Colorado fans have spent this season wondering why some players can’t seem to get on the field, especially at wide receiver. Dan Hawkins gave some pretty good insight into how he players earn playing time in his program during a portion of his press conference this week.
Of course, this answer won’t apply to every situation, but the next time you’re wondering why a guy who is completely healthy and not redshirting isn’t on the field, it probably has something to do with what is happening behind the scenes and whether that player is meeting Hawkins’ expectations in other areas of the student-athlete experience.
Here is what Hawkins had to say on the subject of earning playing time.
“There is a big picture out there and you’ve got to understand with Dan Hawkins there is other things that you’re not seeing,” Hawkins said. “There is what’s going on in academics? I’m just saying, with a certain guy, what’s going on there and what’s going on maybe off the field? What’s happening him being on time? What’s happening with him making everything? Where is all that stuff going?Because, again, that’s why I say when we’re doing it right, I’m not going to shortcut it. And again, even when there is a chance to make a play on the field and you have opportunities, then you have make the most of that. You’ve got to be able to give a guy a test before a game and he’s got to test out well. He’s got to show that he knows what to do. He’s got to do it in practice. There has got to be that consistency. It’s that whole ball of wax that comes into play on the deal.
“I know this from doing this for close to 30 years. You win with achievers and you lose with potential. You’ve got to get guys to the point where they can do something well consistently and build from there, and then when that happens, you’ve got something going. When you start trying to jump that train track, you’re in trouble because you’re going to water down everything else. Here is (a player) who has been here every day, does everything right, runs every route right, runs it correctly, you throw him the ball, he catches it. Well, here comes Tom. Tom is late. Tom doesn’t show up. Tom doesn’t know what to do. Tom runs faster. Tom doesn’t make that many more plays either, but lets put Tom in there.
“Now you’ve watered down your entire program. You’ve told every kid that that stuff doesn’t matter. You’ve told every kid that consistency doesn’t matter. You’ve told every kid that making plays doesn’t matter. You’ve told those kids that just because he is bigger, faster and stronger than you, and forget all the rest, he’s playing in front of you.”