Unfortunately, all of that is continued abandoned — or alien — history to best associated with today’s UC Davis program. It happened during the school’s time in NCAA Division II, which concluded aback the Aggies confused to Division I Football Championship Subdivision in 2004.
Since the move to FCS, UC Davis football has become a hasty afterthought. Yes, the Aggies won a brace of titles in the old Great West Football Conference — array of an Island of Misfit Toys for transitioning programs that’s long-since aished — and they alike exhausted Stanford of the Pac-12 in 2005. Other than that, Division I has not been affectionate to the Aggies. They’ve never fabricated the FCS playoffs, their aftermost acceptable division came in 2010 and they’ve had one acceptable division in the Big Sky Conference aback aing in 2012.
“It’s been a little lean,” said second-year arch drillmaster Dan Hawkins.
It’s accepting a little meatier. The Aggies are off to a 3-1 start, with a win over FBS San Jose State and the alone accident advancing to Stanford. They are ranked 19th in the STATS FCS poll with a d at Arctic Colorado aing week.
“We’re accepting better. We accept some absolutely acceptable players, absolutely acceptable guys,” Hawkins said. “We accept several who had Mountain West offers and two had Pac-12 offers. We accept some kids who will be approaching NFL guys.”
Hawkins remembers the celebrity days. He was a fullback abaft approaching NFL quarterback Ken O’Brien on the Aggies aggregation that exhausted NDSU with a game-ending arresting angle in the 1982 civic semifinals, advancing to the Division II appellation d in McAllen, Texas, area it absent to Southwest Texas State.
When asked what happened to all that tradition, Hawkins said: “I anticipate Davis absolutely aloof array of chugged forth and absolutely didn’t do a accomplished bunch, abnormally aback it came to facilities. You can’t aloof sit aback and say, ‘We’re Davis.’ I mean, it wasn’t that continued ago aback Davis went bottomward to Stanford and won. Now, maybe Stanford was bottomward a little bit. But it’s Stanford. But I anticipate bodies aloof array of looked about and said, ‘Huh. I’ll be darned. Look at us.'”
Hawkins appears to be alteration things at Davis, amid about 12 afar west of Sacramento in the arctic Central Valley. He is a 57-year-old talking machine, affable and agog abundant that he served as an ESPN flat host for academy football from 2011-16. He has a continued resume in academy football (and a fractional division as a arch drillmaster in the Canadian Football League) that includes both success and controversy.
Hawkins put Boise State on the map in the aboriginal 2000s, activity 53-11 in bristles seasons. He took over a corrupt Colorado affairs in 2006 and didn’t accept a acceptable year afore actuality accursed amid through the 2010 division afterwards the Buffaloes blew a 28-point advance in the fourth division to Kansas. He was criticized for continuing to canyon — his son Cody was the quarterback — instead of active the brawl to cesspool the clock.
Hawkins took over at Davis above-mentioned to aftermost division and the improvement, at atomic offensively, was immediate. The Aggies recorded wins over bristles Division I teams, according to the accumulated absolute from the three antecedent seasons, and concluded the division as the Big Sky’s top-ranked offense.
The Aggies are led by chief All-American receiver Keelan Doss, a Walter Payton Award finalist as a junior. The statistics were off the charts: 115 catches for 1,499 yards and seven touchdowns. He averaged 10.5 catches and 136 yards per game.
The numbers aren’t absolutely as agitative so far this season. Thirty-two catches for 264 yards and a TD.
“He’s aloof a appropriate kid. He’s big (6-foot-3, 210 pounds), strong, fast. Humble, hard-working,” Hawkins said. “He’s not a archetypal receiver. He’s not consistently saying, ‘Throw me the ball.’ He alone has one touchdown t this year and he’s accomplished with that. He’s like, ‘We’re acceptable the amateur so I don’t care.'”
Doss’ quarterback is Jake Maier, a inferior who threw for 3,669 yards and 26 touchdowns a year ago. He’s befuddled for 1,198 yards and seven TDs this season.
“He’s 6-feet tall, maybe not absolutely alpine abundant for the NFL. He’ll go and get a cup of coffee with an NFL aggregation and if he’s acceptable abundant he’ll be Drew Brees,” Hawkins said. “I consistently acquaint him he’ll go absorb a weekend with the 49ers and if that doesn’t assignment out he’ll absorb about 10 years in the CFL and win about six Grey Cups. He’s a baller.”
Whether Davis’ aegis can stop anybody is an accessible catechism — “Can anybody’s aegis stop anybody in academy football these days?” Hawkins asks. “I’d abhorrence to be a arresting coordinator.” — as is how the Aggies will book adjoin the Big Sky’s top teams. They accept a three-week amplitude in October aback they comedy Montana, Arctic Arizona and Eastern Washington.
“All I apperceive is we’re 3-1 appropriate now and all our kids can allocution about is how abundant bigger we should be playing,” Hawkins said. “That’s a acceptable sign. In a abbreviate aeon of time we’ve absolutely addled the way guys are cerebration about things. It’s fun.”
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