Buffs Back To Practice Saturday

Colorado head coach Dan Hawkins met with members of the media on Tuesday and fielded questions about the team's bowl plans, walk ons, Sonny Lubick's situation and the Big 12 North.

ON THE BOWL PRACTICE SCHEDULE
Dan Hawkins: "We have generally scaled it out over the next couple of weeks and then we'll just have to finalize it as some things shake out. When we see how that is going to all work out those last couple weeks."

ON BOWL PREFERENCES
Dan Hawkins: "We just want to play. We want to play another game."

ON HOW MANY BOWL PRACTICES THEY GET
Dan Hawkins: "I don't know if we have it totaled out right now, I think that right now it is at 17, and most of those will be here before we leave for the bowl game."

ON PLAYING FOR A BOWL
Dan Hawkins: "You're kind of hanging on the precipice there of not playing again — you had senior day, you had Nebraska, you had the chance to play for a bowl game, you had the chance for a winning season, there was a lot hanging in the balance there. To kind of push through that was a good step.

"That being said, we still have a long ways to go, I don't think anyone wants to look at a 6-6 season and going into a bowl game as a bench mark season. I don't think any Buff coach, player or fan wants to look at it like that.

"What it does is give us a better option than the other one; I think the person who is most thankful is my wife because she doesn't have to put up with me pouting through another offseason. So it was good for all the coaches' wives, particularly mine."

ON BEING WHERE HE WANTS THE TEAM TO BE
Dan Hawkins: "You are never where you think you should be. I mean I think we should be in the National Championship game; I'm just used to shooting for the stars in that way. That being said, we are making progress and you understand the elements you are dealing with, both tangible and intangible and clearly the facilities upgrades, the influx of talent and the increased support all mean a lot. We are pushing in the right direction."

ON HIM SAYING LAST OFFSEASON WAS THE HARDEST OF HIS CAREER
Dan Hawkins: "For me, for most of my career I have just been used to either being in the playoffs or playing in a bowl game. It is like anything else, you get used to doing something then all of a sudden you are saying ‘Pff, I'm not playing,' and that is hard because you are so used to doing that."

ON THE PROGRESSION OF QB CODY HAWKINS
Dan Hawkins: "I think it is interesting, and people have talked about me coaching him and all of that, I think sometimes there are some positives to it. I think that the negatives to it are that the head coach downplays it more than maybe he should or could. You look at two sides of the thing, you say he's a freshman and for a freshman guy in a new system, I don't know where he ended up being ranked in the season passing stats but he was pretty high in terms of the whole CU history and even in total yardage. I think he was in the top 10 or pretty close to breaking the top 10.

"He knows he has a long ways to go and the other side of it is that I am just real proud of how he has handled it. Being the coach's kid and being under fire at some points, and the other side of it, people being overly excited about his play. He has been good about being stable the whole time.

"It is interesting, I'll tell it to you now, you know that first shot he took against Texas Tech he pretty much got knocked out; he didn't remember the rest of the game. He played the rest of the game with a Kleenex stuck up his nose and he didn't make a big deal of it and I didn't make a big deal of it but I was really thinking to myself ‘That's pretty good, that is pretty tough right there.'

"We all have a long ways to go but in general he did a pretty good job for us."

ON WORKING WITH REDSHIRT PLAYERS DURING BOWL PRACTICES
Dan Hawkins: "Usually about the first eight or nine practices, about half of them, are spring ballish. You are trying to keep your ones (first strings) sharp and getting your other guys some work, so that is very beneficial for us. You can't give them too much of an influx of game plan material too early; I think they kind of get burnt out from that and you just have to be careful because you kind of use this time to rebuild your starters mentally, physically and emotionally and that whole thing. Then you also want to get a good amount of work for everyone else too."

ON CU'S NATIONAL EXPOSURE
Dan Hawkins: "I think we have had the blessing that 10 of our games have been on national TV on some level. So, almost anyone who has some kind of interest in our program or our players has had the opportunity to see our guys play. That has definitely helped us, our style of play and tempo of play people appreciate and they have seen what we've gone through over the year and that does a lot for you. That helps you market yourself to people that want to see what you do schematically and for kids who are interested in seeing what kind of football you play."

ON NEXT YEAR'S SCHEDULE
Dan Hawkins: "I am pretty much focused on the bowl game right now, so I haven't really looked that far ahead."

ON COLORADO STATE HEAD COACH SONNY LUBICK
Dan Hawkins: "He is a very class guy. Those people who know him know that he is a genuinely classy guy, so is his wife, and Misty (Hawkins) and I have got to know them a little socially away from football. He has done a lot for Colorado State; he has done a lot for football. He is very well respected as a man and as a coach. He had many opportunities to leave Colorado State and go to "bigger programs" and make more money but he chose to stay at Colorado State and develop that program. He has had some outstanding years there.

"It is interesting, and you guys have heard me talk about it before, the days of the Joe Paterno's (are over) —and I think I looked at a stat a few days ago that the mean of a coaches being somewhere of the coaches who are out right now is five years. It is interesting, and I just don't think you are going to see the Joe Paterno's and the Bobby Bowden's anymore, I mean Sonny has been there a long time, but I think the sun is setting on those type of tenures. I'm not saying that I like that, because I really don't but it is kind of what is happening. But he is a good guy, a solid guy and a solid football coach."

