November 12, 2010

Fearless Forecasts

Despite the unfortunate fourth quarter from last week (Is the “Kollapse in Kansas” a good moniker, or should we just do our best to forget the whole thing ever happened?), the Buffs did well enough that the Fearless Forecasts went three-for-three, raising the year-to-date total to 23-for-27. As I have another engagement this evening (See FF No. 2), I will get right to it …

1) Rodney Stewart will become just the 14th Buff in Colorado history to rush for 1,000 yards in a single season. The last Buff to rush for over 1,000 yards was Bobby Purify, who turned the trick with 1,017 yards in 2004. Speedy needs 83 yards to pull off the four-digit accomplishment. This would seem to be an easy task in light of Stewart’s 175 yards against Kansas last weekend, but bear in mind that in the last two home games, Stewart rushed for 34 yards (v. Texas Tech), and 85 yards (v. Baylor). With preparations this week nothing like what you would expect in a normal week, it would behoove the Buffs to go back to basics – and nothing is more basic than handing the ball off and letting Speedy do his thing;

2) Paul Richardson will not do nearly as well this week as he did last week. The true freshman wide receiver had a break out game against Kansas, catching a record-tying 11 catches for 141 yards and two touchdowns. It says here that Richardson will be lucky to get half those totals against Iowa State. Why? Because Iowa State has a great pass defense? Hardly. The Cyclones are ranked 73rd nationally against the pass. Rather, I believe it will be the weather which will hamper Richardson. The forecast for Saturday is snow showers and a temperature in the 30’s. Richardson is a true freshman from California, and has not played in this type of weather before. It will affect his ability to concentrate on the game at hand. (Side Note: I know of what I speak. I will be working the chain gang for the Montana state high school semi-final game between Bozeman and Helena Capital tonight. The Bozeman Hawks are 11-0, and favorites to win the state title. Am I excited about my alma mater winning tonight? Sure – but I am more concerned about being out in the weather – temperature in the low 20’s; good chance for snow and perhaps some wind. Yuck! –

UPDATE: The Bozeman Hawks tried their best to lose their undefeated season Friday night. In the state semi-final game, Bozeman had not one, not two, not three, but four touchdowns called back due to penalties. The game with Helena Capital went into overtime tied at 10-10. Both teams scored in the first overtime (In a “Montana Playoff” teams get the ball at the ten yard line, not the 25 as in college). Bozeman scored a touchdown in its second overtime possession, as did Helena Capital. The Bruins then lined up to go for a two point conversion (not required, just gutsy), but had a false start. Moved back five yards, the extra point became more difficult, and was missed (paging Bobby Bowden) wide right. Final score: Bozeman 24; Helena Capital 23. The Hawks will now play for the state championship next Friday night against Helena High, the No. 2 team in the state. Oh, and BTW, the weather in Bozeman held up. It was cool – low 30’s; little wind; no snow. Perhaps that bodes well for the Buffs on Saturday ….

3) The announced crowd will be 10,000 more than will actually be in the stands. Okay, so this is a subjective one, but I believe it will hold true. Colorado has announced that over 40,000 tickets “are out for the Iowa State game”, meaning that CU will take credit for those tickets sold for face value, those sold at a tremendous discount (I believe there was a four-for-$40 campaign going on), and those given away (lifetime members of the alumni association, like myself, were given two free tickets to the game). Translation: there were a great deal of tickets given out for which holders do not have much invested. Throw in the lousy weather expected at kickoff, and an early kickoff at that, and you will likely be looking at some very empty areas in the bowl at 11:30 a.m. This will not stop the University, however, from claiming a crowd of around 45, 000.

Fine. At least, because of the regime change this week, those in attendance will have warm hats on their heads, and not empty bags …

November 11, 2010

Recruits sticking with Buffs … for now

It was certainly not be design, but Dan Hawkins’ philosophy of letting recruits play out their senior seasons before making a commitment may pay dividends for the next head coach.

