Hawkins: CU Offense Will Be Vibrant

New head coach Dan Hawkins is knee deep in recruiting responsibilities as he and his staff try to add to the class of commits at Colorado over the next 2 1/2 weeks. The Buffalo Sports News spoke with Hawkins recently about several topics outside of recruiting. The interview will appear in the March issue of the magazine. Inside, an excerpt from the interview.

BSN: You met with 70 former Colorado football players in early January. Why did you want to do that?
Dan Hawkins:
I think the head football coach needs to be a conduit to many people. And I will continue to facilitate that process. Obviously, your former players, they mean a lot to your program. In a program like this where you have tremendous tradition, I think you want those guys tied to your program. I want them to know that I'm open to them and accessible to them and I appreciate what they've done here.

There's not a lot of programs in the country that can say they've won a national championship and had a Heisman Trophy winner. Those are two pretty monumental accomplishments. So I will work very hard to have all the factions that Buff football touches know that I'm open to them, open to their needs, their concerns, their opinions.

Football, in its best light, is a window into many groups. And you want to make sure that you're representing all those groups in appropriate fashion. Those guys are extremely important to us.

BSN: In a general sense, what will Colorado's offense look like?
Hawkins:
We are very excited about being able to combine three offenses that have been very similar in nature. That being Arizona State, Cal and Boise State. If you look over the past five years at productivity, when it comes to scoring and yards and passing and everything, those three schools were up near the top in offensive production. So we're very excited about combining all those things that we've been doing.

But I think all great teams, No. 1, can run the football.

I think it's about scoring and not about time of possession. So I think taking shots down the field, throwing the ball vertical, is extremely important. Being very multiple and being able to mold to the type of talent you have on your team, being able to get everybody involved to the extent they can contribute is important.

It'll be a very exciting, vibrant thing to watch.

BSN: Same question about the defense.
Hawkins:
Again, I think most defenses are built on stopping the run, not letting teams run the ball on you. I think the turnover game on both sides, both offensively and defensively, is huge — not turning it over on offense and creating turnovers on defense. And not giving up big plays.

As you've done this thing a long time, everyone wants to know what the keys to the game are. Well, to me they're about the same every week. They really are.

I think most great teams start on defense, and most great teams start with not letting teams run the football on you.

BSN: You were a special teams coach in the past. Talk about the importance of special teams.
Hawkins:
That's a very interesting area because you're either really good or really bad. There's really no in between. You're either in a position where special teams are going to be very dynamic and help you win games, or they're you're going to implode and lose games because of it. So we put a ton of time into that. A ton of personnel.

Yeah, when you have a former special teams guy as a head coach, you understand the need for that, and that it's not something just to be taken lightly. That's something you recruit to, you scholarship to, you coach to. People will say it's a third of the game. It's really not. If you map it out, it's 20 percent. But I don't know of anybody that wants that 20 percent of their paycheck cut. You better take care of that 20 percent.

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