Q & A with the coach
The CU football team can officially begin to put last year’s 2-10 season in the rearview mirror with the start of spring practice on Monday.
The spring practice will entail 15 practices/scrimmages and will culminate in the spring game on April 14.
The Campus Press had the opportunity to catch up with head coach Dan Hawkins this past week during his preparation for spring ball.
The Campus Press: As a staff, what are some of the most important things you try to get out of spring practice?
Hawkins: I think we always work on our philosophical base, which is tremendously important. I think in terms of on the field, improvements all around offensively, including our passing game and the quarterback position, are some of the things we need to make strides in. Then with special teams, working on our return game and trying to replace Mason (Crosby) will be a big chore as well. I think also increasing our knowledge and awareness of all the packages will be a big thing also.
CP: Coach, you mentioned improving on the offensive side of the ball. When considering that you will have approximately 25 guys coming during the fall that will have a chance to help this football team immediately, how hard is it for you and your staff to get a true feel for your roster?
Hawkins: (The staff) feels like those guys have a chance to come in here and contribute, but the backbone of our club will be made up of the guys who will be here in the spring. It certainly is a litmus test for what’s going to happen in the fall, and while we expect (the freshmen) to be able to help us, and certainly they will, the balance of what we’re going to have is going to be here this spring.
CP: What are some of the challenges that come with having only six healthy offensive linemen for spring practice?
Hawkins: We didn’t have a bunch last year either. You just have to be really judicious with how you hit and what kind of circumstances you put those guys in. It definitely limits your opportunities of going live just because those guys will not be able to do that day in and day out.
CP: Coach, you’ve said you’re a big believer in guys proving themselves every day in practice. With that being said, how far can an individual’s standout performance in the spring go toward helping him gain some separation from a pack of players vying for a starting spot?
Hawkins: You go through a number of procedures when deciding playing time. You go through winter conditioning and see how guys improve physically. Then you get into spring ball and have those practices and then again in the fall. If a guy puts a good winter together and then has a good spring, he can continue to build that base of knowledge that says, “Hey, I’m a legitimate guy.” If you put an ineffective winter together and an ineffective spring, you have to make that much larger of a jump in the fall to increase your playing time.
CP: How much are you hoping that this spring practice can be a good opportunity for your guys to shake off the effects of last year’s 2-10 season?
Hawkins: Well, I think it’s really less of that. I think it’s just a continuum of our maturation and growing process. It’s a question of continuing to get fortified and continuing to magnify the details and concepts we’re teaching them as a person, student and football player.
Contact Campus Press staff writer Stirling Wade at email@example.com.