ON TEXAS A&M HIRING MIKE SHERMAN
Dan Hawkins: "Obviousl,y he has tremendous experience, tremendous credentials and tremendous contacts down there. It will be one more barnburner game so strap it on. It's kind of a who's who of coaches so it'll be another tough game, a tough road on the Big 12 map."

ON THE IMPROVEMENT AT KANSAS AND MISSOURI
Dan Hawkins: "I am never totally surprised; it is interesting when you look at what has gone on at those programs. They kind of weathered the storm with the coaching staff, hung in there with them and established some continuity and then I don't know the exact dollar amount but both of those programs have put $40-$50 million into their program in the last few years because they are tired of getting spanked around. They want to get back into the hunt.

"The reality of college football, particularly in the last 10-15 years is that it has been a little arms race-ish. They have made an investment in their coaching staff, an investment in their facilities and said ‘Hey we are going to get back in this deal.' Anytime you do that it usually provides a benefit."

ON REDSHIRT PLAYERS
Dan Hawkins: "I think that one of the reasons that we have been better as a football team has been our scout team. I think that both our offensive and defensive line have been better. I've had years where our team has basically gone against trash cans, and that is a tough thing to do. They have done a nice job; I think that [Strength & Conditioning] Coach [Jeff] Pitman has really liked them in the weight room. They've gotten a lot bigger, a lot stronger, so we are excited to get them in the mix and to single out one guy probably wouldn't be fair because there are a bunch of them who have done a nice job."

ON THE BIG 12 CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Dan Hawkins: "When they played last time it came down to turnovers, Missouri turned it over and that hurt them. It was a close game and I think that will be part of the answer again this week. It is interesting because you've had a little bit of attrition over at Oklahoma, they had a defensive tackle that was missing against us and they have since lost a defensive end. I would expect it'll be an excellent football game and like most games it will come down to turnovers or a big play on special teams, they are two very good football teams."

ON CB TERRENCE WHEATLEY AND DT GEORGE HYPOLITE BEING NAMED FIRST TEAM ALL-BIG 12
Dan Hawkins: "Obviously it was tough to not have T-Wheat (Wheatley) the last couple of games, both from a physical standpoint as well as an emotional standpoint. George has played very, very well and I think that both he and [DT] Brandon [Nicolas] have played very well for us in there. One of the benefits of getting to play in a bowl game is that you get Terrence healthy and he gets to go out playing rather then standing on the sidelines so that is big."

ON DT GEORGE HYPOLITE
Dan Hawkins: "One thing is that he is a very smart football player, and people would always love to stereotype any football player, particularly a defensive lineman. I think there are very few times that they line up in a formation where he doesn't know what they like to do from that formation. He can stand there and tell you, by in large, what they are going to do or at least what they have done out of that formation. He is also a very strong person up front and a good technician and [Defensive Line Coach] Romeo [Bandison] has done a good job with teaching him technique in terms of how to take on blocks and use his hands. It is just a combination of those things."

ON POTENTIALLY NOT HAVING HYPOLITE FOR NEBRASKA
Dan Hawkins: "You never know, you hope those guys are coming around and he was coming around and feeling better. [Head trainer] Miguel [Rueda] was feeling good with his progress and fortunately we did get him, we subbed a little more then we usually do but it worked out okay."

ON TEAMS HAVING MORE OFFENSIVE SUCCESS AGAINST CU THE LAST THREE GAMES
Dan Hawkins: "I think a little bit of it was A, the style of team we are playing and the other thing is just being banged up and nicked up. I mean we go to Iowa State and we had two of our starting defensive backs out (CB Terrence Wheatley and Safety Ryan Walters), and I'm not using that as an excuse because you have to have your backups ready to go. Then having T-Wheat down against Nebraska, so it was just a combination of the quality of the teams we were playing and being nicked up a little."

ON MAKING RECRUITING VISITS
Dan Hawkins: "Yeah, we're grinding. I'm going out today, we have everybody out—they took off Sunday. [We have] roughly 18 scholarships, maybe a few more but that is roughly how many we have to offer."

ON IDENTIFYING POTENTIAL WALK-ONS
Dan Hawkins: "Yeah we are identifying some, and it is a mix of guys who don't have offers or they don't have offers from the right teams and they look at our history with giving walk-ons the opportunity to gain a scholarship down the road. They talk to our players and former walk-ons about the opportunities they have got and they think that they may be better off to come to Colorado and walk-on because it is where I want to be rather than going somewhere else. I think we are starting establish that sort of tradition which is good and you look at your numbers scholarship wise and you tell the kid that we are looking to have x-amount of scholarship guys at this position but even based off of this year we are not always going to be full at this particular position scholarship wise so their chances to earn one will be pretty good."

ON HOW CLOSE CU IS TO HAVING DEPTH AT ALL POSITIONS
Dan Hawkins: "We still have some spots where we have two class gaps and have some work to do there. We'll probably be a little better after this year but I think the following year will be the year where we will be able to cinch it up and go. You just don't want to have a lot of that on your depth chart where you go from a senior to a freshman or something to that extent."

ON WHETHER THE COACHING STAFF WILL STAY INTACT
Dan Hawkins: "I hope so, I hope so. I will tell you this though, we have a very good staff, a very respected staff and I think we had probably maybe six of those guys who could have left for a lot more money last year. Hopefully we will get to return most if not all of those guys because I think that goes a long way to establishing continuity and familiarity with what is going on. You look at how many coaches have left Bob Stoops' staff and there are a lot of guys on our staff who have the potential to do that down the road if they so choose."


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