Dan Hawkins sat down with B.G. Brooks of CuBuffs.com to talk about spring ball and what to expect. Brooks asked some good questions and Hawkins gave some answers, some that won't be popular among Buff fans mainly regarding the quarterback position. Yes, Dan Hawkins has stated that Cody Hawkins and Tyler Hansen will enter spring ball even and will split time with the first team.
Quarterbacks . . . does anybody go in (to spring drills) as the leader?
"No. We'll just see how it shakes out. And to some degree we do that everywhere. I mean there's a few spots where you've got guys who obviously - guys like Jalil (Brown) and Jimmy (Smith, both cornerbacks) - certainly have an edge.
"But I've never liked it in the spring when you go, 'Oh, yeah, he's the starting (whatever).' And obviously in the O-line you've got some guys who are more experienced. I expect (Mike) Iltis to get back in there and battle and see where he shakes out - whether that's a center/guard. There's going to be tremendous competition in that whole front line.
"I just don't like coming into the spring and saying, 'He's the starting whatever,' because to me, you've just got to start over and say let's see who's going to play and do the things it takes to be successful.
"Both of those guys (Hansen and Cody Hawkins) will play with the 'ones' and the 'twos' and we'll evaluate them every day and see what happens in the scrimmages. And then see where we're at."
Before you comment in a tirade type fashion below, take a deep breath because you shouldn't be surprised. This is Dan Hawkins. He believes in making players develop and rise to the occassion, although one can argue he has not shown the ability to coach and make players acheive their potential. Further, in year four, he should have a better idea regarding player talent than he leads on. That is a different argument but this is Dan Hawkins' philosphy and as we know, he sticks to his beliefs.
Do I believe it is important for Tyler Hansen to seperate himself from Cody Hawkins early and for Dan Hawkins to give him more reps quickly in spring ball? Absolutely. One of the most important things for a quarterback is developing a rapport with his offensive linemen, his running backs and his receivers. It is also about the players around the quarterback getting used to his cadance, depth on hand-offs, leadership ability, control in the huddle, etc. So both Tyler Hansen and Dan Hawkins need to do their part immediately in spring ball. Let's give this a week or so into spring and if they are still splitting reps and the "even" word is being thrown around, then we can start blasting. To me, not naming starters or splitting time at the quarterback position for the entire spring is a complete waste at this stage as Cody Hawkins is now a senior, Hansen is now a junor - we know what we have in each, we should be progressing, not "figuring things out." There is only a little over two months of "coached" practices for the 2010 season, every snap and practice is precious. Hopefully Hawkins is quoting the "politically correct" answer and we see something different on the field...quickly.
It is time to stop seeing how things are shaking out, as Hawkins likes to say, and start doing.
Most of the piece and the discussion surrounding the Q&A will focus on the quarterbacks but their were a few other things of interest:
It looks like QB Clark Evans has indeed made the move from quarterback to tight end.
CUBuffs.com: You mentioned this a year ago: You might take a look at Clark Evans at tight end (rather than quarterback). Has that change been made and is it a solid transfer?
Hawkins: "Yeah. When we saw Clark when he was a sophomore, I wasn't saying he wasn't a quarterback, he might be a quarterback. But he's big, strong and he can run. He's athletic. You just knew he was something."
Am I shocked by the news? No. Do I wish Clark would have gotten a better look at quarterback? Maybe, but I think Nick Hirschman is our guy for the future. Evans will bring his 6'4" 220 pound frame to the tight end position where only Ryan Deehan has any experience. The remaining depth chart will consist of three true freshman, 2009 signee DaVaughn Thornton (redshirt freshman) and Evans. He will certainly have a chance to make an impact after the Buffs lost most of their depth to graduation.
It also looks like redshirt freshman P/K Zach Grossnickle has been given the nod at punter:
CUBuffs.com: And at placekicker? Is that situation fluid?
Hawkins: "Yeah . . . it'll be (Aric) Goodman and Zach and (walk-on) Marcus Kirkwood. He's a big, tall kid. He might provide something in the mix as well."
And Josh Moten has made the move to defensive back from quarterback:
CUBuffs.com: How about Josh Moten (a high school QB who allegedly would get a first look at that position)?
Hawkins: "He's a DB . . . early reports on him and Clark from the players (in winter conditioning), they like him and Clark in those positions. They've done a nice job in conditioning."
Both the defensive back and tight end positions are areas where the Buffs need depth. Moving Moten and Evans to these spots helps fill that void for the future