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BOULDER—University of Colorado head football coach Dan Hawkins spoke at his weekly press luncheon Tuesday, discussing last weekend’s game against Oklahoma and looking ahead to Kansas.  The Buffs travel to Lawrence for a noon MT meeting with the Jayhawks Saturday. 

GENERAL—“I want to start by giving a shout-out to my man Clint Hurdle with the Texas Rangers. They had a great year and a great season.  He’s making a regular appearance in the World Series. I had to give him a shout-out because I have a lot of respect for him.”

“It’s another great day in Colorado. The guys practiced hard this morning. Travon [Patterson] is still battling his high ankle sprain, so we’re not sure about him. It looks like Paul Vigo will be ready to go. Guys are in good spirits and are getting ready to go. “

ON ANKLE INJURIES—“They’re really brutal, and everyone tries to battle through them, but they are not an easy thing. They seem to kind of linger around for a while. Bryce [Givens] has had his, and Josh [Hartigan] has had his. They’re not a fun injury to have.”

ON WHO WOULD PICK UP TRAVON PATTERSON’S REPS—“Probably Paul [Richardson] would get more reps. He [Travon Patterson] and Paul [Richardson] kind of play the same spot, so you can probably count on him getting more time.”

ON EMPASIZING THE RUNING GAME AGAINST KANSAS—“It is there. We always spend a great deal of time, particularly on Tuesdays, working on that, and that’s always 50 percent of your rundowns to be sure. We’re still banging away at that.”

ON THE PRESSURES OF BEING A PLAYER—“I’ve said this many times, and Tony [Clemons] can get up here and tell you, so much of life is really just keeping your feet on the ground and working hard. It’s hard, whether you’re in your position or my position or their position. You get so much adulation at a young age, and it’s hard to keep your feet on the ground. Ryan [Miller] is very firmly planted and has a great family. I think he will tell you too that there were some growing pains there a little bit. It doesn’t matter how good you are or how good you’re supposed to be. Every time you take a jump, whether it’s from high school to college or from college to the next level, there is always an adjustment period. I think no matter who it is, if you get too much, it’s hard. Like I said, Ryan is pretty firmly planted. He’d be the first on to tell you that there’s outside stuff. We said the same thing about Jalil [Brown]. Jalil was a two-star guy, and really nobody had offered Jalil. Nobody had offered him and one or two of those other Arizona schools got in on him, but nobody was really on him. He’s got a chance to be a high draft pick. Jimmy [Smith] is going to have a chance there. Nate [Solder} was Gary (Barnett’s) find and recruit. That’s why I always tread lightly in that area. It’s hard to stay humble and keep working and all that.”

ON OFFENSIVE TACKLE NATE SOLDER—“I think he has really steadily improved every year. The great thing about him is that I think his best days are still ahead of him. I think just in terms of his footwork and how he handles guys he is much more mature than he was last year. I think he is able to play at a much more physical level because he has put on a little more weight. As wild as it seems, and it might seem wild to him, but I could see him playing at 340. He is 318 lbs. now, and he could probably play at 340 and have less body fat than most people in this room.  He’s got the work ethic and the intelligence to master all of that, but he has played pretty well. He had a couple of issues in the Cal game, but those weren’t all his. There were other factors in there. It kind of shows up as him, but there are other guys that have got to get on the same page for him to operate well.:

ON THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING WELL-ROUNDED INDIVIDUAL—“I really preached that, and that is that whole quality balance of life that we talk about in our program and how much that means. Just to give you an example, we recruited Landry Jones. I saw him after the [Oklahoma] game, and I said, ‘Hey, I’m really proud of you. You had a great game, but let’s talk about academics.’ I said, ‘How are you doing on your school work?’ I was on him about it there, and I’m not even coaching the guy. I think that is kind of our whole mantra, so it is good to see. We have a plethora of guys that are doing well in the classroom. Obviously Brian Daniels (’06) got that National Football Foundation Award. Nate is going to get it this year. I think we have some guys coming up in the pipe with the same ability to achieve that. There’s no question that’s rare, but like I tell these guys all the time, I want them to be uncommon. I want them to be a baller on Saturday and a scholar during the week. I want them to be somebody that you want living next door and working for you and dating your daughter.  He’s really phenomenal. You just don’t find a more humble guy, and I think he is embarrassed by all of the attention; he really is.”

ON WHAT TO EXPECT FROM KANSAS—“They’re a little bit streaky obviously. They had the quarterback issue a couple weeks ago. One left with a concussion and one left with a bad shoulder, so they went to the [Quinn] Mechum kid that they are playing now. I think they’ve been trying to put some of their stuff together. They have some offensive guys that they are starting on defense now. They are starting to move their personnel around that way, but they did a great job against Georgia Tech. They’ve kind of been up and down a little bit, but they did a nice job last week battling against Iowa State. They certainly had chances in that game and played very close early on. Had it not been for a punt return, they would have went into half-time with a shutout. They’re playing well.”

ON KANSAS’ PERSONNEL CHANGES –“I don’t know all of it. I know they have dropped some guys around a little bit. The back that played a significant amount against us in the past is now playing defensive end. They have moved a few guys around, and I think this last week was maybe his second start. He hasn’t really started a ton there, so they have been moving guys around a bit.”

ON ANTHONY PERKINS’ ABSENCE—“He is just such a leader. He is such a stable guy, and he is so much in control. I think that helps getting everybody directed in the right spots. He is just a real stable influence back there, and that is one of the reasons we took him to Oklahoma. We took him and Jon [Major], and even though they were hurt, I thought their leadership and presence were really important for us. At the same time, that’s football, and the guys need to step up there.”

