Tuesday CU Football Notes

Inside, notes from Dan Hawkins' Tuesday press conference, where the CU head coach talked about the Buffs' next opponent, Texas Tech, the CU tailback rotation, Bernard Jackson's continued development and more.

Texas Tech has thrown 304 passes through six games, averaging 50 passes a game. The closest to the 304 number in the Big 12 is Baylor, which has thrown 268 times. Hawkins faced as prolific a passing team in Hawaii when he coached at Boise State. But Hawkins warned that the Red Raiders will run the ball, too. Though they've attempted a league-low 100 rushes, TTU is averaging 5.0 yards per carry.

• Tech has been its normal prolific offense this season, but TCU held them to just 3 points and Missouri beat them 38-21. In both cases, the opposing defenses were able to keep Texas Tech off balance. Hawkins said when defending a team like TTU, "You have to mix it up a little bit. I don't think you can just play back and you can't just attack."

• Colorado played and lost to Baylor last weekend with starting safeties J.J. Billingsley (knee) and Ryan Walters (stinger) on the bench. Asked if not having their services affected the game, Hawkins indicated it did, but would only offer the understatement, "There was a little bit of an effect there." Billingsley will miss Saturday's game with TTU, and possibly the next week's game, too. However, Walters is expected back in the lineup this Saturday.

• Sophomore cornerback Gardner McKay may see more action this week, but he's still recovering from an ankle injury, which has slowed his quest for playing time.

• The coaches' office at Dal Ward is getting a new software package installed into some of its computers, possibly Tuesday evening. It's similar to the software Hawkins and his staff had at Boise State, one that would complete in depth statistical analysis quickly. Once installed, coaches will be able to look at the data on Sunday mornings after Saturday games.

• It's the midway point in the 12-game season and the Buffs are winless. Hawkins chuckled at a reporter's question about things he hopes to improve on in the second half of the season. He said it's a "huge, long list."

He then said, "I think the thing that probably separates us from being 0-6 and maybe 4-2, or 5-1 or 3-3, is again just making a couple critical plays here or there. That's probably the biggest thing that we need to find and get over the hump with a little bit. That'll happen, and that'll come. You don't know when those breakthrough moments will come, but these guys have been knocking on the door for a while. It'll happen."

• The Colorado offense is all about player personnel packages. One of the places that's obvious is at tailback, where the trio of Hugh Charles, Byron Ellis and Mell Holliday have rotated in and out much of the season, depending on the situation. Saturday was perhaps the most effective game for the trio as they rushed for a combined 177 yards and each found the end zone once.

Hawkins said CU offensive coaches keep close watch on their own tendencies, and he's confident they mix things up enough so that they're not giving away their plays by which tailback is in the game.

• Asked how far he wants quarterback Bernard Jackson to have come by the end of the season, Hawkins said no player would probably ever get to where he wants them to get. He went on to talk about the quarterback specifically, because that position needs to be like an assistant coach on the field, locker room, meetings, etc.

Some of the better quarterbacks at Boise State would stop practice and demand to re-run a play if they messed it up. They'd also display confidence in meetings when coaches would talk about personnel decisions, speaking up about who they want on the field with them.

Jackson is not at that level in his development yet, Hawkins said.