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Are you ready for some football?
Whether or not the catchy Hank Williams tune rings true, the University of Colorado football team has to be ready, as their season kicks off September 2 against Montana State.
“There is only so many times you can answer the same questions and go over the same issues,” Head Coach Dan Hawkins said. “It’s time to get playing.”
The first game of the season will also mark the first game of the Hawkins era, which is something that has quarterback James Cox excited.
“Obviously, the game will mean a lot to him,” Cox said. “We are playing for him and he is coaching for us. Guys are playing well and I think it will make for a great showing.”
Montana State hails from Division I-AA, which has led to some speculation that the Buffs could possibly overlook the Bobcats as bigger games and seemingly more talented opponents in Colorado State, Arizona State and Georgia loom large on the schedule.
Hawkins said looking past Montana State is the last thing the Buffs will do.
“People always say, ‘Well, they are I-AA,’ but there are a lot of good players there,” Hawkins said. “We are a long ways from looking past anybody right now.”
Senior defensive end Abraham Wright echoed his coach’s feelings.
“Guys are focused on Montana State right now,” Wright said. “For someone to go look at film of Colorado State already, that is unheard of. We have been preparing well and now we need to go out and execute on game day.”
On that day, the Buffs will carry with them a 73-38-5 all-time record in season openers and Hawkins a 7-3 record in season openers as a head coach. The Buffs have also won three straight opening games with thrilling victories against Colorado State each of the last three years.
Cox, however, said Montana State’s defense will provide a unique challenge in that the Bobcats use a more distinctive defensive scheme than the ones CU is used to seeing against its Big 12 opponents.
“They present a different defensive scheme than we have seen in the past,” Cox said. “It presents a challenge because you are used to seeing a lot of the same defensive looks. On the other hand, their corners don’t match up very well with our receivers and our offensive line has some big guys in there, so I think we can get after them in the run game.”
The Bobcats come into Folsom Field ranked as the No. 22 program in Division I-AA. The 2006 season will mark the second straight year in which they have opened against a Big 12 opponent. They nearly pulled off a shocking upset of Oklahoma State in 2005, losing 15-10 after leading 10-8 at half time.
Montana State also brings a two-game win streak against CU into the mix. The Buffs and Bobcats squared off last in 1926 and 1927, both Bobcat victories.
“Regardless of everything else, we have to win,” Cox said. “Whether we win by 7 or win by 35, we need to go out and execute on offense and let our defense make some plays and come away with a win.”