Hawk Talk — Big 12 Media Days

Dan Hawkins/Getty

Dan Hawkins addressed members of the media Tuesday at the Big 12 Media Days in Kansas City. Inside, read what Hawkins had to say.

Dan Hawkins: Good morning, troops! Day 2, gotta finish. We've got three guys here. Ryan Walters, our senior safety. Ryan has been a great kid for us and a real leader for us and somebody I've hung my hat on since I've been there.

And George Hypolite, who is our senior defensive tackle, very good player. Also just a great icon I think for our program. He's already graduated, tremendous community service guy.

And Daniel Sanders, AKA Girthy, you'll probably hear us refer to him as Girthy. He'll be a guy 20 years down the road you won't be able to remember his name, but (you'll remember) his nickname. Our senior center. Happy to have those guys here.

Opening comments. It's really great to be here. And I mean that sincerely. Being in the Big 12 is a great privilege. And being a college football coach is a great privilege. And being able to be a part of this conference and so much tradition and so much excellence and I love the heartland of America and being a part of something that's been around for a long time.

Obviously the Big 12 is somewhat new, but certainly the programs and the traditions in it are not. It's awesome to be in a program that faces some of the best programs in the country and some of the best players in the country. And I think so many people have asked me about our schedule both in and out of conference, and I think, quite frankly, that's why you do it. I think that's why you play, I think that's why you coach.

And certainly I have a tremendous amount of affinity for the great players in our conference and being able to compete against those guys, as well as so many great coaches and legendary programs. So I'm always fired up and I'm certainly fired up to get going again this year.

I've told my wife many times I'll know when it's time to retire because it just seems like every year my hair starts on fire again, I'm fired up to be coaching. So I'm very blessed to have this job and be at Colorado and be in this conference.

Question. Would you talk about the buzz in Boulder around Darrell Scott and any sense of urgency that a coach might feel in getting a recruit like that on the field very fast?

Dan Hawkins: Well, you guys have been around sports a long time. And there's a lot of great players and a lot of great athletes in a lot of sports that never amounted to anything and to some degree were great tragedies. My biggest talks and dealings with Darrell have more to do with understanding a quality balance of life and what it takes to be successful. And he's a tremendous talent. He's a great player. He really is. And he is a good kid. I think he's a very humble kid. But, to me, that -- to get his feet on the ground academically and socially and really focus on those type of things (is important). Because his game will come around at some point, whether that's day one or week one or year two, I don't know. I know that it will come at some point. But my biggest push for him is just all the intangible factors, really.

Question: Touching on something you mentioned a minute ago, the schedule. Given how difficult your schedule is this year, how big and what kind of improvements does your program need to make for it to be reflected in the final record?

Dan Hawkins: I said this many times. You guys know. So much of life is made up of the details in the little things. And we were a (few details) from winning 10 games a year and also a (few details) from winning two, again, as horrific as it sounds. But that's really how it goes.

There were many games that we had an opportunity to win and lose and we've got to be able to -- number one, there's a turnover margin that's got to be adhered to. And you've heard every coach talk about that and everybody thinks it's coach-speak. It's really not.

I don't know much about a lot of sports like lacrosse and some of those things. But I know if you turn the ball over it's probably not a good thing. So the same is with football. That's got to be an important thing.

We've got to do a better job on third downs on offense and defense. We gave up a too many plays last year. We've got to be able to pressure the quarterback more and get back to running the ball a little bit better. So in every area it's going to have to be minuscule improvements to scratch and claw and be able to win some games.

Question: Coach, when you came to Colorado and you saw what you had, and you probably have one-year, three-year, five-year plan in mind, is it going according to Hoyle? Were there any big surprises?

Dan Hawkins: It never goes as fast as you want to. I'm not a very patient guy, like the rest of the country. And so I expected to win 10, 11, 12 our first year out of the gate. So that's always a shocker. I always have those expectations. I really do. They're not false.

I really believe that if we're able to reach down in the hearts and minds of young men and push the right buttons and do the right things, you can develop that kind of chemistry and that kind of magic and make that thing happen. And you never know exactly how long that's going to take.

I just don't think if you sit back and go, well, it's a five-year plan or seven-year or three-year plan. Why should we wait that long? I think we just have to push as hard and as fast as we can as early as we can and make it happen as fast as we can.

Question: Coach, with the plethora of great quarterbacks in this league, it wouldn't seem like it's a great time to be breaking in two new cornerbacks. Is it scaring you to death? Where do we stand?

Dan Hawkins: I don't think it matters even if you have veteran guys, I really don't. You're right, there are a tremendous amount of players in our conference. And so we're going to have to do a lot of things that starts up front and mixing things up and changing things up and giving people on the back end a chance. Like I said, I don't think it matters whether you're veterans or rookies, you're going to have some problems, with the talent we have in the league.

Question: Given all the success you've had in Boise and given your own, as you've just said, lack of patience, how have you coped with the fact that this is your three and you're in kind of the middle right now?

Dan Hawkins: It's hard on you. It grinds on you. I took a lot of years off of my life I think in '06. And there's not a guy that does this, and you're aware of this, that isn't extremely passionate about what they do. And that's very hard on you. It is. But I think it's also to some degree why I came to Colorado and why anybody does what they do.

I just think there has to be a certain amount of reinvention in a person in being able to put yourself up against it and see what you're all about.

So as my dad told me when I came here, he said, ‘You asked for it, buddy, and you got it.'

It's been great. It really has been. And really fulfilling because I think there's so many great things at Colorado and great people. And it's been nice to kind of roll up your sleeves and jump in the garden and start weeding and watering and planting some good crops.

Question: Question about Girthy. We don't write a lot about him because he's so quiet, but what makes this guy so good? And I remember last year we asked you about the snaps, 99 percent of the time his snaps were perfect, but there is some inopportune moments. Is that something that a guy works on in the off-season?

Dan Hawkins: Yes, he needs to. That's part of the turnover quotient and every coach that gets in the gun knows that's an issue. One is having to catch — to have a snap that's catchable, and then also a snap that even gets better than catchable and puts a quarterback in a position where can focus more on what's going on down field.

Girthy has been around. He's been a guard. He's had a lot of snaps, seen a lot of things. I think he brings a lot to the O-line that way. And as you know we're pretty young up there to begin with. So having a veteran guy that's been in a lot of stadiums and seen a lot of other teams play, I think it's good to have that experience around.

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