While a number of schools fill out much of their recruiting class well in advance of the February signing date (Texas annually fills about half of its class the day after signing day – or 364 days early), Colorado under Dan Hawkins usually only has a handful of recruits committed by November.

The same holds true for the incoming Class of 2011, with only five verbal commitments on the board. After the announcement that Dan Hawkins would not be returning as head coach of the Buffs, the recruiting services spoke with those who had already indicated a preference for Boulder and CU, and this is what they learned:

– Quarterback Brock Berglund (Highlands Ranch) issued a statement that he was “committed as ever to the football program at the University of Colorado … I wish to affirm that there has been no change to my commitment.” Berglund is a 6’4″, 205-pound dual-threat quarterback, and is considered by Rivals.com to be the 13th-best dual threat quarterback in the nation, and the third best player in the state of Colorado overall.

– Center Alex Kelley (Vista, California) told BuffStampede.com, “I guess I’ll see what happens. Right now I’m going to stay with (Colorado), and see what happens with the coaching situation … I guess for now I’m still with them.” Kelley’s father, Karry Kelley, was a four-year letterman at Colorado (1976-79), playing offensive tackle. It would probably take a really bad hire for Alex Kelley to switch his commitment. Kelley is 6’3, 295-pound offensive lineman, and is considered a three-start prospect.

– Linebacker Brady Daigh (Mullen) also seems to be a solid commit. “I’d like to have my position coach there, Brian Cabral,” Daigh told BuffStampede.com. “He’s been there awhile, so I don’t think that will be a problem.” Daigh plays for Mullen, which is 10-0 this season, and looking for a third straight Colorado 5A championship. Daigh is a 6’2″, 220-pound inside linebacker prospect, the 33rd-best linebacker in the nation according to Rivals.com, the 10th-best prospect in the state of Colorado overall.

– Running back Kenneth Farrow (Hurst, Texas) is also interested in the retention of his position coach. “If he (running backs coach Darian Hagan) were to leave, then maybe I’d think about de-committing,” Farrow told BuffStampede.com. “Because I have the best relationship with coach Hagan out of anyone on the coaching staff. As long as he’s there, I’m 100% solid. Even if he’s not, I still think everything will be fine.” Farrow is considered to be a three-star prospect, and is looked upon to be an inside runner who could replace J.T. Torres, who left the team earlier this fall. “If I see a safety, I am going to go right through them,” Farrow told BuffStampede.com.

– Quarterback Nick Sherry (Petaluma, California) may be the one verbal commit of the group who is wavering the most. “Yes, this will affect my decision, and where I go to college,” Sherry told Scout.com. “But I will not focus on any schools or what I’m going to do until after the season.” While Sherry equivocated, his high school offensive coordinator was more positive. “Nick is still committed to Colorado,” said Casa Grande offensive coordinator Trent Herzog. “He will see who they choose, and decide if it’s a good fit.” The 6’4″, 211-pound prospect  has led Casa Grande to an 8-1 record. To date, Sherry has thrown for 1,823 yards, with 14 touchdowns to go with only four interceptions.

So, five-for-five … at least for now.

Two other players of note bear mention here.

Michigan transfer Vladimir Emilien earlier indicated that he was interested in transfering to Colorado if, and only if, Ashley Ambrose remained at Colorado as defensive backs coach. If Ambrose goes elsewhere, Emilien is reportedly interested in transferring to either Arizona or Wake Forest. Emilien was considered to be a four-star prospect in the Class of 2009, the 14th highest rated safety in the nation.

Then there is the story about Buff Paul Richardson. The freshman wide receiver has been setting records for Colorado this fall, but he may not be in black-and-gold in 2011. Richardson signed with UCLA last spring, and joined Colorado only a few days before the opening of fall camp. The Gardena, California, native as admitted to homesickness this fall, and he may consider transferring after the season. “I definitely want to go back home,” Richardson told BuffStampede.com. “A lot of people are liking it (the change in the weather), but not me.” Richardson did allow, though, that he has not made up his mind to transfer. “I am not worried about who the next coach will be or anything like that,” said Richardson. “I am worried about finishing this semester strong in school, and finishing these last three games … I am not really worried about future seasons.”

