Tuesday Colorado Football Notes

Colorado head coach Dan Hawkins met members of the media Tuesday for his weekly press conference. Inside, notes from the meeting.

Looking back at loss to Missouri

Dan Hawkins started his weekly blog with an apology of sorts. Asked about why he felt the need to do that on Tuesday, Hawkins said, "That (loss to Missouri) was a tough deal. A tough deal. And I think anybody associated with the program, you walk away from that thing going, ‘Wow.' That was a tough day at the ball yard."

Do it again, do it better Colorado gave up 598 yards to Missouri in the 55-10 loss last Saturday. Among those yards were several big plays. On some of them, MU receivers got behind the CU secondary and hauled in long passes from a well-protected Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel.

Would CU change its defense if they played Missouri again? Probably not, Hawkins said. On several of Missouri's big plays, Colorado players just got beat.

"That's one of those things in sports where you tip your hat," he said. "There were a couple of busts here and there, but they're a very good football team. You walk out of a game like that and it's not just because we didn't do things — they're very good."

He pointed to the play when Daniel scrambled away from CU pressure, found tight end Chase Coffman, who broke a handful of tackles, leaped over a CU defender and scored.

"That's a great quarterback and a great tight end making plays," Hawkins said. "That's not a scheme thing."

Reason to pull QB Starting quarterback Cody Hawkins was pulled vs. Missouri late in the third quarter and replaced with backup Nick Nelson because of the fumble he committed. It's the same policy that put Hugh Charles on the bench for several series after fumbling two games previous.

So, bottom line, what happened? On Tuesday, Hawkins several times said that bottom line he got beat by Missouri. He shouldered the blame for the loss.

"Ultimately, we got our fannies whipped, and that's my fault," he said.

But looking beyond that bottom line for explanation how a team that has looked good at times, could play so poorly, Hawkins said the Buffs are still in the process of creating a culture of winning.

Most of the breakdowns, when they occurred Saturday, were (lack of) experience related. Hawkins didn't lay the experience tag on the young players, but it's important to note CU plays as many as 10 freshmen or redshirt freshmen in significant roles this season, including five who have started on offense.

He also gave some insight into what he thinks of the Tigers

"I think Missouri is the best team we've played," Hawkins said. "I think they could be possibly a national champion type team. How many years ago, they wanted to run Gary (Pinkel) out?

"Well, I look at their players and they've got good players, they've got a good scheme, and they're in full command of that scheme. Those guys are like the Blue Angels — they're flying a pretty coordinated jet group there."

Looking ahead at Iowa State

In general "They've been getting progressively better," Hawkins said. "Obviously, they've battled some teams and taken some teams to the wall and weren't able to get it done, but did against K-State.

"They're not afraid to attack you and not afraid to do things differently in all three phases of the game."

Facing two QBs Saturday? The Buffs expect to see two Iowa State quarterbacks. Senior Bret Meyer has begun sharing reps with redshirt freshman Austen Arnaud of late.

On Meyer, Hawkins said: "He's done a good job. The guy can run. I know they kind of look at the other guy as their runner, but he's very adept at running the ball, as well.

"He's probably turned the ball over a little more than they wanted, but he's very capable of making the big play. Anytime you have a guy who can run around that's difficult.

"And, he's got experience. That helps them as well."

"I think there biggest thing is I think they're trying to bring their young guy along and give him some snaps. He did a nice job last week (in the win over Kansas State)."

On the ISU defense Hawkins said: "They'll mix up how they play 4-3. And they'll mix up how they bring man and zone (pressure). They will involve some of the concepts we've seen from most of the teams we've seen here down the stretch."

Other Notes

Bowl game question, take III? Hawkins has been asked about the possibility of playing in a bowl game for the past three weeks. With Colorado currently 5-5, they need one win to become bowl eligible (though that doesn't assure them of a bowl invite). In weeks past, Hawkins has kept the focus on the game ahead, rather that talk about a possible bowl berth. Tuesday, he admitted he had brought up the possibility of playing a postseason game with his team this past Sunday.

Hawkins said broaching the subject with the players was part motivation and part logistics. If the Buffs are to play in a bowl game, they need to up their level of play. And bowl games take planning, so that comes in to play, too.

"The bottom line is, we need to play better, we need to coach better, we need to be better," he said. "If we do have some hopes and aspirations of playing in a bowl game, then we've got to do a much better job the next three weeks."

Walters' Status Up In Air Hawkins said "we'll see" when asked if junior safety Ryan Walters would play Saturday. Walters was taken to an area hospital for tests toward the end of the Missouri game after nearly passing out on the sidelines. If Walters can't play, senior Lionel Harris would likely play in his place.

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