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Published: Thursday, 9/10/2009

Colorado coach's son struggled in opener

BY ZACH SILKA
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

It's never an easy ride as a college quarterback, and it's gotten especially bumpy for Colorado's Cody Hawkins.

Hawkins, the son of Colorado coach Dan Hawkins, did not play up to expectations in a 23-17 loss to arch-rival Colorado State on Sunday after he was picked in front of sophomore Tyler Hansen for the starting job.

After he threw for 46 yards and one interception in the first half, Hawkins and the rest of the Buffaloes were booed by their home crowd as they left the field down 20-3 at halftime. The junior QB, who played the entire contest, finished 24-of-40 passing for 222 yards with one touchdown to mount a second-half comeback that ultimately fell short.

The road doesn't get any easier for Hawkins and his embattled father, who in his fifth season has compiled a 13-25 record at Colorado, as the Buffs face a quick turnaround and a long jaunt for a national TV matchup with the University of Toledo at the Glass Bowl tomorrow night at 9 on ESPN.

"We'll be OK," Dan Hawkins said Monday on the Big 12 teleconference. "Everything is always a learning experience. A play here or there always determines a game. Those are the things we're going to have to clean up. You get a few of those and you get a little momentum going and things happen the other way."

Asked if he plans to make a change at quarterback for the UT game, Dan Hawkins curtly replied, "No."

Although his son, Tyler, is a freshman quarterback at the University of Findlay, UT coach Tim Beckman said he can relate somewhat to what the Hawkinses are going through.

When Beckman's father, Dave, was an assistant at Iowa during the 1978 season, Bob Commings was the head coach and his son, Bobby Jr., was the Hawkeyes' starting quarterback.

Iowa ended up finishing 2-9, and Commings was fired at the end of the year.

"I can remember living through that as a kid," Tim Beckman said, "and the same scenario was happening there at the time. I think coach Hawkins is playing whoever he feels is the best player that can help them win. Just as I would do the same [whether] it's my son or it's not my son."

UT senior safety Lester Richmond said he sees plenty of positives from Cody Hawkins, despite what Colorado fans may think about him.

"He looks like a pretty accurate passer," Richmond said. "He looks solid, and I can see why he's

starting. From what I hear, he's

an intelligent football player as well."

Richmond said the Rockets are preparing for Hansen too, just in case Hawkins decides to pull the trigger and bring in his backup at some point during tomorrow night's contest.

And the good news for the Buffs is the only booing they'll hear will be from UT fans, which is always better than taking abuse from your home crowd.

"Of course nobody, especially at home, wants to get booed by their own fans," Richmond said. "Our fans ultimately love us. They wouldn't boo us just because we [stink]. They'd boo us because they want to see better out of us. Our fans are our 12th man, and you have to understand why they do some of the things they do."

FREE T-SHIRTS: UT is offering a free Rockets T-shirt to fans who trade in Ohio State apparel from 6-7 p.m. Monday outside the Student Union during the Rocket Coaches Show.

Toledo director of licensing Matt Lockwood says the goal of the trade-in program is to get fans to show support for the Rockets and to get some Ohio State gear off campus. UT takes on OSU Sept. 19 at Cleveland Browns Stadium.

Contact Zach Silka at:

zsilka@theblade.com.



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