Hawkins: Offense Has Better Showing

The Buffaloes conducted their third and final scrimmage of fall camp Friday. The affair was closed to public and media. However, Dan Hawkins told reporters afterwards the offense played better than it had in the team's first two scrimmages. Inside, quotes from Hawkins and quarterback James Cox.

Dan Hawkins
In General
Hawkins
: It was much, much cleaner offensively. It was much more efficient. I think there was only one turnover in the game, which was basically the last play of the scrimmage.

(We were) very good in special teams; much more sound there. The defense didn't give up any big plays, and the offense was able to mount some drives and get some things going.

You walk away from the first couple of scrimmages and the defensive coaches are smiling, and maybe this one the offensive coaches are smiling a little bit more.

The defense didn't play bad; I just think the offense was a little more efficient and made some plays.

On honing in on the offensive game plan for Montana State
Hawkins
: As we kind of narrow into the game plan (for Montana State)…you know, our defense is doing so many things on that side of the ball (earlier in camp), it's hard to prepare for that (in a typical scrimmage). If you were going to prepare for all of that in one week, you'd have to minimize, in a sense, what you're doing (on offense) to make adjustments for that. But they're doing more Montana State stuff on defense, and we're running more of those types of things that we anticipate doing against Montana State. So it's an accumulative effect of all those things.

On the running backs
Hawkins
: All of those guys ran pretty well. There are very few guys — I don't care what league you're in — that can be the only guy and pack it 32 times a game. So you better have those guys there to be ready, and that's kind of our plan.

On the punting competition between Matthew DiLallo and Isaac Garden
Hawkins
: Those two guys punted pretty good. They really did. (Crosby) did not punt. He still works at and will continue to work at it. You know, again, I think he's the guy if you've got the ball on your own 20, he punts. He can flip the whole field position over in one play. I think that's still a viable option.

On injuries
Hawkins
: We've got a couple guys, (Dan) Goettsch and Tyson (DeVree) who were out of this deal. And Walter (Boye-Doe) was out of it. But, thankfully, we're starting to get there. That (injury) list is starting to get smaller, which is good.

On the new paint job in the stadium
Hawkins
:I think it's nice. It's interesting how a few subtle things can change it.

On the play of quarterback James Cox
Hawkins
: He did a nice job; very efficient. A nice job in all the situations, he was very, very effective.

On how he feels one week before the first game
Hawkins
: Everybody always asks me that and I'll tell you what: I'm always the same way. I really am. We're getting there. I know sometimes people think (I'm) just saying that…But we've had games where we've won 56-6 and I've thought, ‘Well, we've got to do this, and we've got to do that.

I think we have the makings of a really fine club. I do. We have to be, obviously, efficient. But we're going to be good on defense. I think we're going to be efficient on offense, and I think we're going to be electric in the special teams.

We have to do those things that good things do. If we do all those things, we can have a really fine team and a really fine season.

I think (camp) has been good. I don't think it's been great, and I don't think it's been bad. We've made some strides and we've come a long way in a short period of time. But we've just really got to keep coming. We've got to keep coming.

James Cox
In General
Cox
: I feel like it went good. We did a great job moving the ball. Our tempo was great. We were in and out of the huddle, just getting after the defense on every play. Now we just have to watch the film and find things to improve on and get better.

On earning six-consecutive third-down plays
Cox
: It's very good news. I mean, we've got to move the chains and score. That's something that we've improved on. It's something that we struggled with in the first couple scrimmages. I think the offense kind of had a chip on their shoulder going into this last scrimmage. It really showed that we are working hard.

On his first week of being the starter
Cox
: The first couple practices I feel like I put too much pressure on myself. Like I had to do everything perfect. I went and talked to the coach and he just told me I don't have to do anything special or out of the ordinary. I've just got to go out there and run the offense and do what do best, and that's getting the guys in the right place and getting the ball where it's supposed to be.

So after the first couple days I really settled down, and I've been able to execute and have fun.

Stats
Cox led the first-team offense to six touchdowns in a combination of sustained drives, red zone exercises and other situational drills.

He threw two passes for touchdowns —a 26-yarder to Alvin Barnett, and 4-yard TD to Dusty Sprague.

Crosby converted a 53-yard field goal that would have been good from 65, and a 39-yard field goal.

Stephone Robinson returned two punts for touchdowns, one 66 yards, the other 60.

The first-team offense converted its first six third-down plays for first downs.


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