Dan Hawkins: It's really great to be on the grass. Every year always bring a new excitement and new joy. This is actually my 25th year. It's scary, but [there is] also a lot of excitement, a lot of new things and many positive signs; and [we] had a tremendous off-season.
Twenty to 25 freshmen will factor in somewhere. I'm not a depth chart guy; I'm into guys who contribute. Having a year underneath our belt has been great and I feel we've made a lot of strides. I like the way that we are practicing right now.
On the importance of Game No. 1
Hawkins: All first games are important for a lot of reasons. Statistically, in football if you win your opening game about 70 percent [of the time] you are going to have a winning season. At Colorado, 82 percent [of the time] you win your opener, the Buffs have had a winning season. That is critical; you are trying to establish your self that way.
On when they'll name a starting quarterback
Hawkins: That will be official not until the week before the game, but Cody [Hawkins] and Nick [Nelson] have had their moments. It's kind of a horse race and whoever goes outs and runs that will be the guy. Each respects each other and I like the way the handle each other. They're both winners, both very smart and both competitive.
On freshman OL Ryan Miller
Hawkins: The guy has only practiced twice and I like all those guys in the trenches; I like their work ethic, their intelligence, their toughness, their talent level. They are going to be a formidable group in the next few years and Ryan is certainly in that mix. He faces the most scrutiny because of who he is, but he's doing a great job. He's our kind of guy and he is a salt of the earth guy.
On senior TB Hugh Charles
Hawkins: Hugh has a tremendous amount of talent. He is extremely fast, explosive and very strong for his size. We are trying to get him to aspire to the next level of performance—trying to have a passion every time he gets the ball. All great backs, if you block it for 12 [yards], they get 25 and we want him to be one of those guys. To his credit so far in camp he has been that.
On sophomore TE Riar Geer
Hawkins: Last year, we were new, college football was new to him and tight end was new to him. I really have high expectations for him because he fits the model of the next great Colorado tight end. He has smarts, he can run, he can snatch and [he is] great at the line of scrimmage. I want him to be a leader, a force and a mainstay in our offense.
On senior Bernard Jackson
Hawkins: That guy can fit in at al lot of places and we need to be creative about giving the ball to him. At quarterback, tailback, receiver, at returner — let him have an opportunity with the ball in his hands.
On CB Terrence Wheatley
Hawkins: I like to be creative with him, whether you run a reverse to him or you throw something vertical. When you have that kind of speed you want to try to utilize it a little bit. He's fast.
On whether the team is this year than last
Hawkins: Yeah, I think they are! Toughness comes in a verity of ways. It is consistency, showing up every day. Toughness is being able to handle the positive things as well. Toughness is being consistent in your preparation so that you know that you have the right to success. I see assertiveness happening on the team. It comes in the form of discipline. I see a lot of signs that we are filling our sprits and feeling it on Saturdays. We're Buffaloes, lets go out and here's our music.
On senior kicker Kevin Eberhart
Hawkins: He is a solid kicker and may not have the same range as Mason [Crosby], but few guys do outside of Tom Dempsey. He has a chance to be a very good kicker; he has good pop and the ball comes off his leg. I think he'll do some good things.