Hawkins returns to his coaching roots

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

IRVING, Texas -- The late departure by former Colorado offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich to Oregon resulted in a hole in Dan Hawkins' staff that he decided would be better settled with his own personal interest.

Hawkins inserted former Colorado receivers coach Eric Kiesau as his coordinator and will handle coaching wide receivers himself when the Buffaloes report for their first practice of preseason camp on Aug. 7.

"I'm really excited," Hawkins said. "I love coaching and I love teaching. I coached the tight ends when I was the head coach at Boise State. It's always great to be in the trenches. I think every five years, every head coach ought to go back and be an assistant."

Hawkins hopes the new duties will help invigorate his coaching skills as well as provide him with a more hands-on feel for his team.

"Every head coach will tell you that as you go along in this profession, sometimes you wake up and you're not doing as much coaching as I want to," Hawkins said. "In terms of the position, I really like those guys a lot."

Hawkins is expected to have a challenge boosting production at the position, particularly after the departure of Josh Smith. The Buffaloes' top deep threat left the program after spring practice and will transfer to UCLA.

But Hawkins said the Buffaloes could get better production than expected, particularly if junior wide receiver Scotty McKnight blossoms in his role as Colorado's top receiver.

"Obviously, Scotty is a guy who's been around and been battle-tested for us, and we'll rely a lot on him," Hawkins said. "But I do think the young guys have a chance to make some plays for us."