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Buffs Find a Way to Focus

Mar 20, 2007

BOULDER-With players in the midst of midterms, papers due, a cold going through the locker room and nicks and bruises among them, the University of Colorado football team could have coasted through practice Tuesday.

 

            But head coach Dan Hawkins wouldn't let them.

 

            "I called them [out] there a little bit," Hawkins said. "We were in danger of taking a day off. You know one of those days where you just show up to the station and you just kind of say ?What they hey, let's report on maybe there is a dog or two loose downtown.' That's kind of where were, so we decided that we were going to go out and find a story."

 

            The Buffs ended practice on several spirited sets of 11-on-11 drills in which the intensity was evident.  

 

            "I really think we've done a great job the whole spring," Hawkins said. "I think our guys have got great energy, great efficiency [and] great effectiveness. You walk out to practice and maybe you don't have that sort of sparkle in your eye that you ought to have, [but] they finished [well] which was awesome."

 

            Senior captain and quarterback Bernard Jackson got some looks at different positions within several formations during practice.

 

            "He'll be able to contribute in a lot of areas," Hawkins said. "He's one of the guys on our team that is probably the most electric with the ball in his hands. That doesn't take him out of the quarterback spot at all, but if you have to pick two guys, I think he and [tailback] Hugh [Charles] are the most dynamic with the ball in their hands. So you have to figure out ways to try and get it to him."

 

            Another quarterback, junior Nick Nelson has seen much of the offense thrown at him just five practices into his career at Colorado. So far, Hawkins has been impressed.

 

"He's doing well," Hawkins said. "He's got that complex that all the great ones have. We keep adding stuff and throwing stuff at him. He's got all the skills to be a great football player?he's smart, he's talented, but part of his competitiveness gets the best of him a little bit right now because he thinks every throw is life and death, and it's not right now."

 

Practice Notes: The team will have the day off from practice Wednesday before scrimmaging Thursday in the last practice before Spring Break. The scrimmage will take place at 5:00 on the practice fields down the hill and north of the stadium. Redshirt freshman quarterback Cody Hawkins joked that Dan Hawkins had about as much say in the quarterback battle "as a blade of grass." To which the elder Hawkins responded with a laugh: "I always think it's funny. I go ?Would you guys quit calling me out in the media?' It's like people ask them about me and they go ?The head coach doesn't really coach, he pumps them up and does the media stuff.' I'm like ?You're killing me in the media."