IN THE SPOTLIGHT
A Conversation With Coach Hawk
Editors note: We thought you would be interested in this interview with Head Football Coach Dan Hawkins, courtesy of the CU Sports Information department.
How much of a feel have you gotten for your players?
"From a personality standpoint, I think we are getting a real good feel for them. Athletically we've been able to see them do a few things, but when you get out there and play football, sometimes those things change. Seeing how a guy reacts under pressure and how he competes are yet to be determined."
How many Colorado games have you watched over the years?
"I watched the Nebraska game (2004) at Lincoln. I caught a little bit of the Texas game this year and I caught a little bit of the Clemson game. The most significant game I remember previous to that was the Oregon game (2001 Fiesta Bowl). I've watched probably four or five games on film. I want to watch enough where as I can get a feel for things but not so much that I would have an over-inflated value of a player."
Do you put a lot of stock into watching players on film from previous seasons, or do you just want to start fresh with everybody in the spring?
"I want us to always have the sort of mentality that we are starting new every year. When you get to the spring, I don't care if you have a senior quarterback coming back, that guy has got to go back out and start all over and prove himself. There are no locked positions on this team."
What are your offensive philosophies?
"We really believe in a good, solid running game and being multiple with that. I think the biggest fallacy with our offence is that people think we are just going to chuck it and run around and do those sorts of things, but you have to be able to run the football. We have multiple formations with motions, shifting; we will involve a lot of guys. We don't have to have guys know every play and every formation. We can cater toward what it is that they do well. I like to get a lot of guys involved. Our passing game has been very much a play-action and vertical passing game. We will try to be creative and do some innovative things. We are not afraid to do reverse passes and throw-backs and double passes. Those things are viable options."
What do you demand out of your tight ends and fullbacks?
"Our tight-ends have to be multiple (assignment) guys. They have to be able to block and catch. Our fullback is going to be a little bit more of a hammerhead. He won't catch the ball as much as the tailback. He will be more of a typical fullback guy. What you would like to be able to do is get that guy where he can be an H-back and be a move guy for you and also do some of those tight end things. I think we have a couple of guys who are kind of in that mold. The more multi-dimensional the fullbacks can be, helps you out a lot."
It's fourth and one, your first series of the year at your own 15-yard line, what do you do?
"We're going for it. It has to do with philosophically deserving to win, deserving to have success. If you've got four downs and need 10 yards, and all you need is six inches on the last down, you probably ought to get that if you deserve to win. Sometimes you need a momentum breaker; sometimes maybe you need to force a momentum breaker. That being said, you don't just roll the dice. I think you have to have the right play on the right hash mark and you have to understand how that all fits together. If it is fourth and four, and the play that you really like, you want to be on the left hash and you're on the right hash and you're not feeling good about the play you have, then you had probably better punt it."
Will the fans get to see Mason Crosby attempt a field goal with the number '7' in front of it?
"Yep. I'll let him. I'm going to let him hit it."
What are your defensive philosophies?
"Very multiple. I really believe in attacking teams and getting after them. I think you have to make sure people don't run the ball on you. That's a scheme thing and a numbers thing in the box. I think you have to put pressure on the quarterback and make that guy make fast decisions. If he can make them, that's great for him, if not, you're going to win the game. We won't just be a static team. I think you have to disguise (formations) and move around and change things up."
Are you a fan of the prevent defense?
"I'm a fan of prevent defense, but maybe not in a way that fans think. It doesn't mean that you're up by an X amount and you are going to play soft zone and keep everything in front. There is a time when you want to do that. But more times than not when we're in that situation, I'm telling my team to bring the noise."
What is your stance on two-point conversions?
"Most of that is usually numbers. That chart is not always the same. You have to be able to determine how soon in the game it is. I think a lot of guys will lose points going for two when you really need to just put some points on the board."
What are your thoughts on the 2006 schedule?
"It's very interesting. You have the 1-AA team (Montana State) in the front. Then you have a rival (Colorado State) away from home. You have a very good PAC-10 team (Arizona State) coming in here and then you have to go on the road to a very good SEC team (Georgia). You also have to play your other rival on the road (Nebraska)."
Will it be an advantage for you having coached against Georgia last year?
"To me, it will totally be an advantage having played Georgia on the road last year. Now I have to convey that to the team. I totally feel like I have an understanding of the dynamics and what happens and where you're at."
What are the differences between the Big 12 and the WAC?
"I think every (conference) has its nuances that you have to be able to figure out. I think some people have talked about the pressure. I don't think the pressure is any different in the Big 12. I don't care where I've been, I've always felt a lot of pressure, even when I was a high school coach. Some people have asked about the recruiting thing. Is it more difficult? Is it easier? Well, you have to work pretty hard to get the guys at Boise State that you want because of what the situation allows. Colorado gives you more of an allowance. Now you're into another level of player. We're used to getting out there and scratching and clawing for guys, and I think that will help us here.
"I mean this in all sincerity. One of the reasons I came here was a chance to be a part of the Big 12. I've had tremendous familiarity with the PAC-10 and know all of those towns and programs. But part of the appeal of the Big 12 is that you have some really dynamic teams. Texas is on fire and Oklahoma has been recently too; Nebraska has won a national championship. That really is an appealing thing to me and it brings a whole lot of variety that I haven't had before. I think this is a conference that is really scratching to make strides. You look at Oklahoma State dumping in a lot of money (into athletics), Kansas dumping in a bunch of money and Baylor looking to get after it. I think everybody is really jumping in on this deal. I think you hear a lot about the SEC and the Big 10, but I really think you are going to see this conference charge here in the next decade."
What is your stance on the conference championship game?
"From a person that was away from Colorado, I think the conference championship game really highlights your conference. I think it brings a lot of attention, and from that standpoint it's really good. There is a really specific interest in watching that game. And obviously, from a practical standpoint with the revenue, I understand that as well."
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A Conversation With Coach Hawk
Passages: In Memoriam 2005-2006
ATLAS Building On Schedule To Open In August
By the Numbers
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