BOULDER—University of Colorado head football coach Dan Hawkins held his weekly press luncheon Tuesday, where he wrapped up last weekend’s 29-27 victory over Georgia at Folsom Field and previewed this weekend’s match-up with Missouri in Columbia, Mo. (Saturday, 5 p.m. MT, FSN).
ON MISSOURI—“They are once again a very talented football team. They have a lot of speed and athleticism, which make it tough on you. I think their quarterback is largely underrated. I think he is pretty good, I think he is really good. We have had a tough time against them. They have done good against us. We have to do things that can’t hurt you. Our guys are feeling good about things and are up for the challenge. We are looking forward to going back there and getting Big 12 play.”
ON BLAINE GABBERT BEING UNDERRATED—“You just don’t see his name come up. He is a big strong guy that can run. He has a big arm. He does a nice job. I think he is a good player.”
ON MISSOURI BEING TOUGH ON CU—“Offensively, they spread you out. That in and of itself is an issue. On defense, they will attack you. They are an athletic team and can give you problems on their speed on both offense and defense."
ON PREPARATION FOR MISSOURI—“I’m not sure how that compares to them. I think for us, our guys have put six pretty good quarters together. That means a lot to them on having some consistency there. I think that is good for us. Where they’re at and how they feel their preparation is, I don’t know.”
ON COMPARING THINGS TO GEORGIA—“You’re not going to be perfect. In the Georgia game, we did throw an interception. Our goal is to have one turn-over or less in a game. I think is pretty manageable and reasonable. We only had three penalties. We didn’t turn it over a bunch or have a lot of penalties. Things would just end up killing you that way. And then you have a chance to do some positive things.”
ON HAVING TROUBLE AGAINST MISSOURI—“Last year we didn’t convert some short yardage situations, which hurt us. We turned the ball over, which hurt us. We had the fake field goal, which we knew was coming. Even though we probably knew it was coming, they ran for a touchdown. The game kind of slips away from you that way. They had a big play early on, on us defensively.”
ON GETTING THE TEAM READY PSYCHOLOGICALLY—“We don’t ever try to get into a whole bunch of that,, of ‘Oh these guys are awesome and we have to be supermen, or they guys are no good, we’re going to roll over them.’ Our whole deal is trying to get better and maximize our level of competitiveness and efficiency.”
ON SEEING JOSH HARTIGAN EMERGE—“There are always so many great stories like that on teams. He came here as a guy that we’re thinking, ‘Well he’s a tight end, he’s a linebacker. He is kind of athletic and he can run.’ When he comes here, we’re trying to find a niche for him and we’re not quite sure where that is. He goes through some trials and tribulations just like a lot of kids, but he is able to make sense out of it and hang in there. He goes over to scout team, which I’ve played it and nobody likes to play it. You want to be under the lights. He proceeds to tear it and we can hardly block the guy. We can’t keep him out of the back field. He is disrupting every play. To his credit, he stepped up and I’m always looking at every one of those guys going ‘How can we factor them into what we do?’ It is great. He ends up being a defensive line and he is a little bit under size, but he has a tremendous heart and plays hard. The one sack that he got by himself was flat out effort.”
ON THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LAST YEAR’S GAME AND THIS YEAR’S GAME—“Part of it again was the score of last year’s game. When you’re in a back and forth game, it is easier to run the ball a little bit more. When the game gets away from you, you start to throw it more. Our consistency is coming together a little more. Knock on wood, we are healthy. We haven’t had a lot of times where we’ve had these five guys playing all the time on the offensive line.”
ON COACHES DECIDING TO STICK WITH THE RUNNING GAME—“We you start getting further away than one score, it gets a little more slippery slope.”
ON THE PLAYBOOK—“We always get that question of ‘How much of the playbook did you show?’ You don’t invent a whole lot of things, in terms of formations or shifts. I don’t know many teams who just say ‘These are the plays that we run and then we run them week four, and week six, and week twelve.’ The playbook is always never ending. You have a base set of runs and passes that you are going to use, but you’re always tweaking that.”
ON CODY HAWKINS—“It has been great. He wants to be a coach and he probably will. He is very perceptive. He is great at dissecting things with Tyler and he is great at knowing what is going on at practice. He is kind of a mini coach out there. He has a different understanding from a player’s perspective.”
ON SCOTTY McKNIGHT—“Scotty is good. He is dinged up, but that’s Scotty. You can ding him, but you can’t knock him out. He’ll be alright.”