"On film, they look considerably faster than we do," Hawkins noted with a sardonic tone on Tuesday. Hawkins thinks Florida State is faster and more athletic than Arizona State, the team who beat the Buffs last weekend. While FSU is fast at the skill positions, they're also pretty quick up front on the defensive line, something that could give the Buffs trouble.
The way to combat speed? Detailed execution and aggressiveness, Hawkins said.
• Or, you can add a little bit of speed to your own lineup. That's what the Buffs hope to do if, as expected, senior tailback Hugh Charles and freshman receiver Josh Smith return to the active list Saturday. Charles (hamstring) is the fastest tailback, and Smith (bruised kidney) is among the fastest wide outs on the squad.
• Florida State has struggled in their first two games, a loss at ACC foe Clemson and a come-from-behind win at home over UAB. The struggles on offense are largely due to the players getting used to a new offensive system. In both games, FSU started off poorly, then played better in the second half.
• The ‘Noles have big receivers in Greg Carr (6-foot-6) and De'Cody Fagg (6-3). Hawkins said it's not something the Buffs are worried extra about, though, because they face big receivers often.
• Florida State has given up an average of 125.5 rushing yards in its first two games. CU couldn't generate any run game vs. Arizona State. The Buffs managed just 32 yards on 27 rushes. Hawkins said after reviewing film from the game, the reason is the offensive line played poorly in the first half, and running back Demetrius Sumler didn't respond in the second, when the OL started playing a little better.
• One of the keys this week to the Buffs' success will be how well the youngish team responds to both a defeat and the challenge to play a nationally visible opponent like the ‘Noles on national television at home. The game, broadcast on ESPN, is scheduled to kick off at 8:10 p.m.
• Hawkins doesn't put a lot of weight into the possible advantage of hosting a team like FSU who is used to playing close to sea level. The altitude factor, Hawkins said, comes more into play if you're running a 10k road race. Plus, he pointed out, FSU is fairly deep at a lot of positions. They can sub well if players get tired.
• Thus far, only two true freshmen — WR Kendrick Celestine and PK Tyler Cope — have played this season. More could follow in the coming weeks, though. Coaches want to see a true freshman be ready physically, mentally and emotionally before they take the redshirt of his back.
Hawkins said OL Ryan Miller, Kai Maiava and Mike Iltis, WR Josh Smith and Markques Simas, TB Brian Lockridge, DE Conrad Obi, LB Nate Vaiomounga and DB Anthony Perkins and Anthony Wright are the closest to being ready to play. (Smith, would have played if not for his preseason injury).
• TE Riar Geer led the team with 24 catches in 2006. Through two games this season, CU tight ends have caught just six balls. Hawkins said that's mostly due to what the defensive coverages they've faced has allowed CU to do in the passing game. On the other hand, WR Scott McKnight has 14 catches so far, just 10 shy of Geer's total from a year ago.
• Hawkins said the program expects from 10 to 12 recruits in town for official visits this weekend.
• Meanwhile, it's looking more and more like Bernard Jackson won't play during his final season of eligibility at Colorado. The former quarterback was expected to play a major role as tailback, receiver, quarterback and returner this fall. But his GPA fell below minimum standards, leaving Jackson to scramble to try and improve that average with an online course, which began late in the summer.
Hawkins said on Tuesday there's no specific timeline on when or if Jackson's could be declared eligible. At this point, though, Hawkins said his biggest concern is helping Jackson create some stability in his life. Jackson has already gone through the wringer in his young life. For one, Jackson's baby son had surgery in one of his eyes after it was cancerous over a year ago.
Hawkins didn't elaborate on any more personal struggles Jackson may be dealing with currently. But he said he meets with Jackson every day. "He needs stability," the coach said, "which, unfortunately, in this world does not happen for some kids."