Q: Cody talked a little bit about Florida State (Sunday), and how he was kind of a fan growing up. Did you ever get him an FSU jersey, or did he always wear the school you were coaching at?
Hawkins: Oh, he had some gear. I think he had a hat at one point. He was a big ‘Noles fan when he was a kid.
Q: How did that happen? Just because they won?
Hawkins: Yeah, they were good. And he liked their uniforms, and that whole deal.
Q: Obviously the game has changed over the last 20 years. There is more risk taking and coaches going for it. Can you talk about Bobby Bowden’s influence on that, from the trick plays to the aggressive playcalling, taking risks. And what he’s meant to the evolution of the game?
Hawkins: I think he was taking a lot of those shots early on as he was building that program. He had to take some of those to get where he wanted to go. But he’s been an innovator in a lot of things in college football, and that’s certainly one of them.
Q: You’re obviously like that. Is that just something, it started at Willamette, right? I understand you actually had players hide the ball behind their jerseys, or something to that affect? Can you put out a little anecdote about that?
Hawkins: Yeah, we did. We were very good at hiding the ball. We actually put it behind their backs so the defender couldn’t see if they had it or not.
You know, a guy asked me one time, how come big schools don’t do that. And I said, if you do that stuff at this level, everybody kind of thinks it’s ingenious and creative, cutting edge. You do that at the next level and it doesn’t work out, everyone calls you and idiot. So the risk-reward factor is much greater, much higher.
Q: Can you comment a little on how the NFL views the risk-reward factor? They see it more as risk than reward, right?
Hawkins: Yeah, especially when it comes to special teams. And trying to be more fundamentally sounds. Although, when Rich Brooks came into the NFL as head coach of the Rams, they did some reverses on punt return, and things like that. But most people are going to, No.1, try and be sound. If you’ve got playmakers that you’re paying a lot of money, you’re going to let those guys make plays.
Q: When you look at fourth down today, I guess a lot of coaches say the way the ball moves around, you punt it 30 yards and if they get a first down, it’s just a pass or two different anyway (in field position). Is that the way a lot of coaches view that – it really isn’t a risk going for it on fourth down like it once was?
Hawkins: I don’t know what everybody else thinks about it. A lot of what goes into it is what does your team need at that point? Do you have a play? You certainly look at the risk-reward factor. And then there’s the psychological component. There’s a lot of things that go into ‘Should we try something’?
Q: Time of possession — does it have any value?
Hawkins: I think it’s the most overrated stat in football. I really do. I don’t think it means anything. I’ve never really looked at it, I really don’t care about it.
Obviously, when you look at the amount of plays, there’s a correlation (between that and outcome), but I don’t think time of possession really means anything.
Q: I guy that would argue the other point would say if you have the ball longer, you’re keeping the defense on the field longer, and maybe you’re wearing them out. You’re not buying any of that?
Hawkins: And also maybe you’re not scoring. You’re just moving the ball. But you’ve got to score.
Q: It looks like Scotty McKnight has really emerged just in the first two weeks of the season. I know he came to your program as a walk-on. I wonder if you could give us a little feeling on him.
Hawkins: He’s just one of those guys who’s just a ball player. He really is. Hard working, tough. You can find a place for those guys and they can help you win. We feel like he’s only going to get better.
Q: Hugh Charles didn’t make the trip down to Arizona State. Is he going to be…?
Hawkins: We expect him to play (vs. FSU), yeah.
Q: It seems like you guys are becoming the late-night team. You’re going back to back (with late start times). Do you kind of like that? It’s when basically when most of the college games are over and most people can watch you in that late window. Is that kind of exciting?
Name: I think anytime you can get on national TV, that’s great for your program. It’s great for recruiting, great for your fans, all that is a definite plus. I’m just one of those guys, particularly when we were in the WAC where you’d play Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, played at 9 o’clock in the morning once and at 8:30 at night — you just roll with it. I think it’s a good opportunity for us. It’s a great feature game. There’s a lot of positives to it.
BSN: The spread-option offense seems to be really the rage across the country right now. What do you think of it? And is its popularity peak still a ways away?
Name: Yeah, I think it’s very awesome for a lot of reasons, in terms of spreading people out and giving yourself move running lanes and more passing lanes. Teams are less likely defensively to disguise some things because they’ve got to get a little more correctly aligned. So from that standpoint, I think it’s an advantage.
We’re still kind of a multi-formation team, and like the advantages of that. But I think you’ll continue to see the spread grow. I think it’s a great offense. The one disclaimer, a little bit, is your quarterback’s going to take a few shots. Now that may happen in a normal offense too, but your quarterback has got to hold up. And I think that’s probably the one offshoot – whereas if you have a back, maybe two backs or a tight end in there, maybe you take a few shots off the quarterback.
BSN: Have you seen it in the high school ranks?
Q: When you took the job and you looked ahead at future schedules, was this one of the ones that stood out to you?
Hawkins: They all did. I think you try to be a little more short term, and when you’ve got Georgia, which we had last year, and Arizona State…and I think that’s part of the feature. You want to play those great teams, you want to play against those great coaches, great programs. I think that’s part of it.
Q: Last night you were saying you know Bobby (Bowden) a little bit. Can you tell us how you know him and just share some of your thoughts about him?
Hawkins: I got to know him on the NIKE trip, he and his wife. Just a very down-to-earth guy. I sort of enjoy him a little bit because I think our salt-of-the-earth backgrounds are very similar. He’s a common-sense guy and a very family oriented guy, a very faithful guy. A lot of those things would draw you to him. The first time I was with him we were on a boat and I was just kind of looking around. He said, ‘What you lookin’ at, boy?’
I said, ‘I’m lookin’ at all these guys, and I’m kinda amazed that I’m here.’
He said, ‘You’re one of the guys now.’
He slapped me on the back. And I said, ‘How about that!’ There’s Joe Paterno, Bobby Bowden. And I’m one of the guys.