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Colorado Preview 2006 - Further Analysis
Colorado Buffaloes
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Aug 1, 2006


Colorado Buffaloes Preview 2006 - Further Analysis

1st and Ten – The Hawkins Era Begins – So, in the months since Dan Hawkins was first introduced as the successor to deposed head coach Gary Barnett, what did you find out about him?  Well, you’ve heard the whole zen master in a zen element type of thing.  You’ve heard about how smart and wise he is and how much of a renaissance man Hawkins is.  The man reads some thought provoking material.  You’ve heard how he’s opened his door to his players and how he wants his players to talk to him, even if it’s for no other reason than for him to listen.  But, the one aspect that has gone under the radar and perhaps is the most important is that Hawkins is one heck of a football coach.  Sure, you could argue that point by saying how could a Big XII conference team hire a guy who wasn’t a good football coach, but trust me, there have been plenty hired in the past that haven’t been.  What Hawkins was able to do at Boise State, taking that team to a higher level in his years as head coach, speaks volumes about what he can do as a coach, not to mention a mentor or zen sensei.  Obviously, the combination of his ability to read people and the vibe of his team were instrumental in Boise State’s success, but this guy could coach a Pee Wee team in Denver to wins every other Saturday.  As a college head coach, coaching the game is less of a priority than managing the game, but Hawkins can’t lose the effect that he can have on this team with his football coaching.  But, coming full circle, what makes this man extra special is that he’ll have such a holistic effect on every person affiliated with Colorado Buffalo football.  There are great football coaches, there are some great men, but there are those few men who understand where football is in the grand scheme of life.  Hawkins encompasses all three, and Colorado football is better for it.  Much.

2nd and Seven – Is there a Dinwiddie in the house?  A Hendricks, even? – Former QB Joel Klatt didn’t have the finish to his career that he would’ve hoped, but he was an effective leader for the past three years.  Now, with Klatt out of eligibility, the Buffaloes have a massive hole to fill at QB.  And, if there’s one position that could hold the fate of the 2006 Buffaloes in its hands, it’s this one.  James Cox, Brian White, Bernard Jackson, Mack Brown and Patrick Devenny will vie for this key position and one will benefit from the installation of Hawkins’ new offense.  All five offer different traits and talents and it’ll be interesting to see which person offers the best combination of talents for the Buffaloes this year.

3rd and Three – What you didn’t know? – The biggest misperception of Hawkins’ Boise State offense while he was there was that his offense was a balanced unit, not the high flying passing attack that most believed.  Sure, the Broncos had fantastic QBs under Hawkins and they did throw it well, but they also ran the ball equally well, which should make Hugh Charles a very, very happy man.  Charles, the Buffs 5’9” dynamo, averaged just under 15 carries a game, but he’s the most dynamic and most valuable offensive star on this roster and needs to touch it 22 to 24 times a game.  His quickness and vision are superb and behind a healthy offensive line, he should become an All-Big XII honoree by years end.

4th and One – Back for More – A coach was once asked about a group of players on his team.  He responded “The good news is that they’re all back; the bad news is that they’re all back.”  That’s probably the sentiment about the CU secondary this year.  Lorenzo Sims, JJ Billingsley, Tyrone Henderson and Gerett Burl started most of last year and return for 2006.  However, the mix in the back four might be much different this year.  This group was ranked 87th in the nation giving up nearly 250 yards per game through the air, and that alone could precipitate a change, even with all four starters returning this year.  Terrence Wheatley returns after sitting out all of 2005, and his speed will be a valuable asset in 2006.  Young guys like Ryan Walters and Gardner McKay may have to step up and push for a starting position this fall.  No matter what the mix of ‘characters’ is this year, the good news better be that they’re shutting teams down through the air.

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