Colorado only has one player coming to the Iowa State game for an official visit, wide receiver Devin Lucien from Encino, California. Considered a four-star prospect, Lucien has offers from over a dozen schools, including Arizona State, Oregon State, and UCLA from the Pac-12. Lucien took an official visit to Arizona State two weeks ago, and was at the UCLA/Oregon State game last weekend. Lucien has indicated that he intends to take all five of his available visits before making a decision, so Buff fans should not be looking for a new commitment Sunday morning.

In all, Colorado has only had around a dozen official visits. As a result, the new head coach will have a number of visits to work with. While the numbers seem to vary by source, it appears that Colorado may have as many as 61 visitations allowed this recruiting cycle. Such being the case, when the new head coach is named, they will at least have the opportunity to sway any number of players into coming to Boulder this December and January.

Most first classes are disappointments for the new head coach. But, if Colorado makes an impressive hire, and makes it so that visitations can still be made in December …

 

November 9, 2010

Press Conference notes and quotes

Dan Hawkins … The former Colorado head coach spoke to the media at noon today. He thanked everyone from Mike Bohn down to the vendors in the stadium, but spent little time on the specifics of his five year tenure in Boulder. Hawkins was composed and upbeat, but he did not answer any questions from the media. Hawkins did indicate that he had met with Athletic Director Mike Bohn on Sunday night, and had learned of his fate at that time. The decision was made to wait until Tuesday to make an announcement, so that the players could be told when they came back for practice, but the story was leaked prematurely.

Impressions … Clearly, a root canal appointment would have been preferable for Hawkins. Still, when you are in this profession, you play by the rules of the game. Hawkins was professional, and did not have anything negative to say about the University, the fans, nor his situation. He did indicate that he planned to coach again, though when and where that will  happen is anyone’s guess.

Colorado Athletic Director Mike Bohn … The first positive of the day came when Bohn reported that he had heard from the ticket office this morning that the Buffs had sold 800 tickets to the Iowa State game since last night … As for hiring a new coach, Bohn said that he had no set timetable, but that a search committee would be in place shortly. Bohn indicated that he understood about recruiting deadlines and windows of opportunities, but said that the search would continue “until we get the right fit” … As to the timing of the announcement that Dan Hawkins would not be retained as head coach at Colroado, Bohn spoke at length about the “negativity” surrounding the program right now, and that he didn’t want the Hawkins’ situation to be a “distraction” for the home games against Iowa State and Kansas State … When asked about limitations as to coaches Colorado as a program might be able to pursue, Bohn indicated that he would “be surprised” if the Buffs were to pay the next head coach “over $2 million” per year, but Bohn did indicate that he felt that the pool of dollars which would be available to acquire quality assistant coaches would be increased.

Impressions … The timing of the move does make sense. Yes, it is true that no Colorado coach has ever been let go in the regular season, but the Iowa State and Kansas State games would have gotten ugly. There would have been precious few fans in the stands, and those who were there would have been ready to “boo” any time a Buff player made a mistake. Now, the Iowa State and Kansas State games can be all about the players and trying to win those games. I have heard from more than one loyal Buff fan that they have been torn as to the Buffs being successful in 2010. If wins, and a potential bowl, meant keeping Dan Hawkins … well, they would rather lose. Now, if the Buffs do mount a charge, and finish strong, Buff fans can be in full-throated support, knowing that Colorado is, in essence, playing the first games of the 2011 season the next three weeks. Mike Bohn understood this as well, and didn’t want to have a half-empty house on Saturday. He all but called out all of those fans who said that they would not support the program as long as Dan Hawkins was coach. “Fine. You got what you wanted,” Bohn appeared to be saying. “Now, come out and support the team.”

