Buffs too tough? Go play intramurals, brother

Updated: February 15, 2007, 9:52 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

And you thought Ralphie the Buffalo running onto Folsom Field was intimidating.

At a news conference last week, Colorado coach Dan Hawkins, trying to turn around a Buffaloes team that went 2-10 overall and 2-6 in the Big 12, had what sounded like a loud and clear message for players who think his training regime is too tough: Go play intramurals.

And the way he delivered that message, it might still be echoing through the Front Range.

Hawkins let fly with the loud rant when discussing the kind of toughness that he wanted to bring to the Buffaloes -- and acknowledging that it might not be for everyone. For example, he said, an anonymous parent sent him a letter protesting the players getting only a two-week break in their offseason conditioning program when they normally had three weeks off.

"Well we gave them a week at the start of the semester rather than at the end but here's my point, OK," Hawkins said in a calm, quiet voice.

Then he let fly.

"It's Division I football! It's the Big 12! It ain't intramurals!" he roared.

"You've got two weeks after finals, you've got a week of July Fourth and you get a week before camp starts," Hawkins continued, still shouting at the top of his voice. "That's a month that's probably more vacation then you [reporters] get. And we're a little bummed out that we don't get three weeks?"

"Go play intramurals, brother … go play intramurals," he said, calming down.

Thursday, on ESPN Radio's Mike & Mike in the Morning , Hawkins said he did not intend to make a point to his players via a sound bite. He said he tends to speak from the heart and gets more animated around the local media that cover the Buffs on a regular basis.

Hawkins said his players are more than willing to do what it takes to turn the Buffaloes around.

"They’re fully on board, they know what's going on," he said. "They certainly want that level of intensity ... no one wants to lose five in a row in 2005 and no one wants to go 2-10 [last season].

"We're not going to get back to the glory years if we just show up."

As for the rant? Hawkins said his friends in the coaching community told him they thought it was "hilarious."

Hawkins arrived at Colorado from Boise State, where he went 53-10, to turn around a program embroiled in controversy over recruiting practices and rape allegations by former female placekicker Katie Hnida. He succeeded Gary Barnett, who ignited a firestorm in 2004 when he reacted to Hnida's claims with criticism of her kicking ability.

Barnett stepped down in 2005 after reaching a financial settlement with the university.