Gutsy. Overly confident. Asinine. Right on!
All appropriate words used to describe CU football head coach Dan Hawkins’ comment last week, “10 wins and no excuses,” in reference to the upcoming 2009 season. Those throughout the country may have found this comical, following a 5-7 season, thought by many to be a disappointment. But those close to the organization know that the Buffs are close to getting over that hump to becoming one of the top caliber teams in college football.
This season reminded me a lot of the 2000-2001 season, when the Buffs went 3-8. That year, the Buffs burned a redshirt on a true freshman quarterback (Craig Ochs) halfway through the season to give the team a spark; lost to Nebraska after a game winning field goal in the closing seconds; battled injuries throughout the season–including injuries to highly recruited freshmen tailbacks Marcus Houston and Bobby Purify, and LB Jashon Sykes; graduated only 8 seniors; played a brutal schedule: USC, Washington, and K-State (all top 10 teams) in successive weeks; and sat at home for the holidays after missing a bowl game.
How did, then head coach, Gary Barnett respond? By guaranteeing a Big 12 Championship.
Gutsy. Overly confident. Asinine. Those were the reactions that Barnett received for his comments.
How did the ensuing season turn out? The Buffs went 10-3, won the Big 12, and finished a few tenths of a point in the BCS rankings short of playing Miami in the National Championship game.
Now lets take a look at the 2008-2009 CU football season: Hawkins, burns a redshirt on QB Tyler Hansen to spark the team to victory over Kansas State; the Buffs lose to Nebraska because of a last minute field goal; battle injuries throughout the year (10 season ending), including injuries to highly recruited freshmen Darrell Scott and Rodney Stewart; graduate only 15 seniors; played a brutal schedule: West Virginia, Florida State, Texas, and Kansas in successive weeks; and also celebrate the holiday season on the couch, by missing a bowl game.
How did Hawkins respond? By raising his expectations for the team–10 wins for 2009.
The similarities are almost scary.