Dan Hawkins: I was happy for the seniors to go out on a winning note at Folsom Field. That's big. There's a lot of tradition here, and that's awesome. I think it speaks to the fact that despite all the adversity they've had, they've never tanked it. They keep coming back and battling. And we were able to make a few plays.
Unfortunately, I wanted to go the whole game without punting (but had to on the final possession). I've had a few of those games in my career. I started feeling that old "we can do what we want to do on offense" kind of mentality. A couple glitches here and there. I love Mason and it's great for him to knock field goals. But you'd like to convert some of those (four) into touchdowns and be able to get to that next level.
But overall I was pretty happy.
Q: You came out and attacked immediately down field. Why was that?
Hawkins: We just felt we could.
Q: On the play calling
Hawkins: Calling plays is a lot like (basketball). If you get one shot every three minutes, it's tough to get in a rhythm. That's hard for an offense, and it's hard for an offensive coordinator too. And so what happens is, you really start getting constricted. Then that limits a little bit of your creativity and the guys don't play relaxed. I thought today, Mark (Helfrich) was able to get in a rhythm and start dialing up the defense and seeing some things and making some adjustments. It was good for him as a play caller and it was good for our offense.
Q: Can you talk about the play of Bernard Jackson?
Hawkins: He did a great job. But there were some instances where Coach Helfrich had some choice words for him. The nature of our program, and particularly quarterback, is that you really seek perfection. There were a couple of times where he didn't get some things, but I thought overall he played pretty darn well.
Q: Will anything he's done this year affect whether he gets the starting job next year?
Hawkins: I'm one of those guys that it doesn't matter whether you're 2-9 or you're 9-2, whether you're coach of the year or all-conference. And I seriously mean this: once the year's over, it's over. There's no returning starters. We'll find out who wants to put in time in the video room, we'll find out who wants to lift, who wants to go out and do extra things and throw, and then once we get into spring ball, who can make plays.
I just think the notion of granting emeritus status to anybody is not a healthy way to grow your football program.
It obviously gives him some confidence, and it helps us, as well. But once the season's over, it's a full-blown race for every guy at every position to prove they ought to play next year.
Q: Can you talk about Mell Holliday?
Hawkins: Tough runner. And that obviously showed. That guy has good vision and he's a bulldog in there. And I think some of that gets started up front, too. Our o-line did pretty well too.
Q: Was it good to get Mark Fenton in there at center?
Hawkins: Yeah. Again, him being a senior it was great to see him battle back (from injury) and get in there. Strauss was able to roll him in there.
Q: Jack Tipton played a lot of right tackle today.
Hawkins: Yeah, we're just trying to drum up competition and get that going. I think we've had a little bit of inconsistency over there and we're just trying to get that thing shored up. Tippy's been battling and coming. I think you have to keep throw some extra spices in the soup to come up with a better recipe there.
Q: Have you every had a crowd cheer for a 4th down (field goal attempt) like that?
Hawkins: It's interesting. As you go along with the growth of your program. We have great fans and we talked about that early on (this year) that when you send Mason out, everybody starts screaming and yelling. It's the nature of it. You normally would not like that. But it's not tennis.
Q: Did fans get a glimpse today of what this program can be today?
Hawkins: I guess you'd have to ask them. As you all know, I don't know what their perception is. But I think for us, we showed some signs and some continuity. There's been some real glimpses in the last couple weeks with Bernard and what he can do both running and throwing. I think all that's promising.
Q: What does that give you looking forward to the Nebraska game?
Hawkins: You certainly want to go in there with some momentum. Lord knows, we've had to strap it on every week and battle the Big L. Guys have done a great job of that. It certainly is a lot easier when there's a win.
Q: What do you think was going on with all the penalties in the first half?
Hawkins: We'll find out tomorrow when we hit the grass what was going on with those penalties.