Media Day Musings, Part II

Dan Hawkins met with roughly 40 members of the media Tuesday at the team's annual Media Day in the Dal Ward Center. Inside, Part II of notes, quotes and musings from the event.

Dan Hawkins learned a lesson about a head coach micro-managing assistant coaches, particularly when it comes to game-day playcalling, when he was an offensive coordinator. He was responsible for playcalling, but in one game his head coach overruled him on a crucial fourth and short play. Thing is, Hawkins had been on a staff with the opposing defensive coordinator, understood his way of thinking, and figured he had a good play called. Sure enough, the play the head coach ran failed. Hawkins ruined an expensive head set on the sidelines.

All that to say, he doesn't micro-manage his coordinators. "I always swore when I got to be a head coach, I wasn't gonna go, ‘You're the coordinator when it's convenient, but I'm the coordinator (when I want to be)," he said.

So, Mark Helfrich will call the plays from upstairs in the booth. That doesn't mean, however, that Hawkins won't put his two cents in, he will. And he'll have input in game week planning.

• Offensively, they're not going to be the type of team that runs the same five or six plays over and over. They'll tend to game plan for their opponent each week. During game week, Hawkins will help o-line coach Chris Strausser with the run game, help with short-yardage ideas. They'll divide the passing game up between Helfrich and receivers coach Eric Kiesau.

• Don't know what he did to get in the doghouse, but senior safety Tyrone Henderson's suspension is of the "indefinite" type.

• Running back Thomas Perez's paperwork had still not come through from Compton CC as of Tuesday afternoon. He was wearing a sleeveless shirt at Media Day. He looks like a linebacker, a budding defensive end, even. Hopefully, we'll get to see how he looks with the ball in his hands sometime soon.

• They're counting on Matthew DiLallo to win the punting job. But Mason Crosby might be used in some situations, just to keep team's guessing.

"It might be nice if we get in a position where we are backed up and we need a guy that can punt the ball 80 yards," Hawkins said.

• As we all know, Hawkins has been a madman the last seven months in terms of getting out and speaking in public. He figures he's averaged five or six speaking engagements a week since January. It's something that comes naturally to him, and it's been a much-needed publicity campaign for a program that was dragged through the mud the past few years. But Hawkins doesn't hold any illusions about the bridges he's tried to help build if the team doesn't win on Saturdays.

"You can say whatever you want and have a great smile and be a real friendly guy but if you are 0-5, none of that matters," he said, without smiling. "So we've got to come out on the field and get something done."

• Not sure when team captains will be elected, and not sure yet how they will go about that. But Hawkins has met with the seniors about team leadership, and has leaned on three seniors in particular — Mason Crosby, Brian Daniels and Thaddaeus Washington — in that department.

He got philosophical on the idea of player leadership: "Every great team has to overcome their coaching. Once you go through that it really is the truth, because the leaders and the cumulative consciousness on that team have really got to be responsible for what happens in the locker room, in the training room and across campus. There needs to be that cumulative effect that both hugs guys and kicks them in the pants. To have a great team you have to have great leaders because the head coach cannot spend the amount of time that all those players do with themselves. I've been impressed with what they have been doing so far."

A reporter was dogging Hawkins about his picture on the cover of the football media guide. It features Hawkins, Eddie Crowder and Bill McCartney. I hadn't taken a real close look, so checked it out, and it's not the most flattering shot of the new head coach. Hawkins was self-deprecating and said the guy who took the photo "didn't have much to work with."

But it led to something interesting. Hawkins got fired up talking about his connection with Crowder and McCartney. He's been leaning on them a lot for advice and perspective. He talked about how he's now got a pipeline that goes beyond Crowder to Bud Wilkinson, Crowder's mentor at Oklahoma, and beyond McCartney to Bo Schembechler, McCartney's mentor at Michigan.

Sort of like the kid in a candy store thing

"Last time I met with Coach Crowder he was talking about hanging out with Bear Bryant and Vince Lombardi and I wasn't sure whether I should cry or take notes," Hawkins quipped


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