Interim head coach Brian Cabral … The longtime linebackers coach started his press conference with an attempt to be light-hearted. “It was a really interesting first practice,” Cabral said of Tuesday morning’s practice. “I saw the offense practice for the first time.” Very soon thereafter, though, Cabral became very emotional, and for the remainder of his press conference he was nearly in tears. Cabral indicated that he had three goals for the remainder of his tenure: 1) “to finish the semester strong” academically; 2) “finish strong on the field, for the seniors”; and 3) “to rally the Buff community behind the seniors”. Cabral said of this senior class, “their hearts bleed black and gold”, and that they deserved the support of the coaches and fans in the remaining three games … Cabral said he sees his role as the interim coach “to stand in the gap”, and “to calm the storm”, much like he did when Gary Barnett was fired in 2005, and Cabral stepped in as interim coach for the bowl game … When asked if he was interested in the head coaching job, Cabral responded, “Yes, sir”.

Impressions … Longevity aside, Butkus Award winners aside, Brian Cabral is an asset to the University of Colorado. There is no doubt that this man “bleeds black and gold”, and that this latest change in the guard is tough on him. He spoke about how hard these next few weeks will be on the assistant coaches, who face uncertain futures, but that, even though there will be “a lot of uncertainty”, the coaches “will finish this out the right way”. Cabral also emphasized that he believed that there is “enough talent on this team to win some games” in 2010, and that it was his intent and desire to see that happen.

Captains Scotty McKnight, Nate Solder, and B.J. Beatty … These three captains were brought on to speak at the same time, and though each of them answered questions, it was clear that Scotty McKnight was the most comfortable of the group in speaking with the press. McKnight spoke of his recruitment, and how Dan Hawkins recruited him when no other schools were calling, and that “my heart’s with Coach Hawk”. McKnight indicated that, while “emotionally it’s difficult, we have to control what we can control,” and that the Buff players would go out and do their best on Saturday.

Impressions … You really have to feel for these players, especially the seniors. Which is why it was a great move to oust Hawkins before the final two games. Having a half empty house, with as many jeers as cheers, is not the way to send out this group. While all three indicated that they understood that “college football is a business”, and that coaches are ultimately judged by wins and losses, it was clear that these three players were not rejoicing over the loss of their head coach. Their loyalties remain with Dan Hawkins.

Cody Hawkins … Interestingly enough, even though he is also a captain on the team, Cody was brought in separately from the other three. To the surprise of many, Cody came in loose and with a grin on his face. Cody Hawkins indicated that the first practice without his father as head coach “went well”. Cody, too, said he understood that “College football is a business”, and that is was “a lack of production on the field” which had cost Dan Hawkins his job … Cody laughed off the notion that he would quit the team if his father was fired, as had been suggested. Hawkins said that he had even contemplated coming into the press conference and announcing that he had quit the team, just to see what the reaction would be in the room. Nothing, Cody said, “could be further from the truth. I signed a Letter of Intent with the University of Colorado, and there was no stipulation that said it came with my father being the coach … I’m going to prepare. I’m going to compete. I’m going to be there for my guys.”

Impressions … Say what you want about Cody Hawkins’ abilities on the football field (and I have said a great deal), but you have to say it’s hard to dislike Cody as a person. He has always been available to the media, and not just when the team is doing well. When the Buffs have played poorly, Cody has still been there to accept responsibility for his short-comings (no pun intended). You can certainly see that Cody will someday be a coach. It’s just unfortunate for Cody, the Buff team, Colorado fans, and, ultimately, Cody’s father, that he was not blessed with more God-given talents. Cody will do well in life … but he is not a top flight BCS quality quarterback. And the Buffs paid the price for that in the W/L column.

Overall … I have great empathy for the players – especially the seniors – and for the assistant coaches. However, the business of college football is to win games, and Dan Hawkins failed in the all-important W/L ledger. He should have been let go a year ago, and the football program at the University of Colorado will suffer as a result. It will take a great hire to pull the Buffs out of their current slump, and, with the quality of play in the Pac-12, it may take several years for the Buffs to get back into a position of challenging for division and conference titles. Brian Cabral is a class act, and you certainly have to appreciate the sacrifice and hard work of the captains who came to speak at the press conference Tuesday.

