• The Buffs are preparing for their second real road game (not counting the trip to Denver to play Colorado State) this Saturday at Missouri. Some coaches like the chance to get on the road and away from potential distractions at home to play a game. Dan Hawkins, however, doesn’t make as much of that. “Life is what it is and you’ve got to learn to adapt. Whether you’re at home or traveling, I don’t know that that should be a huge indicator for you,” he said.
• With senior Mark Fenton out at least two games with a fractured fibula, senior reserve Bryce MacMartin is taking his place. Coaches have confidence in MacMartin both physically and mentally. The chemical engineering major will be in charge of calling plays (identifying the defense’s front seven alignment). MacMartin actually took responsibility for the false-start penalty called on Daniel Sanders when Bernard Jackson threw a touchdown pass to Dusty Sprague that was nullified. Hawkins said MacMartin told him he was probably a bit slow to snap the ball on the count, rather than Sanders being too quick. In fact, Hawkins — while stressing he wasn’t criticizing the officiating in last Saturday’s loss at Georgia — said in viewing film from the play, it appeared Sanders was right on the snap count, while tackle Tyler Polumbus was slow, and that the official probably read Polumbus’ movement as the snap count.
• As was clear to anyone who watched the game in Athens, redshirt-freshman tight end Riar Geer is coming along. After dropping a sure touchdown in the team’s first game, Geer had seven receptions vs. Georgia. Tight end is a difficult position in CU’s offense because they’re always shifting around. Hawkins gave Geer, the former high school quarterback, props considering he didn’t play tight end until a year ago when he got to Boulder. Speaking of tight ends, Hawkins said Tyson DeVree is completely recovered from the lung issue that bothered him in August.
• In facing Bernard Jackson, Missouri will be facing a quarterback with similar skills to Brad Smith, the standout dual-threat quarterback who played for the Tigers the past four years. For that matter, current Tigers QB Chase Daniel can pass and run the ball. Does that give the Missouri defense an advantage on Saturday? “It probably helps them, because they do similar things (on offense) that we do with Bernard,” Hawkins said.
• On Missouri’s Defense: Hawkins said, “They’re aggressive, they’re very athletic. They’ve got a couple of DBs that are huge. They’re D-line is all very athletic. They all can run and they get after you. They’re not gonna sit back and see what you can do, they’re gonna come after you.”
• Hawkins was raised right. He’s polite and says “thank you” when someone gives him or his team a compliment. But it’s been difficult on the 45-year old the past few days as people have commended CU’s performance vs. Georgia.
“I’ve had a lot of people tell me, ‘Hey, great job.’ I say, ‘Thank you,’ but inside I’m saying, ‘Don’t ever (congratulate) me for losing a football game,’” he said. Hawkins has expressed the be-polite-but-not-content sentiment to his players, as well.
• As he did on Sunday, Hawkins again commented on Bernard Jackson’s growth over the past few games. He said Jackson has gone from a quarterback who was having trouble calling plays to one who’s starting to become a playmaker.
Jackson made a number of plays Saturday that caught the head coach’s eye. One was when Jackson was moving to his left and through back to his right — from one hash mark to the other — to Dusty Sprague.
“That’s a subtle play that most people thought, ‘OK, a 5-yard play,’” Hawkins said, “but I was going, ‘Wooo.’ That was really unbelievable for him to go to his left, get his hips around and throw it on a line.”
And the best is yet to come, Hawkins said.
“I don’t know that we’ll probably see him in full bloom until next year,” Hawkins said. “Every time we’ve gone out with him he’s made tremendous strides.”
• While progress on offense was evident from the first three games to Saturday’s game at Georgia, the Buffs are nowhere near what could be termed potent yet. CU has scored just three points in the second half this season. Asked what the team can do to have more success after the half, Hawkins said, “It comes down to us being more assertive and more confident. We do come out of the locker room with a plan, much like in the first half. We do make adjustments.”
• The Buffs are still working to get the vertical passing game unleashed. Hawkins said it’s a combination of Jackson getting more confident in throwing the long routes, and gaining confidence in his receivers in that situation. Sprague ran a post route vs. UGA that quarterbacks who’ve played for Hawkins in the past would’ve thrown, but Jackson is still hesitant.
• Speaking of Sprague, the former starter played more in Athens than he had previously. Hawkins commended the junior’s maturity in handling less playing time this season and said it’s been noticed by other receivers.
• In the time (and a coaching change) heals wounds department, ESPN reporter Shelley Smith is in Boulder Tuesday to film a segment with Hawkins for ESPN Gameday. Smith, a University of Nebraska grad, you’ll recall conducted what many Buff fans considered an ambush interview with a CU recruit in 2004 during the whole so-called scandal. The recruit, who ended up going to another school, told Smith on camera for “Outside the Lines” that he had a woman come to his hotel room during a recruiting trip to CU – something the recruit and his family later said wasn’t true.
• Backup quarterback James Cox is expected back in Boulder today after spending the past week at home with his family in California after the passing of his father.