Team preview: Colorado

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(All information as of July 1, 2006)


Dan Hawkins took two gigantic leaps of faith this off-season -- both of which were highly publicized.

The first one, of course, was leaving Boise State, a program best known for its blue turf before Hawkins' arrival, to take over for Gary Barnett, who was fired last December after the Buffaloes collapsed midway through his seventh season at Colorado.

His new bosses at Colorado were no doubt impressed that Hawkins built Boise into a perennial Top 25 program and went 53-10 in five seasons there in large part because his teams lit up scoreboards with a high-octane offense.

But, Hawkins, the ultimate glass-is-more-than-half-full guy, has quite a chore ahead of him at Colorado, a program broken by scandal and humiliating defeats (most notably late-season losses to Texas and Nebraska by a combined score of 100-6).

"Gary has really gotten some great kids in here," Hawkins said. "I've been really excited about how the kids have bought in. … Our guys jumped right in from Day One and didn't say, 'Hey, this is how we did that' or 'We used to do it this way.' They just do it how we want them to do it."

And at times, Hawkins purposely did it differently during spring ball -- to make football fun again for a lot of guys who have been through some hard times in Boulder. For instance, Colorado players had belly-slide contests in the snow. Linemen switched roles for 7-on-7 drills and played pitch and catch while backs and receivers took on defensive backs in blocking drills. Hawkins even gave his players golf clubs and had a chipping contest on the field.