BOULDER - University of Colorado football coach Dan Hawkins held his weekly press luncheon Monday at the Dal Ward Athletic Center. He recapped last week's game against Iowa State and previewed Thursday night's showdown against the Oklahoma State Cowboys. The following are quotes from the session:
GENERAL-"Like I told our guys, there is no big mystery to it, it really came down to a couple of plays. We got into the red zone and we get stopped at the goal line and that is seven points there, and we turned the ball over inside the five and there is seven points there and we have a chance to get the ball close but we have some penalties and have to back it up so we missed out on a potential 21 points, potentially 17 points. And then you lose the turnover battle, one of which led to their scores so not a huge mystery there.
Once again I thought our guys battled and hung in there. I though early on offensively we had a couple of things not go our way and that caused us to hiccup a little bit but I thought they were focused and they knew that had to make a couple plays at the end to win. [WR] Markques Simas had another really great day. It's nice to see him and [WR] Scotty (McKnight) coming along. I do think those two guys make a good pair and when you have a couple other guys red-shirting for next year that makes for a little more varied attack for the offence.
The offensive line did a better job working on plays. [QB] Tyler (Hansen) is getting some comfort and all the guys are communicating and seeing things a little bit better.
We are back to another strange schedule week again so we had the guys in late last night watching film. We will go late tonight, they guys have school on Mondays and don't usually plan on practicing so we adjust for that and will go lighter this week obviously. We will leave late Wednesday because again, our guys cant miss class and we have to be able to get a practice in so will do that late Wednesday and get that practice in with our scout team guys and get rallied up to go.
I think the guys' spirits are good and we always talk to the guys about the finer points of life and football and finishing is always one of them. For us we have a really great opportunity here against a great football team on national TV to go play well. Coming off a road game and going to another road game, I have to consider all those options. But get our hearts and minds and souls underneath us here and get going. Again, our staff has been very positive throughout the whole year and are doing things right along side our kids so I think they know we are here with them and I've told them I love them, I do. And I think as we grow up a little bit and clean some things up whether its penalties or turnovers, or those types of things, we will find ourselves able to win a few more ball games.
I think a lot of it is our guys are really trying. They might be trying too hard, they want to do it so bad they are giving it every ounce of sweat they have and I think its not been really typical of our teams to have a lot of penalties but I think that's a lot of it, that our guys are really just trying to overreach and try to get outside their grasp and are not thinking about 'just do my job.'"
ON ROAD STRUGGLES-"I think a lot of it has less to do just with the start (of the game). I think that the mentality of our football team just getting a little bit of air under their souls, that's a lot."
ON OKLAHOMA STATE QUARTERBACK ZAC ROBINSON-"I would think so he is a pretty tough guy. He will be back."
ON IF OSU QB ROBINSON IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR THURSDAY NIGHT GAME-"You have to prepare for their offense and adjust on the fly, but I expect he will be going."
ON DEFENSIVE BACKS GOING FOR MORE BIG HITS IN RECENT YEARS-"I think it's probably more typical of guys not to take people low. Guys are not taught to hit higher. It's the same old tackling technique that you're always trying to use - dip, wrap, and run. Get your pads down and strike them with your shoulder but guys are playing so fast and hard these days its hard because you have a lot of velocity and beef heading towards people."
ON FINISHING OUT THE SEASON-"I think we still want to finish we have a lot of great seniors on our football team and I don't think you throw them to the side and move on. Those guys have got to finish out their careers and we want to put our best people on the field and win games. Hopefully garner a little bit of momentum going into the off season but again we are going to play a couple of really good football teams in one short week so our primary focus is to try and clean up and get better and put our best foot forward in this football game."
ON LACK OF OFFENSIVE IMPROVEMENT-"When you have a quarterback change that's going to affect it a little bit. We have Marques Simas and I think they have improved. We got some things going Saturday. Clearly Markques and Scotty and those guys have helped our passing game out. We continue to evolve in the O Line and find the right chemistry. I think when you have a little more consistency and continuity you see a stream of that along the way."
ON BOISE STATE PUTTING UP BIG NUMBERS-"I wouldn't say it's frustrating. Frustrating isn't the right word-trying to get some air underneath these guys a little bit and get that right chemistry. So much I want for them to feel what they are capable of and what they can lead to and trying to continue to find that. I wouldn't say its frustrating by any means I think you have your finger on it and you kind of know what those issues are a little bit and you just continue to tinker with it and work with it and like I said, I think you stay positive and you keep analyzing you keep working at it you keep implementing things and keep trying to continue to approve and at some point it pops and I think that has been pretty true through our careers."
ON POTENTIALLY SUGGESTING A MORE TRADITIONAL GAME SCHEDULE TO COLORADO AD MIKE BOHN-"There is always a trade off and I appreciate all side of it. I have said publically many times and privately even at Boise I would love to play every Saturday at 1 o'clock. There are factors through that go into it and I think the exposure has been good for us both for the University and for our football program. There is a financial part of it that he is sensitive to as well and I think Mike is always very good in the scheduling part of it and I think he does listen to me and I think we are very much on the same page there but I think we also have to understand the entire big picture of everything we are dealing with. It's not always exactly maybe the way you want it but it's the way that it has to be."
ON BEING A COUPLE PLAYS AWAY IN MULTIPLE GAMES THIS SEASON-"You just need those breakthrough moments you need to have a guy to come up and make those plays, get a little air of confidence going and overcome some of those things. Like I said, I think we could point to several instances in that of games this year but clearly in our last game, that wasn't a huge mystery you score on the goals line, you don't turn it over, you don't get penalties and you score some points on that drive-totally different football game. Guys just have to understand that and get through it and work through it and compensate and understand it and to some degree overall work on it."
ON FAILING TO CONVERT BIG WINS INTO WINNING STREAKS-"I don't think its frustration, I don't think that's the right term. I think they do get disappointed. I think they know they are capable and can do better and want to do better and put their best foot forward. We just haven't been able to make it happen."
ON OFFENSIVE REDZONE PROBLEMS-"We have been great all year and down there you just have to stick it in and there are a lot of things that go into it but when you are on the one foot yard line you have to be able to get that done and clearly the turnovers and penalties are also apart of it. I think we were one of four and we have been pretty good in there all year."
ON OT BRYCE GIVENS POTENTIALLY STARTING AGAINST OKLAHOMA STATE-"We are anticipating it. He feels bad. A young kid he let his emotions get the best of him. It's never been a problem and I don't foresee it ever being a problem. We sat him down for the rest of the game and we will see how he handles the next occurrence."
ON INCONSISTENCY BEING A PRODUCT OF TEAM YOUTH-"We try not to get into too much of that. I think some of those things I don't know but you have to play the hand your dealt and continue to work with it and that has always been our mentality, whether it's a scheduling thing or a youth thing.
"Overtime I think all those things work themselves out and I think there is no question that experience does help you with both tangibly and intangibly, I don't think there is any question about that. I think we have seen some of that with our guys. A classic example is Speedy who wasn't putting the ball down on the field last year but has been doing a great job this year and had a couple in last game. Sometimes you have to go through the valley of death to really grasp it all."