Dan Hawkins is extreme. He wants you to know this. No limits, man. He's just livin' the dream. When he's not paragliding off of a hot air balloon over an active volcano in Pyongyang, he's stick-fighting eskrima practitioners in underground cage matches in Krakow, giving a Great White shark a wet willie off of Cape Town, or contracting gingivitis on safari in Burkina Faso. His life is a Mountain Dew commercial, but with twice the caffeine. As I write this, he's probably in his yurt solarium in the Greater Boulder Co-Prosperity Sphere wearing rollerblades and watching Point Break for the fifty third time, whispering Patrick Swayze's lines in perfect synchronization. I don't think you guys get it. He's extreme! A wild man! AND HE NEEDS YOU TO KNOW THIS!
Hawk is a philosopher. He's not a football coach. He's a life coach. A tousle-haired Oprah. Twenty years ago, he got his hands on a Cliff Notes version of Sun Tzu's Art of War and he has managed to absorb 47% of its content. Throw in the influence of some Landmark Forum motivational seminars, add a peppering of delusional optimism, balance it out with a just little goddamn crazy, and press frappe. The result is a tough-talking daquiri that spouts faux Oriental pop platitudes establishing full synthesis between Anthony Robbins, Basho, and Randy "The Macho Man" Savage:
"MANGINOOOOOO! MANGIIIIINNNNOOOO! I tell you brotherrrrrrr, I am the bowwwww! And when I come to Mah-Mor-eee-al Stadium in Lawrence, I will show you what an arrrroowww truly is. Oooo yeah. You want the Hawkkkkk, Manginooo? YOU DO NOT WANT THE HAWK! Be the bow, brotherrrrr! I holllllld a cherrry...blosssoommmm... in...my...handddd and it...is...EPHEM - ERAL!"
Then Mangino walks out dressed like the Big Boss Man and nightsticks him.
Hawkins is an offensive warlock. He suckled at the witch's teat of then Boise St coach and mentor Dirk Koetter. Koetter left Boise to crew with Sam Keller on the collegiate version of the HMS Bounty. Keller - our William Bligh - generally acted like a guy from Danville who mousses his hair too much, dances with glowsticks, and wears vests with no shirt underneath. Rudy Carpenter, the team favorite, an interception prone Fletcher Christian, led a mutiny that placed Keller on a lifeboat to Lincoln and eventually walked Dirk off of the plank. Jack Del Rio fished Dirk out of the ocean with a gaffing hook and put him in charge of another erratic 6 foot 5 QB in Jacksonville. In the meanwhile, Hawkins became The Man in Boise and raised his stock considerably in the eyes of college football's cognoscenti. Colorado hired him quicker than you can say "Bolshevik armpits" after Gary Barnett lost the 2005 Big 12 Championship Game 157-3 to eventual national champion Texas. Chris Petersen succeeded Hawk and quickly became The Man himself by giving Oklahoma the shocker with both hands in the 2006 Fiesta bowl. That night a giggling Petersen, drunk as a wombat, kept running up to Bronco boosters in the bars saying,"No, seriously, just smell my fingers."
So every coach at Boise is a genius? Right, I see. Call me a skeptic. Denver Broncos running backs anyone? Dirk Koetter is Olandis Gary. Dan Hawkins is Mike Anderson. Chris Petersen is Tatum Bell. I need you to Think On That. While you do, we'll review their roster:
Bernard Jackson played QB in '06. He is a gifted natural athlete who can't throw and the Buffs finished the year ranked 114th in passing efficiency. It is my recommendation that natural athletes who can't throw should play positions known as "wide receiver" or "safety", but I'm not claiming to be Don Coryell. This year, conveniently, Dan Hawkins will start his son Cody, a redshirt freshman. Nepotism? No. He won the job fair and square. Jeff Bowden will be his QB coach, Tori Spelling will be Cody's girlfriend, Frank Stallone is his personal trainer, and Clint Howard will fetch the kicking tee.
Hugh Charles - small and speedy - is notorious for being an underrated back. A special back. So special that his duplicate can be obtained by staking a naked Tri Delt near a large pizza in Any Town, Texas. Just sit in the weeds with a blowgun and wait.
