Anyone who thought Dan Hawkins would start talking about the CU Buffs more realistically after being promised another year as head coach were disabused of this notion following the squad's not-quite-shocking loss to Nebraska on Friday.
Among Hawkins' post-game comments: "I think it's one of those seasons where if you take away ten plays, you are probably a bowl team."
To which Dr. Seuss should have replied from his grave: "If wishes were fishes, we'd have them on dishes."
One look at CU's results this past season shows the team didn't lose a lot of squeakers. To the contrary, two of the Buffs' three closest games were ones that it won: 34-30 over Kansas and 35-34 against Texas A&M. (CU lost to Oklahoma State 31-28.)
As for that Nebraska matchup, the contest wasn't nearly as close as the 28-20 final tally suggests. Quarterback Tyler Hansen looked confused at regular intervals, the running game still isn't where it needs to be, and the defense, while effective at times, couldn't stop the Cornhuskers when it really counted.
Simply put, taking away ten bad CU plays against Nebraska alone wouldn't have guaranteed a victory. And even if Hawkins could present enough evidence for his more sweeping theory to be taken seriously, the entire exercise totally undermines a little thing called "accountability."
Hawkins counters failure with attaboys rather than challenges. He's the coaching equivalent of a helicopter mom, ready to swoop in and rationalize any errors his young charges might have made. They were just unlucky! They don't deserve the blame!
This approach suggests that little will change at CU next year, despite the Buffs' dismal 2009 record. Maybe another year's worth of experience will lead to some improvement: Let's hope so. But right now, the team seems ten years away from bowl qualification, not ten plays.
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