Hawkins: We got outplayed, we got out coached and we've got to give a lot of credit to Montana State. They came in and they played better than we did and it showed. That's pretty much the sum of it.
Q: How devastating is this?
Hawkins: You know, I've been doing this a long time, and I've lost before. If you can't understand how to deal with losing, you're never going to win. To me, it's only devastating if you let it be that way.
We understand that most people will jump on when it's rosy, but we all find out about ourselves when things aren't so good. In some respect it might be a blessing. We've got to work a little bit harder and come together a little bit more. It's only devastating if you let it be devastating.
Q: Do the players understand that?
Hawkins: We'll see. I think those guys obviously are learning as they go through our situation and where we're at. I've said before all those things are kind of corny, but you find out who you are at this point. Everybody wants to win; that's why you play. But we also know that sometimes you lose. So we need to take that to heart, figure out what those issues are and solve those issues, and use them as a force multiplier.
These guys have not gone through a loss with us (coaches) before, so they're going to be interested in how we handle it. We need to come out tomorrow, win, lose or draw, and get better, and that's what we'll do.
Q: Why did the offense struggle in the second half?
Hawkins: We just couldn't make a play when we needed it. And it was hard to get momentum. We had a few field position issues, but we couldn't make a play when we needed to, whether it was a throw, or a run or the defense failing to come up with a big stop or a kickoff return.
It's interesting when you go back and look at those critical moments in a game, you know maybe the one that doesn't get called back for holding, that kind of sparks us and we score a touchdown and it becomes a different game. The fumble that got called back that we got. If we get that, maybe it becomes a different game. There are little things that you have to capitalize on and our guys need to continue learning that and get better.
Q: Can you assess James Cox's performance before looking at the tape?
Hawkins: When you come out and you're not exactly productive it's not like you're doing back flips, but we need to go back and look at guy's routes and protections and other issues. Clearly you'd love your quarterback to be more productive, at some point he's got a little bit of a learning curve too.
Q: It looked as if Bernard Jackson was ready to go in if you had not lost that kickoff return in the fourth.
Hawkins: Yeah, we had some stuff schemed up for him to use. It wasn't so much that he was in and replacing Cox.
Q: How well was Cox reading the secondary. It looked like he was throwing into double coverage quite a bit.
Hawkins: To some degree, yeah, he'll have to go back and look at it. The nature of a quarterback at some point is to fit it in there. But you go back and look at it, and that one ball went right off of Alvin (Barnett's) hands. If you hit that pass, you get a little momentum going. When you're a young team, you sometimes are looking for answers.
Q: A couple of players on the field said they never would've believed that this could happen. I know you told them that Montana State was a good team, but do you think they underestimated them?
Hawkins: I don't think so. I really don't. But you can turn it into a positive. The same sort of person would say, ‘I could never believe that we could beat so and so. That's part of the learning process is to learn to believe that anything can happen when you play. And you have to be prepared for both ends of that.
Q: How did Daniel Sanders' absence affect the offensive line?
Hawkins: He's a good player in there and we would have liked to have him. But the thing I always say is you don't get bonus points for guys who are injured. You are who you are, and you show up and play with the guys you've got. Those things are no excuses.
Q: The coaching transition is obviously in an early stage, but when adversity strikes do you have to fight the delineation between your guys and their guys?
Hawkins: No, not at all. Not at all. They're our guys. All those guys are all wearing the same colors and we're all on the same team.
Q: Did the defensive coaches have trouble communicating with the players on the field?
Hawkins: When they would come out of the huddle sometimes, you're trying to ascertain what kind of personnel (MSU) has in, so you're trying to match up with that. Sometimes we'd have two or three defensive groups ready to go. And that was how that was going.
Q: What would you say to those who might look at this and say, ‘My God, the season's over?'
Hawkins: In reality, I wouldn't say anything. Everybody's got to make their own opinions and their own judgments. WE can only take care of ourselves. I told you guys before I'm not very patient, I don't like it, the players don't like it. But we have to handle it. And we will.