Head Coach Dan Hawkins
ON PLAYING AT GEORGIA—“It is loud, you try to do a little bit of crowd noise on the practice field, but I was informed that [former head coach] Gary [Barnett] had a few run-ins with the local noise commission which hindered that process. You work, obviously, on practicing where you can’t really communicate and guys have to do things visually or do things on a timing basis when it comes to the snap count. You have to be able to operate in an environment where you’re not expected to hear because it will be loud.”
ON TEAM CONFIDENCE— “We’ve been doing this a long time and we’ve seen the flow to this, and when you get caught up in the emotions of winning and losing you are probably in for a tough ride. You have to be able to keep your feet on the ground and look at what it is you can solve and be able to show guys on film that it’s not some mystical thing out there, it’s not a magic potion, its not that somebody has to be Superman. To go play a team like Arizona State that is a pretty good football team and scrap and claw and hang in the ball game despite having a lot of things not go like you wanted them to go...It certainly gives you some confidence that ‘gosh if we can get a couple of things going here we are going to be fine.’ Confidence to me comes from your preparation and you’ve got to do everything in your preparations, and if your preparations are good than you have a confident football team and that translates in performance and you have some success. I think that the lineage is pretty true and clearly we have an opportunity to go play in a great venue against a great team and test ourselves again and we know that we have an opportunity to play five or six teams that are top-25 teams so we better get ready, we better get going. We have
ON WHETHER PLAYING GEORGIA HAS THE POTENTIAL FOR DISASTER —“There potential for disaster when you get out of your car onto the freeway. I know when I left
ON TEAM’S CONFIDENCE—“We are getting better and so are the teams we are playing so that doesn’t always show up on the scoreboard, but I think clearly [the Arizona State game] was the most emotional because you couldn’t walk into that locker room without thinking ‘gosh darn it,’ a couple plays here and there and we are winners rather than losers.’ That provides a little confidence and a little emotion, and gosh we aren’t that far away here.”
ON TEAM PLAY—“We gave up a couple plays, we need to on special teams and offense to rally and give some motivation to the defense there. It’s tough to keep answering the bell time after time after time. We were able to mount some more drives offensively, but we weren’t able to put points on the board and that gave them a little bit of relief there but we all have some work to do. They [offense] are certainly coming along there and a lot of that has to do with us having a lot more faces on that side of the ball that are used to playing and understanding the game, the tempo, the adjustments.
ON GEORGIA QB MATTHEW STAFFORD—“He can run; he’s not a post back there. He’s not a Michael Vick type of a runner, not a D.J. Shockley type of a runner but they will run him. In fact, they scored a touchdown with him on an intentional run with the quarterback and it was no mistake, they ran him. He can get out and motor down the field, so he has some escape ability to him. He was there in the spring, got a lot of reps in the spring. He obviously has some talent and experience around him, they have a good running game and very talented wide receivers and he looks very comfortable back there and for good reason. He hands the ball off effectively and in pass production they are productive and if he gets the pass some where in the area they guys are making plays for him. He looks very smooth, very polished, doesn’t look hurried back there, he looks under control.”
ON GEORGIA’S DEFENSE—“I think it obviously gives all of those guys a tremendous amount of momentum because they get the ball back and with offense a lot of times its about rhythm so if they happen to go three-and-out, which isn’t very often, they go ‘okay we can get back in there because our defense isn’t going to give up much.’ It allows you to play with a little more confidence and a little more freedom and be a little bit more relaxed.”
ON SUPPORT FROM OTHER COACHES—“Yeah, a few other coaches have called, but again there isn’t one great coach out there who hasn’t gone through the valley, there isn’t one great player that hasn’t gone through the valley. We all know that, just like the comment before, if you are not willing to go through the valley you are never going to see the mountain; it’s just not going to happen. There have been a few guys that have called; I think it is interesting there have been a lot more outside people saying that because I think they feel bad and all that. I think coaches are more inside and understand the nature of it, and we’ll be alright.”
ON EXPECTATIONS FOR THE SEASON—“I have extremely high expectations for the season and I’m never going to back away from that. I’m not an excuse guy and I don’t think because I’m new or the quarterback is new or the system is new. Nobody wants excuses and I don’t either, the bottom line is that in our situation we’ve got to do a better job. I’ve got to do a better job, our coaches have to do a better job, our players have to do a better job and we have to pull ourselves up by the bootstraps and make amends for where we are and climb. I’m not into this rebuilding business, I believe there is a foundation that has to be laid but I don’t know how you realistically come in to a situation and realistically say you know in eight years you guys are really going to like what’s going on here. You come in here you dig, you dig hard, you dig fast, you dig as well as you can and that is what you do.”
ON STARTING 0-3—“It hasn’t been that long, we were 0-2 last year at
ON WHAT IS WORSE: STARTING 0-3 OR DODGING GREAT WHITE SHARKS—“They are both fun. They are both the same. That’s why you jump out of planes, that’s why you swim with sharks—that’s why you live. When I go down I’m going down in flames.”
ON HOME CROWD—“From a crowd standpoint, given the lack of excitement that we were providing, particularly on offense, I thought they did an awesome job hanging in there and screaming and yelling and supporting the defense. I know I turned around and looked at the students once and I was like ‘crank it up,’ and they came right up out of their seats and they were in it. That’s huge, and we need to continue to have that.