Colorado Buffaloes' Weakest Links: The Hawkins Family
When Dan Hawkins walked into Macky Auditorium in the spring of 2006 and boasted about how he was going to change the football program and the mediocre times of Gary Barnett, no one could have been more excited and enthusiastic about the future and the upcoming season.
However, Buffaloes fans were left disappointed at season's end with a 2-10 record and losses to their rivals CSU and Nebraska, and even a far weaker Montana State team.
But despite these weak results, Buffaloes fans remained optimistic that the former stud from Boise State could turn their team around, and all he needed was a little more time.
Pessimistic as always, I was never shy about my disdain for these results and I constantly said that Hawkins was not the kind of coach who could be successful in the Big 12.
While I have always had nothing but respect for what he accomplished in the WAC, the Big 12 is a completely different animal.
Things seemingly got better when the first recruiting results surfaced and Hawkins was able to pull in some strong players that Barnett typically never got.
So once again, excitement renewed, and Buffs fans rallied around their new coach in hopes that with new talent and a season under his belt, his results would surely improve.
Fortunately, they did! In his second season as head coach of the Buffs, Hawkins was able to beat Oklahoma and lose a bowl game to a far superior Alabama Crimson Tide team.
This left the Buffs with an record of 6-7, and with the results vastly superior to the previous year even I had started losing my doubt about Hawkins.
Then once again, another decent recruiting class came through and I found myself beginning to change my opinion of Coach Hawkins.
Unfortunately, this season began to unfold. At first, I was convinced that I was wrong. Starting 3-0 was impressive, but the success did not last. In the following six games, the Buffs went 1-5, which now has them sitting at 4-5.
Sadly, based on their future opponents, I don't see them finishing any better than 6-6. Sure, this will get them a bowl game, and if they manage to win said bowl game that too would be an improvement from the season before.
But at this point, in his third season, he has barely managed to put us in a position to do better than .500. But as if this wasn't enough his recruiting has begun to suffer as well.
So the Buffaloes really need to ask themselves if this guy is really the right answer. In my opinion, I truly think that it is time to send him packing for several reasons.
First, the results are unacceptable. There is no excuse for this mediocrity after the amount of time and talent he has been exposed to. I understand that sometimes people need time to make changes, but three years is more than enough.
It only took Saban one season of mediocrity before he turned the Crimson Tide into one of the top teams in the nation. Hawkins has now officially had his third season of average results and there does not seem to be any realistic signs of improvement.
Second, Hawkins will never be able to secure a great recruiting class. Sure he has managed to grab some talent, but nothing even close to the top programs in the Big 12 and that should be the ultimate goal. A lot of this, in my opinion, is due to the way he runs the team, starting with his son.
How does it look to a really talented kid coming out of high school, getting recruited by colleges from all over the country, and then speaking to Hawkins from CU who starts his son at QB?
Now I know that Cody Hawkins is an okay QB, but when a recruit sees that the coach is starting his own son, it just sends the wrong message. It makes the program look like it plays favorites and deals in politics instead of football, and that is no way to secure a solid recruiting class.
If Cody looked like Peyton Manning, it would be different, but in the grand scheme of things, this kid is average at best. This, coupled with his weak coaching performance, has led to Colorado's inability to bring large pools of talent to the football program.
Like I said earlier, I am glad that he has done a better job in this area than Barnett, but this program will not turn the corner on being a recruiting contender until this image is gone.
Third, despite being able to knock of good teams, the Buffs, under this coach at least, have been far too inconsistent and that all comes down to coaching. Take a look at Penn State, Alabama, Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State. The one thing that stands out is their ability to win football games week in and week out.
Colorado, on the other hand, has shown that they can win. But they are unable to do so on a week-to-week basis. Winning games here and there is not the staple of a good team and a contending program.
So there you have it! His performance, record, coaching decisions, lack of improvement, and average recruiting are not the signs of a good coach.
They are not the results of a coach who can win 10 games a season consistently, and if the Buffaloes want to climb from this misery of mediocrity back to the level of contention they enjoyed in the early '90s, then this coach needs to go!
He has had time, he has had players, and most importantly, he has had many opportunities to prove his strength as a coaching mastermind, but he has never been able to turn the corner and make the Buffaloes a competitor in the Big 12.
It is for these reasons, that I think it is time for the Buffs give up on Hawkins and find themselves a new coach.
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