by Matt Sparkman and Matt Johnson
For Dan Hawkins, it’s all about the little things.
The University of Colorado’s much-maligned head football coach begins his fifth year at the helm focusing on details.
“For us, it’s a matter of just chasing the details and chasing the little things,” Hawkins said at Big 12 Media Day.
The Buffs hope to improve on their fifth-place Big 12 North finish last season, which they ended with a 2-6 record in conference play and a 3-9 record overall.
Hawkins is optimistic that experience will lead to more success this season.
“I think having a roster this year of a lot of guys that have played, a lot of guys that have competed, and having guys that can step up and play and know that you have to practice well every day, you’ve got to study film every day, you’ve got to be at your best every day, that leads to better Saturdays,” Hawkins says.
Asked whether or not he has a timetable for determining the starting quarterback job, Hawkins remains vague.
“We’ll see,” says Hawkins. “I think we’ll probably get through a couple scrimmages there and give everyone really a chance to kind of compete and get going.”
The job, which in all likelihood will be awarded to junior Tyler Hansen or the says. “But it’s very tough to get through a whole coach’s son, senior Cody Hawkins, has switched season with one guy anyway. [There’s a] good hands several times since Hansen arrived on cam- chance we’re going to need both of those players.” pus in 2008. As far as who will be on the receiving end of Hansen split time with the younger Hawkins passes from Cody Hawkins or Tyler Hansen, Dan during most of the 2008 campaign. In 2009, the Hawkins raved about the depth of his corps of job was initially awarded to Hawkins, but Hansen wideouts. and Hawkins ended up splitting time once again. “Toney Clemons … [has] a chip on his shoul- “I think Tyler probably had a little bit of an der,” he says. “Will Jefferson is a young guy that edge coming out of spring ball,” Dan Hawkins played for us as a true freshman … Kyle Cefalo is a kid that had a great spring for us.”
The offensive line looks strong, as CU left tackle Nate Solder and right guard Ryan Miller made the All-Big 12 preseason team.
“We have a lot to prove,” Solder told Wendell Barnhouse of Big12Sports.com.
“I think we can get a lot done.”
On the defensive side of the field, the Buffs return seven starters, including three defensive linemen: Marquez Herrod, Will Pericak and Curtis Cunningham. Safety Jalil Brown and cornerback Jimmy Smith are stars of an experienced secondary. Smith is projected by some as a late first-round or early secondround NFL draft pick.
The schedule facing the Buffaloes is daunting, as usual. The non-conference schedule includes in-state rival Colorado State as well as perennial powers California and Georgia.
And what is likely the last Big 12 goround before CU joins the Pac-10 features regulars such as Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Nebraska.
Even with such a tough schedule, Dan Hawkins is excited for the season to begin.
“I was talking to Coach Stoops out in the hallway earlier, and I’m just always fired up to go,” Hawkins says. “I really am. It seems like the older I get, too, the sooner I get fired up. It always seems about July time you’re ready to go and chomping at the bit. So [I’m] very, very excited about that.”
With a new focus on details, the Buffs hope that excitement will turn into success.