Hawkins' Monday Press Conference Notes

Colorado head coach and a handful of CU players met with members of the media Monday for the team's regular game week press conference. Inside, notes from the session.

• Everyone who follows Colorado football knows that former coach Bill McCartney set the program's sites on Nebraska back in the early 1980s, earmarking them as CU's rival.

It will be interesting to see how the rivalry evolves from Colorado's perspective over the next few years with Dan Hawkins and his staff in Boulder. Hawkins was aware of the Colorado-Nebraska rivalry the past several years, in part because of the national exposure it's had being played on ABC the day after Thanksgiving.

Though Hawkins doesn't seem to be soaked in the rivalry as McCartney or Gary Barnett were, he was saying things CU fans may want to hear on Monday.

"It is one of the big games on our schedule, and in the tradition of Colorado football, it is a big game. Particularly, given the way our season has been. It gives it more significance," he said.

Hawkins added that a team's final game is always a big deal, no matter who it's playing.

"I've had a few seasons where we lost the last game," he said. "That thing lingers. You cannot shake it until you get going again (the next season). But I think it can be a catalyst for your offseason program."

• Hawkins is already preparing himself for withdrawal from bowl game practices. This December will mark the first time since the 2001 season — Hawkins' first as head coach at Boise State — when a team he's been involved with didn't play in a bowl game. Before that, 1998 and 1994 were the only times a team he's been part of were home for the holidays.

Like most coaches, Hawkins said bowl preparations are typically good for the young players to get extra practice time, and good for the fans. However, no bowl game means the staff will have more time to devote solely to close the deal on what's shaping up to be a good recruiting class.

"It is always a difficult time when you're game planning (for a bowl) and recruiting," Hawkins said. "When you've got two things going on full bore at the same time, that's always hard.

"But it will not be fun staying home for the holidays."

• Both Colorado and Nebraska were idle this past Saturday and will have had nearly two weeks to prepare for the Nov. 24 game. Hawkins said the plusses to the extra prep time are players having an opportunity to get healthy, and you get a little more practice time on the game plan. On the flip side, the danger can be in over game-planning – trying to do more than you're capable of — and possibly not being as sharp from the week away from real game action, the coach said.

• Senior center Mark Fenton is expected to start Friday. Fenton returned to action on a part-time basis in CU's win over Iowa State. He had been out since injuring his leg in the Georgia game.

• Hawkins said redshirt-freshman Matthew DiLallo will get the call at punter. DiLallo had been replaced in the lineup two games ago. But Hawkins said DiLallo has been booming the ball in practice as of late.

• The Buffs expect a good game from what Hawkins says is an offense that has "no weakness. They're good up front. I think the quarterback is a very good leader who makes good decisions. He's a winner type game. Good solid running game. Some guys that can go make plays at wide receiver. There a good football team. There's no part of their game that you go – either by strategy or by personnel – well, we can get after that."

• With the BCS Championship picture starting to sort itself out, Hawkins was asked Monday if he prefers a playoff set up to determine a championship team. Hawkins said he's not in favor of a playoff, but likes the idea of a "one and" system.

• Asked if he's gotten any help from former Colorado players in order to get up for Friday's game, Hawkins said "I've certainly talked to some of those guys. But I've been doing this a long time and nobody needs to help me get up for the game."

• Senior placekicker Mason Crosby said he's heard from Nebraska fans recently via his page on Facebook.com.

• Crosby, who toyed with the idea of leaving school for the NFL after last season, doesn't have regrets about coming back to play his senior season at CU despite the team's 2-9 record and what some might say is an off year for the kicker — he's hit 19 of 27 field goals this fall.

"I'm not disappointed about what's happened this season," Crosby said. "I think I've become a better player and a better person because of it. Being around a team that can go through all this adversity and not give in, not quit, it's kind of been an unbelievable learning experience."