But I was most impressed with AD Mike Bohn putting out the call to the Buff Nation to step up. Instead of boycotting the next two games, Buff fans should come out in droves. Buff players are not the only ones auditioning for the next head coach … the fans are, too. Without fan support – and donor support – the quality coach the Buffs really need might not be interested in coming to Boulder.

Colorado fans got what we wanted … the ball is now back in our court.

 

Hawkins out; Cabral named as interim coach

What Colorado fans have been poised to hear since last Thanksgiving has finally gone from rumor to fact.

Dan Hawkins is out as the head coach at the University of Colorado. Longtime assistant coach Brian Cabral will serve as the interim coach for the remaining three games of the regular season. Athletic Director Mike Bohn informed the team before practice Tuesday morning of the decision.  “We collectively believed that it was important to provide Dan as head coach and his current staff to pull things together, and things looked bright just one month ago after we opened with a 3-1 record,” said Mike Bohn in a prepared statement. “However, things have gone downhill from there. While we recognize the progress that we have made in several areas during the nearly five years under Dan, the negativity and divisiveness that is associated with the current leadership has become detrimental, and is beyond repair to our current enterprise, and it’s time to make a change.”

“I’ve met some tremendously special people, and had some fantastic experiences during my time here at Colorado,” said Dan Hawkins, also in a prepared statement. “Unfortunately, I was not able to bring the wins that so many Buff faithful wish for and deserve … In the future I wish nothing but the best for CU as it moves in to the Pac-12, I hope everyone concerned with the program will pitch in and support the program on the path to another national championship.”

Dan Hawkins becomes the first coach in Colorado’s 121-year history to be relieved of his duties during the regular season. Twice before, with Bud Davis in 1962 and Bill McCartney in 1994, coaches have stepped down the day of the final game. In 2005, Gary Barnett was dismissed after the Big 12 championship game, with defensive coordinator Mike Hankwitz taking over as interim coach for the Champs Sports Bowl game against Clemson.

Brian Cabral, 54, has been with the Buffs since 1989. He served as an interim head coach for Gary Barnett for spring practice in 2004, when Barnett was suspended by the university.

A press conference will be held later this morning. Notes and quotes from the press conference will be posted as soon as they are available …

November 8, 2010

Dan Hawkins out!!

Two Denver television stations and the Denver Post are reporting that the Dan Hawkins’ era will come to an end Tuesday morning, after Hawkins meets with the team. In all likelihood, the announcement would have come on Monday, but that is a mandatory day off for the players, and the hope would have been that the coaches would have been able to tell the players themselves. However, with this big a story, and in the age of the internet, it was all but impossible to make it to Tuesday without the story breaking.

The CBS affiliate had the story first … http://cbs4denver.com/sports/ncaa.college.football.2.2001786.html. The story is also up on the website for the ABC affilitate  http://www.thedenverchannel.com/sports/25666210/detail.html … … and on the Denver Post website … http://www.denverpost.com/cu/ci_16559618

There is nothing official until we hear it from the University of Colorado, but that appears to be just a formality at this point.

I will post the official announcement from CU as soon as it is, well, official! Look for an update after Tuesday morning’s practice!!

 

“Life makes no promises”

Dan Hawkins had a number of quotes in his weekly Big 12 teleconference, but none which will give much solace to Buff fans still reeling from a 35-point fourth quarter posted by Kansas last Saturday. (Fair warning: Put down sharp objects before reading, as well as any objects of value which may end up being hurled across the room) …

Why didn’t the Buffs use Rodney Stewart, who had a career-high 175 yards rushing, to run out the clock in the fourth quarter? – “We didn’t want to just totally get into a ground attack,” said Hawkins. “We had had success mixing it up … We didn’t want to be one dimensional.”

Would he have done anything differently in the fourth quarter? – “You could always change a lot of things,” Hawkins explained. “When we have that many points scored in that amount of time, I think there’s always opportunities in every phase of the game to tweak it.”

Is he concerned about the Buff fans’ reactions to the record-setting defeat? – “I’m mostly concerned about the players … their feelings; their emotions.”

