkins said Espinoza will be given another chance this week in practice.
  • Also speaking at Tuesday’s press conference, Hansen said the team had a players’ only meeting on Monday, during which team leaders said the Buffs must realize they’re not only close, “We’re there . . . we have to start believing it. We have the talent. But we didn’t believe that at Kansas State. We have to have that mindset.” Hansen said the Buffs “really want to beat Missouri” after being embarrassed by the Tigers for the past two seasons (55-10, 58-0).
Contact: BG.Brooks@Colorado.EDU