Hawkins Calls Out QBs

After hitting a bit of a wall on Wednesday, head coach Dan Hawkins called out the team's four quarterbacks before Thursday morning's session, telling them to set a better tone. The team responded with a spirited practice. Inside, notes from Thursday morning's session.

Practice No. 12 on Wednesday morning didn't go well. Players were letting fatigue from the grind of August camp get to them. While an afternoon at Water World may have helped rejuvenate some spirits, head coach Dan Hawkins decided to have a conversation with the team's four quarterbacks prior to Thursday morning's practice and try and get them to take some responsibility for how things would go.

"I said this practice is on you," Hawkins said. "I better see you slapping people on the back, I better see you kicking people in the butt. It better be both."

It worked. Turns out the tone of Thursday morning's practice was closer to where it needs to be.

"You just need to have a little fire in the belly, a little resolve," Hawkins said. "Some guys are willing to battle back, and I thought they did that today. I thought they executed better too. But the attitude you can always control. I thought that was much better on both sides. Much better tempo and enthusiasm, leadership."

Among the quarterbacks, the "leadership" element could be a key in deciding on a starter in the next few days. Hawkins said again Thursday that he has not considered taking the redshirt off true freshman Cody Hawkins. That leaves Brian White, James Cox and Bernard Jackson still in the hunt.

Since Sunday's scrimmage, Cox — who was widely considered to be the darkhorse at the position coming into fall camp — has earned more reps with the first team than he had been given previously.

"He's just done a nice job when he's been in there of making calls right and getting things right and getting the ball to the right guy, moving the club," Hawkins said. "You can't deny him on that aspect."

Likewise, Jackson has been getting more with the second team this week, and even some time with the ones, after he ran for 128 yards in the scrimmage — all against the third-team defense.

The threesome's performance in Friday night's scrimmage should go a long ways in determining who will be named starter for the Sept. 2 opener vs. Montana State. Hawkins said they'll likely name a starting quarterback over the weekend. However, Hawkins hinted that seating a QB in the No. 1 chair may still be subject to change after that.

"It might be a razor thin seating, but that's how it goes sometimes," he said.

Thursday Morning Practice Notes
• Senior offensive lineman Jack Tipton has been working at tackle the past three days. He was running with the ones Thursday morning. OL coach Chris Strausser wanted to let Tipton find a groove at guard this camp, but since Edwin Harrison has been out with a shoulder issue, Tipton — who has played both guard and tackle in his four years in Boulder — has seen time on the edge. Redshirt-freshman Paul Backowski has also been practicing in Harrison's place. But it looks as though Tipton will be the line's sixth man, and sub in at either guard or tackle if the need arises.

• While the team was splashing in the water and riding the water slides Wednesday afternoon at Water World, Strausser spent the time in the shade working on offensive line plans.

• Thursday morning's practice was highly competitive. One of the loudest of the camp so far. Above the hollering and screaming, one consistent voice that was heard was Cody Hawkins.

Taj Kaynor was running with the first-team defense with George Hypolite out and Alex Ligon out Thursday morning. (Hypolite is expected back soon). Kaynor sacked a QB, then came back a few plays later and intercepted a poor-decision pass by Brian White.

Kaynor moving up has moved freshman Jason Brace into the DT spot with the second team. Brace said he lived in the weightroom in high school. He benched 396 in late July. He said camp has been an eye opener. "Everyone hits harder, everyone's faster, everyone's stronger. Everyone knows what they're doing," Brace said.

• Freshman Scott McKnight made a nice play in 11-on-11 situation, grabbing a pass in the flat, juking Terrence Wheatley and gaining good yardage.

• Freshman linebacker Michael Sipili continues to impress. He was getting some time with the twos at the mike (inside) linebacker position.

Ryan Walters is still out of pads. Jarrell Yates was out of pads Thursday morning, as well.

• While Hawkins liked how the offense responded on Thursday, after a poor showing Wednesday, they still had to run five gassers afterward because of turnovers.

• Friday's scrimmage is scheduled at Folsom Field from 6:15-8:45, and it IS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

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