Is he concerned about his job security? – “Life makes no promises,” said Hawkins. “You have to do what you think is right, and do it to the best of your ability and let it go. If you win a bunch of games it doesn’t mean you’re a genius, and if you don’t, it doesn’t mean you’re awful, either.”

Unfortunately for the University of Colorado and its football program, the Buffs have waited five years for the opportunity to call Dan Hawkins a “genius” for winning “a bunch of games.” Instead, the Buff Nation has to take issue with the “if you don’t” part …

[RUMOR MILL: There was speculation this afternoon that there was a mandatory 3:00 p.m. players’ meeting, presumably to tell the team that the coaching staff would not be retained. That turned out to be just a rumor – there was no meeting, if, for no other reason, that Monday is a mandatory off day for players. Hopefully, this means that the announcement of the end of the Dan Hawkins’ era will come after Tuesday morning’s practice. Dare to dream!!]

10 Replies to “The Colorado Daily”

  1. While I appreciated Bohn calling out the fans to support the team, I did find the “negativity” stuff somewhat irritating. Certainly many fans have been vocal about the mounting losses and what appeared to be poor coaching, but the reality is that the program under Hawkins was and has been failing and that needed to be addressed. In some way blaming the fans for not tolerating blow out losses to good teams and tragic collapses against a bad one is a bit disingenuous.

    I trust Cabral to do his best to keep the team focused and as ready as they can be. I do agree that the most impressive performance yesterday was from Cody. He in many ways showed more class than some of the older men in the room. Cody for Head coach in 2030.

  2. As a life long buffs fan and a Temple grad I can tell you the owls community is already panicked about Golden going to CU. What he has done at Temple is a miracle. As a former student athlete at Temple the football program was a hopeless situation and he made them competitive. I just hope they find the right fit for the program who ever it is. I live on the east coast and can’t be at Iowa St. or K-state game but I would if I could. Please support this team and seniors and show up at the game. Coach Cabral is a great asset at a time like this and Cody deserves a lot of praise for his maturity. Go Buffs.

  3. Andrew makes a great point. It had better come out that Bohn has been searching under the radar and I expect all the smart, eligible candidates to publicly turn down the job in the next week or so. No one in their right mind would sign up for this job.

    Love cabral and Mac is a great story, but I hope bohn thinks long and hard about what kind of program he wants this to be. A contender or a nostalgia act for a fleeting and small fan base.

  4. As expected, they have had a year but there is no contingency plan in place. As happy as I am that Hawkins is gone it is extremely concerning that they will now be starting to search for a replacement. What exactly has Bohn been doing for the last year?????? Did they really think that Hawkins would succeed this year???????

    Very, very sad!

  5. It’s about time! Hawkins incredibly stupid comments, ridiculous decisions, and terrible coaching will ensure that he never screws up another D1 program…ever. Can’t understand what took so long. The last three years have been unacceptable, and there had better be a real good reason why Hawkins made it past last year.

    Not exactly sure, but maybe Bohn was trying to destroy the football program. It sure would make his interview at Kansas go better.

    Agree 100% BuffGold2006. Let the BBAll season start, and hopefully those teams will come through in winning fashion.

  6. I don’t understand why he has’t been fired yet. I mean seriuosly?!?!.. I don’t care if Cody Hawkins quits ( I don’t think he would, but it still doesn’t matter either way) This now goes beyond Hawkins in my opinon. Everyone in charge, from Bohn, to the administration, that has allowed this to happen and not take any action/responsibility is now at fault. Not making any statement and addressing this diaster is causing real damage to the program. To me that the fact no statement has been made is the most concerning aspect of all this. I am really upset and disapointed. I saw that Wade Phillips had been fired, and I was hoping there would be some news in regards to the CU staff. I guess Basketball Season starts soon (never thought I would say that!!).

  7. Pitiful. The man has no shame. He is not able to own up to his deficiencies. He needs to go somewhere and do a long self evaluation. At least he didn’t say, “we just need to clean it up just a little bit.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.