A personal winning streak of obscene length — 60 straight victories as a starting quarterback since the sixth grade — is the most eye-popping facet of Cody Hawkins’ football résumé, but it is not the most impressive.
His execution of passing fundamentals and knowledge of an offense is high on the list of virtues for Hawkins, who will call signals for Colorado during Saturday’s game at Arizona State. But they are not the most impressive things about him, either.
The evidence that Hawkins was a good choice to lead the Buffaloes’ offense was on display on Saturday, after he threw two touchdown passes in an overtime victory against Colorado State. The 19-yearold redshirt freshman spoke to the media and sounded like a veteran — clear, concise and confident.
“It’s one thing to sit back and talk about progress when nobody is watching at practice,” Hawkins said. “(Fans) want to come out and see us make plays. The guys on the team know we have the ability. We just had to go do it. Although we hit a couple speed bumps, we accomplished our goal.”
And that is the most impressive thing about Hawkins, the poise, since his other football assets are by-products of it. That asset has been honed not just on the field but in his house, for his coach at Colorado, Dan Hawkins, is also his father.
“He’s just been around this for a long time and been in a lot of stadiums for big games,” said Dan Hawkins, the Buffaloes’ second-year coach. “He sees the big picture and is not intimidated by the crowds, opponents or weather. It doesn’t faze him like a typical younger guy.
“To him, you could play at the park on Sunday, and it’s the same game. The field is the same size; nothing else bothers him.”
Cody Hawkins, a 5-foot-11, 190-pounder, had a storied high-school playing career in Idaho, while his father coached at Boise State. This year, he won a preseason camp battle against junior Nick Nelson for the Colorado QB job.
It was a vital decision for the coaching staff, given that a moribund CU offense — 102nd in the nation in total yardage a year ago, 116th in passing — desperately needed a jolt.
“He makes almost every routine play,” offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich, a former assistant at ASU, told the Boulder (Colo.) Daily Camera. “That’s a big deal as a quarterback, is just making every play that is there.
“And the difference-maker type plays, those are the ones you have to make the majority of to be on the greater side of good, and Cody definitely worked toward that. But just overall it was just his consistency, his command of the offense and making those routine plays.”
The younger Hawkins made a difference on Saturday, completing 18-of-31 passes for 201 yards. He led Colorado back from a 28-17 deficit and made key plays in a late-fourth quarter drive that led to an overtime-forcing field goal.
“We were talking to the defense, saying ‘Get us the ball back.’ ” Cody Hawkins said. “We had a few good plays up our sleeve that we really hadn’t used yet. We knew we had a chance. We knew it was going to pop as long as we got the ball back and stayed confident.”
ASU coach Dennis Erickson understands the unique dynamic of having a child as a player. His son, Bryce, played under him at Miami (Fla.) in the 1990s and now serves with the Sun Devils as a graduate assistant coach.
“Watching (Cody Hawkins) play, you can tell he’s a kid that’s been around it all his career,” Erickson said. “There’s probably more pressure on mom than anybody, because she’s got to sit in the stands. …
“He knows what he’s doing and understands that offense. He’s probably been studying it since he was about 6 years old. Last year, they were hurting a bit on offense just because of (quarterback), and they are a lot better now there.”
Cody Hawkins must continue progressing this week, as the opposition is tougher than Colorado State. And the Buffaloes could be without their leading rusher, Hugh Charles, questionable with a hamstring injury.
He expects to walk on the field with more focus than he had last week, when the novelty and excitement of a first college game was overwhelming.
Even for a guy who has been around the game as much as Cody Hawkins has.
“I was so excited,” Cody Hawkins said. “I’ve said I’m not a kid that gets nervous a lot. But I was running out on the field, jumping around and listening to music. Just trying to have a good time.
“Then, when I’m running out of the gates behind (CU’s mascot) Ralphie, I’m like, ‘Man, I’m already tired.’ I’m probably going to do a better job next time just not getting too excited.”
Colorado at ASU
When: 7:15 p.m. Saturday
Where: Sun Devil Stadium
TV: Fox Sports Net Arizona