The following are quotes from the session:
Head Coach Dan Hawkins
ON RIVALRY WITH COLORADO STATE—“I don’t know if that always takes full effect until you’ve gone through it a few times and felt all of those emotions and dealt with all those issues. You definitely can [feel the rivalry right away], you just don’t have that personal experience and once you’ve gone through it, it always sinks in a little more that way. I think it will be a great sporting event. You have a tremendous amount of pageantry and a tremendous amount of pride and it can be a very glorious thing for the state and the schools involved.”
ON CSU—“They’re good, they’re really good. We have always looked at them as sort of a model-type program; they do a really good job in recruiting, in looking at guys who can really play. They do a nice job X’s and O’s-wise in all three phases, they play their guts out, they play hard and they don’t beat themselves. Over the years at
ON CU’s OFFENSE—“Well you just have to work on getting better; there are so many little things within the entire fabric of what has gone on here and what is going on. You just have to continue on, I have an IT (Information Technology) guy working on my computer right now. I haven’t been able to get into my computer files for two weeks, just the accumulation of all those things. you just keep making a list and keep working and keep getting better and you keep trying to improve. Sometimes those things come at a little faster pace than others and you don’t always know what that pace is going to be, but you write down all the factors and you go about trying to find the best way to improve, and that’s all you can do.
“We are not in the NFL, you’ve got to play the guys that you have and our guys are battling and scrapping and we’re dealing with a lot of new people, a lot of new faces, a lot of new schemes, a lot of new things and that’s not an excuse but that is the nature of it. People out there can panic all they want but I’m not panicked. It’s very ironic that in my career I started out 0-2 as a high school coach and ended up winning the city championship; started out 0-2 my first year at Boise State; we started out my first year at Willamette and we were 5-4, so you know that’s just the nature of it. I know that everyone wants it to be changed right now, right away, just like we do just like the players do. There are things that transpire that you have to work through, and get better and improve on, and that’s just a process that every relationship in business or a football program has to go through.”
ON CSU QB CALEB HANIE—“I really like him a bunch, I really do. I think he can run around, I think he’s athletic and they use him in really good ways. I think he is a really good player.”
ON LOSS TO MONTANA STATE—“Again, I understand the roles of everybody in this thing. What I mean by what I said earlier is that typically in this deal if you have a loss like this there are just massive outcries; outside is just ‘what a debacle’ and ‘holy cow,’ but you go out and beat somebody you aren’t supposed to and it’s the other end of it. It’s like the coach and the team are either heroes or they are goats or they are geniuses or they are idiots. You know, that’s usually how it goes there is no grey area or in between. My foundation in this thing has always been—and it kind of comes from when I was at
ON THE PLAY OF QB JAMES COX—“It was kind of a trial by fire a little bit, but you kind of look at ‘gosh what if [TE Riar] Geer would have caught that ball, what if [offensive lineman Devin [Head] hadn’t held on that one play, what if [wide receiver] Alvin [Barnett] would have caught the other ball.’ Everyone wants to look at the quarterback because he is the focal point of what everybody is looking at, but then you have to look at protection and go ‘can we get this guy blocked? Can he throw the football without somebody hitting his arm?’ So it’s a whole cumulative effect and James will be the first one to tell you that. Can he make a few throws better and do all that? Yeah, but if somebody would have made a play or we wouldn’t have had a hold here, it would have changed the whole complexion of what his performance would have looked like. That’s why I say you have to come away from these things and not just kind of go ‘holy smokes, bad game by the quarterback,’ you’ve got to look at it piece by piece, a little more protection or a catch here or we don’t have a penalty there, it changes the whole complexion for the guy. So I don’t look at it as just James, does he have to work on some things, yeah he does, he definitely had some errors. But the cumulative effect of the offense wasn’t totally on him.“
ON WHETHER THE MONTANA STATE LOSS WAS A LESSON—“I always say quit trying to win and just be a winner. If you want to be a true champion you have to understand that you are going to lose. If you put yourself on the line enough you are going to lose. That is the bottom line. A lot of people are not willing to risk that and a lot of people cannot stomach that. But you have to be able to walk through the fire and understand that if you want to hold the trophy you need to understand that there is as much meaning or more meaning in those terrible, distraught situations that there is when you win. There is a lot that losing can teach you if you are open to that. At some point we all just have to understand what that grace is and how you are going to carry yourself. I think one of the reasons I was hired here is that I’ve been on 11 different championship teams in the last four years. I know what it’s like to stand up there. But I’ve also gone 1-9 as a football coach. The same people who are cussing at me will be patting me on the back later on and saying ‘you’re the greatest thing to come to town.’ But neither one of them will be true.”
Quarterback James Cox
ON MONTANA STATE LOSS— “I just wish I could have had a couple throws back that I know I can make, but it’s a new week and I just have to go out there and prepare and be ready to go. We have to forget about last week and bury it. This week is obviously a great rivalry game—people are excited players are excited and it’s going to be an exciting week.
“I don’t think it had to with not taking them seriously enough. It was a game and we came out and didn’t play like we practiced and didn’t perform like we should have. There are obviously some things that we can correct and get better at.”
ON CSU—“It’s going to be exciting to be on the field in such a big game. I have to perform better than I did next week but I’m looking forward to the opportunity.
“We have to prepare just like every other week in the aspect of football. It’s up to the players to get extra film work knowing that [CSU] is going to come at us like it’s the biggest game of their year. And we have to play like it’s the biggest game of our year.”
ON CSU DEFENSE—“They like to load the box and try to stop the run which will give us an opportunity to throw the ball down the field. Hopefully we can get our running game going, but they are a great defense with great players. They come out to play hard every week and they are going to hit us in the mouth; we have to do the same thing with them.”