Tuesday Colorado Football Notes

Inside, notes from Dan Hawkins' weekly press conference. Also, a note on Colorado and Arizona State, which signed a deal to extend their series by two games, one in 2013 and one in 2018.

• Colorado and Arizona State on Tuesday announced they've reached agreement for two more games in the future. The Sun Devils played at Folsom in September, and the Buffs will travel to Tempe next Sept. 8 for the return game in their original home-and-home contract. The two schools will also meet in Boulder (Sept. 14, 2013) and Tempe (Sept. 15, 2018), down the road.

CU athletic director Mike Bohn pointed out the matchup with ASU is "important to our recruiting efforts in the west and provides a quality game for national television exposure."

Head coach Dan Hawkins admitted it's a little bizarre to think about games seven and 12 years from now. He said his main focus this week is Saturday's matchup with Iowa State.

CU's non-conference schedules are now complete for 2007, ‘09, ‘12 and ‘13. Colorado is seeking one opponent in 2008, ‘10 and ‘11.

Hawkins said he prefers to start the season at home. The first game in 2007 and 2008 is vs. Colorado State at Invesco Field in Denver. Hawkins said if it was all about him, he'd want to play that particular matchup at Folsom when it was CU's turn to host. But looking at the larger picture, and how playing the game in Denver can benefit college football statewide, he likes it in Denver.

• Saturday will be the annual Senior Day for the Colorado Buffaloes in their final season of eligibility.

"I told these guys this in the team meeting the other day that (the seniors) could probably write a variety of short stories that most guys didn't have to go through in their college career," Hawkins said. "You certainly feel bad that you couldn't send them out on a better note (than a losing season)."

Hawkins pointed out that football is different than a lot of other sports. College basketball players can find competitive pickup basketball games the rest of their lives, college baseball players can move on to softball leagues once they're done with baseball. But if they don't play professional football, most college football players are done playing the sport after they hang up the collegiate cleats.

"That's always a little sad," he said.

Hawkins again praised members of the senior class on Tuesday for accepting the new coaching staff back when the change was made in December and January. He said the seniors' acceptance of the situation helped set the tone for the team.

As he's been asked numerous times in recent weeks, Hawkins was asked if he's started thinking about next year already in terms of getting younger players playing time and sitting players above them on the depth chart who will not be here next season.

Hawkins responded: "Nope. I told those seniors I'm never going to abandon them. We always try to take this thing a week at a time and a day at a time. That's how I've always been. We're fully centered on trying to beat Iowa State."

• Linebacker Thaddaeus Washington has had some dental work done after cracking two front teeth in Saturday's loss to Kansas State, and is expected to practice some Tuesday.

• Looking back at the loss to Kansas State, Hawkins had no real explanation for why KSU quarterback was so successful against the CU defense (he was 22 of 26 for 251 yards) except that, "He played well. It wasn't that we were surprised by anything, that's for sure."

Starting safeties Ryan Walters and J.J. Billingsley have been banged up (Walters missed much of Saturday's game, Billingsley all of it), but Hawkins said their absence isn't an excuse for poor play. "That's the nature of football. You have to have some depth back there and some experience to get through that."

Hawkins noted a difference in Kansas State's success was that their receivers had a lot of yards after the catch. In other words, the Buffs had a poor day tackling.

He and his staff have done studies in the past that show, on average, you give up 7 more yards if you miss one tackle. On special teams, that number grows to between 17 and 20 yards.

• Iowa State (3-7 overall, 0-6 Big 12) has been hit by injuries this season, and Hawkins said after studying film of the Cyclones he can see how the injuries have affected ISU. After winning their first two games (over Toledo and UNLV), Iowa State has won just one of its past eight games.

• On recruiting: Hawkins said the Buffs will sign between 25 and 31 players this cycle, "depending on how things shake out." Hawkins has been asked how recruiting is going a few times throughout the season. More pointedly, he's been asked how recruits were responding in light of CU's losing season. Again on Tuesday, the coach said, "It's been fine. It really has because I think that those kids know what's going on, and we know what's going on. Their parents know what's going on and their coaches know what's going on.

"There's not the same trepidation of ‘Oh my goodness, you're 1-9' when you can lay out the scenario of why that is and why that won't be the same (in the future). And for people that have known us for 25 years, they have that kind of confidence in us."

Breaking down the numbers: CU currently has 20 known verbal commits for the 2007 class. The NCAA allows no more than 25 signees to count in a given year, and up to 85 total scholarships per team in a given year. However, players who sign in a given year can be counted toward the previous year's class if the previous year's team didn't carry 85 scholarships. Colorado is currently carrying 80 scholarship players.

At least one player in the current crop of verbals, quarterback Nick Nelson, is expected to graduate from junior college in December and sign with CU then. His scholarship would count backwards.

Teams sometimes greyshirt players as well. Though it's not an official, sanctioned move under NCAA rules, players can sign in February, enroll and go to school in the fall, but delay their scholarship until the following January. Cornerback Jonathan Hawkins signed last February, and is in the greyshirt category. He's expected to have a scholarship in January.

About recruiting, Hawkins also said the biggest difference in recruiting for Boise State, a WAC school, and Colorado, a Big 12 program, is the competition. "There's no real difference. Obviously, you're trying to get to that next level when it comes to personnel. But it's just that the competition goes up. Instead of recruiting against maybe lower Pac-10 or Big 12 teams, now you're recruiting against everybody. You know, the best teams everywhere. But part of that is appealing."


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