BOULDER, Colo. -- The sun is shining on The People's Republic of Boulder (more than 300 days a year, according to the Chamber of Commerce). The Flatirons are gleaming (thanks to The Big Landscaper). Bob Marley's Buffalo Soldier is playing on the Folsom Field P.A. system.
The only thing missing from Colorado's spring practice is a lounge chair and an adult beverage.
|The atmosphere in Dan Hawkins' spring practices have been described as 'very fun.' (Getty Images)|
Fun? Spring practice is supposed to be laid-back, low-key, but fun? Marketers have figured out how to make a buck off spring games. Networks are televising them, which can only mean there is demand, somewhere, to watch these glorified scrimmages.
But the man responsible for this unique Boulder state of mind was relaxing last week in his office after a lunchtime workout. Sweaty, in shorts, Dan Hawkins had no pretense. When he heard some noise outside his office, Hawkins playfully taunted CU basketball players working out on Folsom Field. His office, not surprisingly, is a mix of Western furniture, Zen culture and fiesta.
"I think," Hawk said, explaining his philosophy, "you have to have some junk in your trunk."
We're not talking The Foundry at closing time.
That's the Colorado coach's way of saying he's going to open up the offense this season. The expanded playbook will get a sneak peek in Saturday's spring game. Watch for that junk in the trunk.
"You better have a little pizzazz in there somewhere that makes the guys on defense look over to their coach and say, 'What the heck was that?'" Colorado's third-year coach said. "I sort of believe in a little of that surprise smoke and mirrors."
The difference between Hawk and most of his peers is that he doesn't care if you know. Smith ran a couple of reverses in Saturday's scrimmage. You're probably going to see more of the same this Saturday. Who cares?
"My coaches sometimes worry about it," Hawkins said. "We spoke at a clinic in Denver. Our defensive coordinator was talking about our defense. The Colorado State guys were sitting in the audience. My point being is that, in this day and age with information the way it is ... at some point people are going to find out."
Things are getting weird and paranoid out there. This month, the NCAA felt compelled to pass a rule barring videotaping of opponent's signals. That seems to be in reaction to Bill Belichick and SpyGate. It also explains why your typical spring game is more vanilla than Baskin-Robbins minus its 30 other flavors.
Dan Hawkins certainly doesn't care. Part of the confidence is having the personnel to run a more diverse offense. Part of it is having a looser sphincter than 98 percent of his coaching contemporaries.