The Colorado offensive line played much of last year as if they'd been chloroformed. This year, they may get fired up for a quarter and half against Nebraska, but they'll likely retreat into their shells like terrapins the minute someone forearm shivers Tyler Polumbus in the larynx. They actually have some very nice recruits on the OL - indeed the entire 2nd team is composed of freshmen, but they need them more on the grass than in the pipeline. No, not that grass.
The Colorado WRs are as irrelevant as Notre Dame football. Calling them a dime a dozen would require me to give them a seven cent loan. Since I charge vig like a Soprano, that's not in their best interest. Dan Hawkins has decided not to start any human WRs this year, opting for three shopping carts and a neodymium high energy goal post magnet. A switch will be thrown at the snap of the ball and Cody Hawkins will throw lofting fades at them off of a three step drop. After signing release waivers, three lucky Boulder toddlers will be allowed to ride in the bottom racks. I think they'll take the hits fine. Colorado will fund Hugo Chavez's People's Revolution with the watches and cell phones collected off of each goalpost at the end of the game.
Predicted shopping cart stat line against Iowa St? 12 catches, 187 yards, 2 TDs.
Riar Greer is the 7th best TE in the Big 12, so preview magazines make specific mention of him as a total badass. Hawkins has replaced him with a peach basket taped to a skateboard.
The Colorado defense was actually quite respectable last year given that their offense was a drunken Ted Kennedy crossing Chappaquiddick and they were the cute female passenger. Colorado was an easy team to beat, but a hard team to blow out. They lost to the 2nd best team...in Montana. They pummeled Texas Tech, which is bizarre until you consider that Pirates of the Caribbean was opening that weekend. Mike Leach skipped the game entirely and had Gary Busey fill in for him despite almost no physical resemblance whatsoever. Gary Busey coked to bejeezus, hair dyed and hat pulled down low, kept muttering "Uh, throw it or something" while not making eye contact with anyone. This proved to the satisfaction of Tech players that it was Mike Leach. On the bus ride back to Lubbock, Busey ordered that they stop in Any Town, Texas, where he ate the large pizza and vomited on the naked Tri Delt. The blowgun darts never fazed him.
Jordan Dizon - undersized and scrappy as hell - is the best LB of a decent bunch and legitimately an All-Conference player. Starting MLB Sipili has been suspended for unspecified offenses: word is that he lost three starting CU wide receivers in the parking lot at Kroger. George Hippolite, an undersized quick DT who likes to matador and penetrate, is the best DL of a depleted bunch. The DL as a whole is smallish. The CU defense does fly to the ball - like gnats to sweaty testes. The secondary is not absurd - Terrance Wheatley is a NFL talent despite being, you guessed it, undersized. The other CB is Burney and he has an appropriate last name. They had a good transfer from Idaho in SS Daniel Dykes, but he's locked in a battle for the starting spot last I checked. My guess is that Dykes will win out in Boulder.
All of my criticisms aside, this is a ten win football team! Over the next two years. They're missing only talent and desire. The coaching is there. As is their savagely dilettante fan base. Oh, that fan base. CU fans are ruthlessly mercenary and fickle in their tastes and attentions. The high point of their program was when their Maoist campus was led by a Fundamentalist Born Again coach who was famous for recruiting Crips from Inner City Houston and Los Angeles and unleashing them on Boulder's lily white student body of rich kids. At the time, Rae Carruth was considered one of their good guys. The players caused mayhem on and off the field, but it was all good because it was something to do until snowboarding season started. They also kindled a rivalry with two teams: Nebraska, who they hate for reminding the Buffs of their square boring parents that won't fund their peyote habit, and with Texas, who they hate for being goddamn Texans (we may deserve their hate for buying up their real estate in the 1970's, building tasteless condo developments, and skiing in cowboy hats and t-shirts that say F You, I'm From Texas). Colorado fans are notorious front runners, insanely energetic when things go well: pooping in their hands and throwing it on Husker blue hairs, releasing rabid ferrets into the Texas visitor section, but if you go up by more than 10 points, the stadium clears like a mausoleum. I can't blame them. Boulder is gorgeous. There's other stuff to do. But who will clean up all the poop and ferrets?
Dan Hawkins says that fear causes hesitation, and hesitation will cause your worst fears to come true.
To which I say: you're going down, Bodhi.