ON DEFENDING SHORT PASSES—“It is tough when they spread you out. You sort of have to pick your poison a little bit. Guys have to play it exactly right. You’ve kind of got to deter it a little bit, and obviously when they have continuous success, they keep coming back to it. You kind of have to keep switching things up and making sure the guys have the proper leverage and you’re running the right angles and getting guys lined up appropriately and in on time. Those plays are such a fine-line deal that five yards can be the difference between stopping it and a fifteen yard gain. It is kind of a combination of a lot of little things.”

ON DEFENSIVE BACKS PAUL VIGO AND TRAVIS SANDERSFELD RETURNING TO THE LINE-UP—“I think Travis [Sandersfeld] is much more close to that. I don’t know that he would say he is 100 percent. I think he still feels that a little bit. Obviously Vigo is probably where Travis was a couple weeks ago I would think, so it will be an opportunity to get him going and get him out there and get him running around, and we’ll see how that goes and how much he plays this week. It will probably be minimal, but we’ll see how the week goes.”

ON WHETHER QUARTERBACK TYLER HANSEN WILL TRAVEL TO KANSAS—“We are planning on traveling him. The doctor didn’t want him to go to Oklahoma, so we would have loved to take him last week, but we will bring him.”

ON HAVING A VETERAN QB ON A HEADSET AT OKLAHOMA—“It went pretty well, just in terms of signaling and he and Cody communicating there. Obviously when you have a little bit more experience on the sideline, those two guys like Cody and Tyler, can talk a little bit more. In terms of what we had to do functionally, it was fine.” 

ON QB CODY HAWKINS CALLING PLAYS IN THE HURRY-UP OFFENSE—“When we do the no-huddle stuff, he runs it. He calls it. It’s funny, all of this stuff is cyclical. You go back to the Ken Stabler days, with Johhny Unitas, those guys called their own plays. The way things are going these days, the way teams are going fast on offense, your guys almost have to call the game. They almost have to be able to call a game and be able to line up and get things going. That’s probably not a bad thing. When we go no-huddle, Cody runs the whole deal. Not to say that we could do that full time, that is probably a little bit of a reach. Sometimes, he tends to out-think himself, a little bit, which gets him in trouble.”

ON RUNNING THE NO-HUDDLE—“A lot of that has to do with the personnel and trying to make sure all of those guys are on the same page. Obviously, you lose some formation situations and you lose, to some degree, some motion situations. You can do a few things there a little bit, so it is a trade-off between going fast and getting in the formation that you want and executing the play that you want.”

ON WATCHING FIELD GOAL ATTEMPTS—“I never watch. I always look for the trainers and the docs, because they are usually on the other end. I told Aric [Goodman] I don’t look.” 

ON DEALING WITH LOSSES—“I’ve said this many, many times and unfortunately I haven’t been able to talk about it on the other side as much as we would all like; it’s not an easy time I the world right now for a lot of people. All of this corny stuff that you hear, whether it is a sports movie or whatever; all of that is true and it’s eternal. How you deal with life’s challenges, how you deal with adversity, that is going to define you. I think you need to know what your foundations are. You need to know what your philosophies are. You need to know what your beliefs are, and you need to hunker down and stick to that, even though the winds, for a variety of reasons, might be whipping unmercifully on you. That is really what I try to talk to these guys about. It goes back to that quality balance and that excellence with class and saying, ‘Hey, it’s not how many catches you get. It’s not whether you’re All-Big 12. It’s not whether you win. It’s not whether you lose. It’s who you are and how you operate. You’re going to have some classes that are not so good, and you’re going to have some jobs that are not so good. There are going to be things in your life that are not so good. How you deal with that and manifest it is really, really important.’ The great thing is, I think they hang to that message and they believe in that message. We’ve been pretty consistent with that. I told them, ‘It’s interesting because you have the same types of discussions, even though it’s hard for some people to believe, I’ve been on the other side.’ Everybody is trying to convince you that you’re going to go undefeated. Everybody is trying to convince you that you have all of the answers. Everybody is trying to convince you that you can do no wrong. You just have to pull them back to the exact same place. It’s the exact same scenario. We take a lot of pride in that, preaching to them kind of, and giving them a lot of examples about it. I’ve always been amazed. They were great in the locker room. They were disappointed, as were we, but I was impressed with how they dealt with that, and I am impressed with how they are looking towards Kansas and the rest of the season. The best part of my job is being with those guys. They are a blast to be around. Like I said, Nate [Solder] is probably way on one extreme athletically and academically, but we have a whole bunch of guys who are just super to be around.”

ON SCORING FEWER POINTS THAN HE WOULD LIKE—“We need consistency, continuity, and to be able to get in a groove there a little bit. Oklahoma is a mighty fine team. Missouri is mighty fine. Those guys are pretty good football teams, nationally as well as in our league. That is kind of the benchmark there. You have to have some of those breakthrough moments, where it all kind of comes together. From there, things sort of happen. When you get some of that stuff and get you stuff going, you get that belief like, ‘Yeah, throw it up to me. Throw it up there, I’ll go get it. We’ll go make a play.’ All of that kind of continuity stuff leads to that. Obviously, Cody getting back in the saddle changed a few things; getting all of these new receivers and getting on the same page, all of those things kind of add up. You get a few breakthrough moments and things sort of happen. A lot of it is just getting in that groove.”

ON WHY CU HASN’T HAD A BREAKTHROUGH GAME YET—“You’re a play away at [Texas] Tech, and you’re a play away at Baylor. You get those two plays, and that changes your outlook at Oklahoma. We have had some injuries, particularly on defense. We had several games in a row there where we were losing a pretty significant guy almost every game. So that has hurt our consistency on defense to be sure.”