Hawkins Holds Final 2009 Presser; All-Big 12 Announced
BOULDER - In his final press conference of the 2009 season, Colorado coach Dan Hawkins revisited and attempted to clarify a postgame comment made five days earlier about the state of CU's football program when he succeeded Gary Barnett in 2006.
After CU's 28-14 loss against Nebraska last Friday, Hawkins said, "In my way of thinking, and I think that is the same with the Chancellor (Phil DiStefano) and AD (athletic director Mike Bohn), this place was burned to the ground."
On Tuesday, Hawkins said he was emphasizing the broad change that had taken place at CU in the tumultuous season preceding his hiring, noting that he came to Boulder "because Colorado has such a great tradition. It really does.
"But I'm also very well aware, as are you guys, when an institution has a new president, chancellor and athletic director and football coach . . . and you get an entirely new compliance department, athletic department, trainers, strength people . . . I mean every single person is new, that's like going from scratch.
"Everybody is new, that's my point. I'm not trying to disrespect anybody, any games won here, any championships won here, any alums, any faculty, any former players . . ."
Hawkins' fourth Buffaloes team finished 3-9, making his four-year CU record 16-33.
"We have to fix a lot of things, and that's on me, that's on me," he said. "But I think we're up to that task."
Hawkins, whose five-season record at Boise State was 53-11, called the 2009 season "humbling," but added, "That's not a bad thing.
"I'm trying so hard to be everything to everybody, and I'm trying so hard to say all the right things, to do all the right things. It's frustrating to me when I don't do that; I don't know that I'll ever do that, to be quite honest with you.
"I'm doing the best job I can morally, ethically, football wise, by these players, and gosh, guys, I'd sure love to be perfect every day . . . I would. But I'm not, and I'm not gonna be."
The Big 12 conference office also announced the All-Big 12 teams Tuesday, with three Buffs earning mention on the first- and second-team and nine more earning honorable mention. OT Nate Solder was the Buffs lone first-team selection with TE Riar Geer and CB Cha'pelle Brown earning second-team mention. Honorable mention were FB Jake Behrens, CB Jalil Brown, S Ben Burney, DL Marquez Herrod, WR Scotty McKnight, OL Ryan Miller, LB Jeff Smart, CB Jimmy Smith and RB Rodney Stewart.
Other topics touched on Tuesday by Hawkins included:
- Recruiting - Staffers hit the road Monday and Tuesday, with Hawkins saying Texas and California will be among the states most heavily scoured. With four tight ends graduating, that position is an area of emphasis.
- Eric Kiesau - CU's offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach has been mentioned as a possible head coaching candidate at his alma mater, Portland State. Hawkins said he didn't believe the school has contacted Kiesau. But at the same time, Hawkins has told Kiesau - as he does his other coaches - "don't be shy about it" if an opportunity arises. Hawkins said he could not project any staff changes at this time.
- Ashley Ambrose - The Buffs' new receivers coach is among those staffers on the road recruiting. Ambrose moves into a full-time assistant role with the departure of Bob Foster, Hawkins' college coach who had a one-season appointment to work with the outside linebackers. This was Foster's first losing season in nearly four decades of college coaching.
- Sione Tau and Kendrick Celestine - Hawkins said the offensive lineman (Tau) and receiver (Celestine) "can be, might be" among the players who begin spring drills in mid-March. Tau lost this season to a school suspension, while Celestine left the team last off-season for personal reasons but has since expressed a desire to return.
- Spring drills - The Buffs will return to a schedule that calls for two weeks of work before spring break and the final two weeks following spring break. The spring game is set for April 10.
- Expectations - Hawkins said defeating Colorado State and Nebraska, competing in and winning a bowl game "all are kind of baseline" for the Buffs. Hawkins is 2-2 vs. CSU and 1-3 vs. Nebraska. CU has appeared in one bowl (Independence, 2007) during his tenure.